A motorist who killed a cyclist after “inexplicably” cutting across her path has been given a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving.
The Manchester Evening News reports that Patricia Goulden was also banned from driving for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work by a judge at Manchester Magistrates’ Court earlier this week.
Louise Harrott, a 43-year-old mum and member of Saddleworth Clarion Cycling Club, was killed in March 2021 while riding on the Huddersfield Road in Oldham when Goulden, driving a Range Rover, turned across her path and struck her.
Harrott was airlifted from the scene of the crash and taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary for surgery, but died from her injuries the following morning.
Her mother, Doreen McGivern, told the court this week that “my beautiful daughter Louise died doing the thing she loved”.
Louise fell in love with cycling in 2013 and, according to her mum, “had a true sense of belonging in her cycling club. She was happiest out riding and socialising with her friends in sunshine or rain.”
At her funeral, members of Saddleworth Clarion Cycling Club rode in their group colours to accompany the procession, with Louise’s coffin draped with a Clarion banner as relatives and friends said their final farewell to the much-loved mother-of-one.
Some of her ashes were scattered at Nont Sarah’s in Yorkshire, one of her favourite rides, where she enjoyed the long steady climb up Buckstones Hill.
In the wake of her death, Louise’s family called for better “road sharing education” to prevent more people from being killed doing the thing they love.
British Cycling said her death was “symptomatic of a road network that prioritises driving over cyclists and pedestrians” and that “no-one should have to be brave to go for a cycle”.
Defending Goulden in court, Peter Grogan said that the motorist has a “deep sense of remorse” and regret over the incident.
He described Goulden’s driving as “inexplicable” and claimed she displayed “a momentary lapse of concentration”.
“The consequences of your actions will remain with Louise's family and friends forever," District Judge Mark Hadfield told Goulden.
“Of course, you will have to live with the consequences of your actions.
“This tragic accident was caused by a lapse of concentration by you. However, there is no explanation or reason why you failed to see Louise.”
Accepting that her remorse was genuine and that she was of “positive good character”, with no previous convictions, the judge sentenced Goulden to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, as well as implementing a two-year driving ban.
The sentence was sharply criticised on Twitter by a member of Saddleworth Clarion Cycling Club, who wrote: “Louise was my friend and clubmate. She was kind and funny and intelligent. She left behind a teenage son. According to the law, however, she’s just roadkill.”
Louise was my friend and clubmate. She was kind and funny and intelligent. She left behind a teenage son. According to the law, however, she's just roadkill. https://t.co/y5iQIyQad3
— Cycling Folkie 🌳 (@VeganCyclist4) June 25, 2022
Earlier this week, a motorist who left a 51-year-old former army major “for dead on the side of the road” had a 12-week prison sentence overturned on appeal.
61-year-old William Jones, from Burton, Staffordshire, was instead given a suspended sentence and banned from driving for a year after leaving Cathal O’Reilly critically ill with a broken back, protruding leg bone and other serious injuries in a hit and run incident near Holyhead in September 2021.
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.