The driver who caused the death of Austrailian pro rider Jason Lowndes after she hit and killed him with her car has been handed a $2,000 (AUD) fine and 200 hours of unpaid community service.
22-year-old Billie Rodda has also been disqualified from driving for three years after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving after the judge indicated a prison sentence wouldn’t be necessary.
The Australian woman also pleaded guilty to using a mobile phone while driving, which the $2,000 fine was administered for, after a text message was found to have been sent 68 seconds before she hit Lowndes.
23-year-old Lowndes had been out on a training ride in southern Australia in 2017 before being hit by Rodda’s car, which was travelling within the speed limit between 80 and 100km/h. He was taking to hospital but died during surgery that afternoon.
During the trial, both the defend and prosection accepted Rodda had not been looking at her phone in the moments before the crash, and she was not tired or had drugs or alcohol in her system. The crash occurred near dense bushland that caused shadows on the road, with no other eyewitnesses present at the time of the incident.
Lowndes was racing for Israel Cycling Academy at the time of his death and was due to ride for JLT-Condor the following year.
He was a top-10 finisher in the under 23 World Championship road race in Qatar in 2016, and had previously ridden for Drapac Professional Cycling.
Paying tribute at the time of his death, Israel Cycling Academy said: “His constant broad smile, ever cheerful personality, and warm heart will be terribly missed forever by all of us.”
Irish pro Ryan Mullen added he had “lost a great friend and even better drinking partner today. Truly lost for words.”