A 4x4 driver who ditched his phone after knocking down a cyclist has been jailed for 27 months.
Driver Geraint Coombes, 32, hit cyclist Edward Taylor with his vehicle while he was distracted changing the song on his phone.
The crash happened on the A4268 dual carriageway in Caerphilly, South Wales in August last year, and left Mr Taylor with multiple broken bones.
Mr Taylor’s injuries meant he was unable to to care for his terminally ill wife, who died four months after the incident, the BBC reports. (opens in new tab)
Coombes, of Bryn Rhedyn, Mornington Meadows, Caerphilly, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice, and was jailed for 27 months at Cardiff Crown Court.
The driver was travelling on the dual carriageway in his Land Rover Discovery Sport on a clear and dry day, when he changed songs on Spotify on his phone, which caused him to hit Mr Taylor, who had been cycling on the road wearing high visibility clothing.
Coombes was heard to say “sorry mate, sorry - one minute you were on one side of the white line and the next minute you were on the other,” the court heard.
The driver left the scene and then threw his phone away, later telling police he “panicked” after causing the crash before finally admitting he had been on his phone.
Mr Taylor spent 11 days in hospital after suffering a broken elbow, wrist, four broken ribs and a broken coccyx.
In his personal impact statement, cyclist Mr Taylor said his injuries forced him to miss his final holiday with his children and terminally ill wife, after the trip had been paid for by a cancer charity.
Mr Taylor, who still has difficulty walking, also said he “would have been able to to care for his wife much better in her final months” if the crash had not happened.
Judge Richard Willaism told Coombes: “You were driving dangerously because you were not looking where you were going, because you were preoccupied with changing music on your smartphone”
The judge said Coombes’s behaviour had been “reprehensible and irresponsible.”
Coombes was also banned from driving and will have to take an advanced driving test before being allowed back behind the wheel.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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