Austwick taxi driver cleared of careless driving on A65 at Ingleton

A TAXI driver accused of hitting a motorcyclist has been cleared of careless driving by Skipton magistrates.

Nicholas Hewitt, 37, had been travelling along the A65 on his way to the Ingleton Youth Hostel to pick up a fare when he was involved in an incident involving a Kawasaki ZX10 sports bike, the court heard.

It was alleged Hewitt had collided with the 1,000cc bike as both vehicles attempted to overtake another car, causing the motorcyclist to fall into the road and sustain serious injuries.

But Hewitt, of Austwick, who denied driving without due care and attention, said he had checked the mirrors of his Volkswagen Transporter people carrier and looked over his shoulder before starting his manoeuvre.

He told the court that the motorcyclist must have been driving at speed and had lost control of his vehicle after coming over the brow of a hill and being confronted with Hewitt pulling out.

Motorcyclist Charles Bott told the court he had been travelling with friends from Warrington to Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale, when the VW Transporter had pulled out and collided with him as he had been overtaking.

He had fallen from his bike, which continued along the road for some distance, coming to rest close to the entrance of Pine Croft timber lodges site.

Bott, who was in hospital for more than three weeks with serious injuries following the accident on May 27, 2012, said he had been travelling at the same speed as the other vehicles and denied that he had speeding.

The court heard from a police accident investigator and an independent investigator, for the defence, who agreed that Mr Bott’s speed at the time could be calculated at 67mph – seven miles an hour over the speed limit.

Charles Macrae, for the prosecution, told magistrates they would have to be sure beyond reasonable doubt that the level of Hewitt’s driving had fallen below that expected of a reasonable and competent driver.

Jonathan Lally, for the defence, said there had been no damage to the Volkswagen and pointed out another driver had also not seen any motorcycle and it must have been travelling at excessive speed.

Magistrates said it was agreed there had been an accident, Mr Bott had suffered serious injuries and both drivers had been carrying out a manoeuvre.

But they said they could not be sure beyond all reasonable doubt the position of Mr Bott in relation to the taxi or whether Hewitt should have seen him.

They found the defendant not guilty.


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