Driver guilty of causing cyclist’s death

Gary Christie.
Gary Christie.

A 56-year old man has been found guilty of causing the death of a 38-year old cyclist and father of two, by careless driving in an accident on Carberry Road, Kirkcaldy, on November 1, 2016.

On the third day of his trial at the High Court in Edinburgh a jury unanimously found the charge against David Gordon from Dysart, of causing the death of Gary Christie from Cupar, by dangerous driving, Not Proven, but guilty by a majority, of causing his death by careless driving. Mr Christie died in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh two weeks after the accident.

Gordon was accused of driving his red Vauxhall Corsa on Carberry Road, Kirkcaldy, in the early hours of the morning while the windscreen was obscured, crossing over into the opposing carriageway to overtake a cyclist when it was not safe to do so and colliding with Mr Christie on his mountain bike, causing severe injury and death.

Joiner, Scott Shields, the cyclist whom Gordon overtook told the court it was dry, but frosty at around 6.30am when he was cycling up the road towards the brow of the hill on the unclassified road. There was a cycle path at the side of the road, but it was not well maintained and he used the road.

He saw another cyclist, Mr Christie, coming over the brow of the hill in the opposite direction. Mr Christie had flashing lights on his cycle. Mr Shields said a car went past him.

“I heard a bang just a second after he (the motorist) past. I got off my bike and ran to the guy (other cyclist) lying on the road”. The car had stopped just “a wee bit further on” he said.

The other cyclist, said Mr Shields, was in a bad way, bleeding from his head, ears, nose and mouth. He got no response from the other cyclist. A young lady had arrived, he said, and he asked if she had a phone and contacted the ambulance. The driver of the car came over to him, he said, and asked if he could help. “He asked how the guy was and I just said he was in a bad way.

“The driver looked as if he was in shock. He was distressed and almost passed out”.

The young lady, Anna Kurowska, said she had been talking to her grandmother in Poland on her phone when she saw a red car going past one cyclist and trying to pass another on the other side of the road, when she heard a noise. She said she thought the car had hit an animal, a deer or something, and then saw a man fly over the front of the car and falling to the ground. The man was bleeding from the head and ears, she said.

“He looked at me for a few minutes and then closed his eyes”.

She said it had been dark and wet, not very wet, but there was water on the road”.

PC Paul MacPherson, accident investigator, said there was moisture in the air, the sun was just coming up and there was dew on the road. T

he cyclist, who had been knocked down was wearing a dark blue helmet, black cycling top with white side panels and black cycling trousers with white stripes. There had been a head-on impact between the car and bike with the bike’s front wheel lodged into the front grid of the car, the handlebars forced onto the bonnet, denting it, and the cyclist being ejected over the car after hitting the windscreen.

PC MacPherson said there was condensation on the car’s windscreen that could have led to loss of visibility and the driver could not see the cyclist.

Defence counsel, Tim Niven Smith, told the officer that his client had returned to his car after the accident to make a phone call to his workplace and been there for six minutes breathing heavily. Could that have caused the windscreen to mist up? he asked. “Yes” was the reply.

For the defence, collisions investigator, Gary Mackay, said the victim had been wearing dark clothing and although there had been lights on the bike, but not a beacon of light, just a warning to other road users.

Another investigator, Ronald Knak, said that on the morning of November 1, the local weather station at Lochgelly said the temperature at 6.50am was 4.1 degrees Centigrade and relative humidity 89 per cent. The driver, going back to his car after the accident in shock and traumatised could have contributed to the condensation on the windscreen.

When the jury returned their verdict it was revealed that Gordon had previous road traffic offences, including two for speeding.

Judge, Lord Menzies, deferred sentence on Gordon until October 12 for reports, disqualified him from driving and ordered him to hand in any driving licence he had to Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

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