A TEACHER who knocked a cyclist off her bike – leaving her with a broken back, fractured rib and a collapsed lung – has been fined £5,000 in the Magistrate’s Court.
The cyclist is still undergoing physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, suffers from disturbed sleep and is likely to be left in permanent pain following the incident last summer, the court heard.
Maria Reakes (67) – who had an impeccable driving record and has been left distressed and anxious after the accident – admitted one charge of causing serious injury by careless driving.
The court heard that the cyclist was riding along La Rue de la Ville ès Renauds in Grouville shortly before 5pm on 25 August as Reakes travelled in the opposite direction in her Mini Cooper.
The defendant turned right onto Rue à Don, colliding with the cyclist at the junction.
Dashcam footage taken from a bus which had been behind the cyclist was screened in court.
Legal adviser Harrison Gollop, prosecuting, said: ‘The footage clearly shows that the motorist had turned right, into incoming traffic.’
Mr Gollop added that Reakes had been driving for 40 years and in that time had never had an accident.
‘She has no previous convictions and has never been before the courts before,’ he said.
Advocate Debbie Corbel, defending, made the same point and added: ‘Mrs Reakes admitted her fault and took full responsibility.
‘She didn’t see the cyclist and she really can’t say how sorry she is about it.
‘Mrs Reakes deeply regrets what happened and asks me to apologise sincerely. She has found the last seven months very stressful. She is very anxious about it and very anxious about the cyclist.’
Magistrate Bridget Shaw said she was taking into account Reakes’s immediate guilty pleas, her acceptance of responsibility, her previous clean record and numerous positive character references from colleagues and students.
But she added: ‘I have to look at the degree of carelessness and the nature of the accident, and the degree of injury is an aggravating feature.
‘I don’t believe you stopped and had a good look. You were turning right across incoming traffic. You needed to take extra care.’
In addition to the fine she banned Reakes from driving for 12 months and ordered her to retake her driving test afterwards.
Reacting to the sentencing, a spokesperson for cycling advocacy group Cycle4Jersey, said: ‘While the cyclist on this occasion will sadly continue to suffer longer-lasting injuries, which will likely prevent them from enjoying their passion again, the strong punishment and fine should serve as a significant warning.’
He added: ‘It is a reminder to all that we should be considerate of all road users, particularly those more vulnerable, especially pedestrians and cyclists.’
Islander Joanna Dentskevich – who has been campaigning for improved road safety after her son, Freddie, was hit by a vehicle while cycling in St Martin around two years ago – said: ‘It is positive that this is being taken seriously – it is important that road users concentrate at all times. I hope that this shows the importance of thinking twice and being extra careful on the roads.’