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Speeding motorbiker jailed for killing London cyclist during lockdown

Lewis McNeice was riding at more than 60mph on Euston Road when he crashed into Tom Whittaker

A motorcyclist who was riding at more than twice the speed limit when he hit a cyclist on London’s Euston Road during lockdown in April 2020, fatally injuring him, has been jailed for 20 months.

Police collision investigators estimated that 41-year-old Lewis McNeice was riding his Harley Davidson at a speed of between 62 and 67mph before crashing into cyclist Tom Whittaker from behind.

The legal speed limit on the section of Euston Road where the fatal crash happened on 7 April 2020 is 30mph, reports the London Evening Standard.

CCTV footage showed Mr Whittaker checking over his shoulder before changing lanes as he approached a set of traffic lights that were turning red when he was hit by McNeice.

The victim sustained brain injuries as a result of the crash and died in hospital.

Ben Lloyd, prosecuting, said that the motorcyclist “ought to have seen the lights turn to amber, and ought to have been slowing down to stop safely at the lights”.

“He didn’t do so. [He] did apply the brakes, however he did so far too late and collided with Mr Whittaker on his pedal cycle.”

Judge Ian Darling, sentencing McNeice who had pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, told him: “There was little or no traffic and hence, regrettably, I suspect you were speeding.

“Mr Whittaker was entitled to protection from people driving on the roads with him. In driving as you did, and for whatever reason, you took away that protection and that ultimately cost him his life.”

The judge told McNeice, who had addiction problems with drugs and alcohol when he was younger but now helps people in a similar situation: “You have extremely strong personal mitigation, and the effect of a custodial sentence will potentially be disastrous to you, your daughter, your partner, your business itself and the people you employ.

“But I can’t ignore the fact your driving has caused the death of a person.”

During the initial lockdown which came into effect in March 2020, stay-at-home orders saw the streets of London and other cities almost empty – although police forces in the capital and elsewhere warned that some motorists were taking advantage of the absence of other vehicles to engage in what was described as “extreme speeding.”

> Met Police urges drivers to slow down after catching driver doing 110mph in a 30mph zone

Euston Road itself had pop-up cycle lanes installed on either side in July 2020 as part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s StreetSpace for London scheme, with the westbound lane removed a few months later, and just this week Transport for London has announced that the eastbound lane will be removed too – something London Cycling Campaign has described as a “retrograde step for London.” 

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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