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Death driver 'not looking at road ahead'
1:10am Thursday 8th November 2012 in News
A VAN driver who caused the death of an 80-year-old Worcester cyclist was not looking at the road ahead, a jury was told.
Scott Mears had pulled into the outside lane of a dual carriageway after seeing two cyclists on his nearside waiting to cross the A449 near Hawford, near Worcester.
Mears then looked in his mirror to see what was happening behind him, said Martin Butterworth, prosecuting. Moments later, the van’s wing mirror hit Richard Francis as the pensioner also began moving into the outside lane on his electrically-assisted bike.
Mears only saw “a glimpse” of Mr Francis’s high visibility jacket a split second before the impact on August 3 last year, said Mr Butterworth.
Mr Francis, who lived in Checketts Lane, Barbourne, was taken to hospital but died of severe head injuries.
Mears, aged 31, of Cannock Road, Bednall, Staffordshire, denies causing death by careless driving.
It was a sunny day and he was “in plain sight” of any driver coming up behind him from the Ombersley direction, said Mr Butterworth. His bike had a maximum speed of 25mph but he was likely to have been travelling more slowly.
Mears, a breakdown recovery engineer, was travelling at about 60mph, Worc-ester Crown Court was told.
Mr Butterworth said there was no reason why he should not have seen Mr Francis and been able to take avoiding action.
“He was not looking ahead but was looking somewhere else,” he said.
He told jurors they might conclude that Mr Francis moved out without checking for traffic coming up behind him. His bike had no mirrors.
“However sad, Mr Francis’s movements left something to be desired, but that would not excuse Mr Mears if his failure to see him contributed to the result,” said Mr Butterworth.
“If he had been looking he would have seen the movement of the bike towards his lane and anticipated the hazard, slowed, braked or moved over into the central reservation.”
John Edwards, of Little Witley, near Worcester, saw the tragedy unfolding as he drove towards Ombersley on the opposite carriageway.
Mr Butterworth said: “He saw Mr Francis moving over towards lane two and he didn't appear to check over his shoulder. Mr Edwards saw the van and anticipated that unless there was avoiding action there would be a collision.”
The trial continues.