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Coach driver cleared of killing cyclist by careless driving

Robert Don was unable to use cycle path and was wearing dark clothing with no helmet.

Andrew Blyth: Wept in court as he was found not guilty.
Andrew Blyth: Wept in court as he was found not guilty. PPA

A coach driver wept as a jury cleared him of causing the death of a cyclist by careless driving on the A9 near Perth.

Andrew Blyth was found not guilty of causing the death of Robert Don, 53, after a three-day trial.

The jury at Perth Sheriff Court took just an hour to clear Mr Blyth and Sheriff William Wood told him he could leave the dock without a blemish on his record.

Sheriff Wood told members of Mr Don's family: "I appreciate these events will have caused considerable distress in relation to what happened.

"It was clearly a most unfortunate incident with catastrophic consequences for Robert Don. It is proper that the court extends its condolences to you.

"Having heard the circumstances in which he was cycling that night, that he was not able to use the cycle path as it was flooded, it was dark and raining, and he was wearing dark clothing and no helmet, and had a single light, and the driver would had little time to see him, hopefully gives some understanding how he met his injury."

The jury had been shown CCTV footage taken from inside the coach driven by Mr Blyth, who told police he had not seen any cyclist on the road.

Mr Don was cycling home from visiting his sister when he was briefly filmed by the in-coach CCTV system as Mr Blyth approached and passed him on the A9.

The footage did not show a collision but Mr Blyth told the trial there was "a bang" and he stopped the Park's of Hamilton coach a short distance further down the road.

Footage of the scene, taken after Mr Don was removed to hospital, showed his bicycle lying at the side of the road and a pool of blood and a single glove nearby.

Mr Blyth told police during an interview after the incident that he had not seen the cyclist, who was not wearing a helmet and did not have any high-visibility clothing on.

Defence expert Jim Brunton, 58, of the Transport Research Laboratory, told the jury Mr Don was only briefly visible on the CCTV footage.

"From the first point of possible perception, to disappearing down the side of the bus was 1.4 seconds, which is less than the two seconds' reaction time," Mr Brunton said.

"He would have to see something first to react to it. There is no way of determining reaction time in the given period but we allow drivers a reaction time of two seconds."

Mr Brunton told the court the brake lights on the bus came on 0.4 seconds after the bike disappeared out of shot.

The jury was earlier told Mr Don suffered a head injury and died in hospital more than a week later.

During his police interview, Mr Blyth, said: "I stopped just because of the bang. I did not see him whatsoever."

The jury were informed Mr Don had no other injuries and his bike was not seriously damaged.

He was cycling home to Amulree Court in Perth when he was injured on December 30, 2013, the jury heard. He died on January 8, 2014.

They were told the cycle path which runs alongside the A9 Inverness to Perth road was flooded and impassable at the time of the incident.

The Inverness to Edinburgh coach was being driven at 53mph and none of the 19 passengers saw the cyclist.

Mr Blyth, of Abbotsford Road, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, denied causing Mr Don's death by driving his coach carelessly on the A9 near Inveralmond roundabout on 30 December 2013.

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