Driver who killed cyclist is spared jail
David Gordon crossed onto the other side of the road to overtake when it was unsafe to do so and collided with Gary Christie’s mountain bike.
Father-of-two Mr Christie (38) was seriously injured in the incident and died in hospital two weeks later.
A judge told Gordon (56) at the High Court in Edinburgh that he had given serious consideration to imprisoning him but reached the view it was neither necessary nor appropriate.
Lord Menzies ordered that he carry out the maximum amount of 300 hours unpaid work under a community payback order and banned him from driving for 10 years.
The judge also ruled that he must sit an extended driving test before applying for a licence again.
Lord Menzies said: “It must not be forgotten throughout all of this that Mr Christie was an innocent man who was just going about his daily routine of cycling to work and who was killed in the prime of his life.”
The judge said he had read a victim impact statement from a son of the deceased and added: “I can only begin to understand the loss and suffering which the death of Mr Christie has caused to his family and friends.”
Lord Menzies said a background report prepared on Gordon showed that he took full responsibility for causing the death by careless or inconsiderate driving.
Gordon told the author of the report that he should have waited until he was over the brow of a hill at Carberry Road, Kirkcaldy, before overtaking a cyclist travelling in the same direction.
Gordon had suffered nightmares featuring the noise of the collision between his Vauxhall Corsa and the bike of Mr Christie on November 1 in 2016.
The driver drew the social worker’s attention to the time of the year it happened and said that Christmas that year must have been a truly sad and traumatic time for the victim’s wife, children and extended family.
Gordon, of High Street, Dysart, had offered to plead guilty to the offence of causing death by careless driving but that was rejected by the Crown and he stood trial for causing death by dangerous driving by driving when the windscreen was obscured and crossing over into the opposing carriageway to overtake when it was unsafe.
A jury at the High Court in Edinburgh earlier acquitted him of dangerous driving and convicted him of the lesser charge which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
Lord Menzies told Gordon: “If you had been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving it would, I think, have been almost inevitable that I would have imposed a sentence of imprisonment on you.”
He said that in Gordon’s case there were no drugs, drink, speeding or other aggravating features involved.
He said: “You have accepted full responsibility for this accident and you have displayed remorse. Many people convicted of crimes claim to be remorseful.”
Lord Menzies added that like the writer of the background report he was inclined to believe that the remorse shown by Gordon was genuine.
Defence counsel Tim Niven-Smith said that Gordon’s employer told him that at the time of the fatal incident he had been concerned that Gordon would commit suicide.
Joiner Scott Shields, the cyclist Gordon overtook before the collision, told the trial that he was approaching the brow of the hill when he saw Mr Christie come over the summit with flashing lights on his bike.
He said: “I heard a bang just a second after he (the motorist) passed. I got off my bike and ran to the guy lying on the road. The car had stopped just a wee bit further on.”
Mr Shields said the cyclist was “in a bad way” bleeding from his head, ears, nose and mouth. He said the driver came over and asked if he could help.
“The driver looked as if he was in shock. He was distressed and almost passed out,” he said.
Another witness Anna Kurowska said she thought the car had hit an animal and then saw a man fly over the front of the vehicle and fall to the ground.
Accident investigator PC Paul MacPherson said the sun was just coming up and there was dew on the road at the time.
There had been a head-on impact between the car and the bike and the cyclist was ejected over the car after hitting the windscreen. There was condensation on the car windscreen.
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