BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  UK: Wales
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 17:40 GMT
Death driver fine 'insulting'
Llangollen town centre
Mel Williams was killed near Llangollen
A 450 fine imposed on a van driver for killing a cyclist has been described as "insulting" by a north Wales Assembly Member.

Mel Williams, 33, died in June last year when 24-year-old John Swanson, from Huyton in Liverpool, struck his bicycle on the A5 in LLangollen. Swanson later admitted careless driving.

Alan Pugh, AM
Alan Pugh called the fine insulting

On Wednesday, Wrexham magistrates said they sympathised with Mr Williams' family and added the court had dealt with the case according to sentencing guidelines for traffic offences.

However, Alun Pugh AM for Clwyd West, said: "The killing of cyclists and pedestrians is seen as a misdemeanour by the courts. This is an insult.

"You can get a bigger fine for shoplifting or not having a TV licence."

Mr Pugh added: "I have written to the Lord Chancellor asking that sentencing guidelines be issued that fully reflect the seriousness of killing pedestrians and cyclists."

A bit of red paint on the road offers no protection whatsoever

South Wales AM Phil Williams

Swanson admitted careless driving but he told magistrates he could not explain why he did not see the rider.

He believed it might have been due to trees causing dark shadows over the road on a bright and sunny day.

Mr Pugh's comments followed a meeting of the Welsh Assembly's all-party cycling group, which was also attended by South Wales AM Phil Williams.

Mr Williams believes there needs to be more facilities for people riding bikes.

"We need more cycling tracks in Wales where children and adults can cycle in safety," he said.

Mr Williams added: "There is a disused railway line in this area which would make a superb route for ramblers and cyclists.

"A bit of red paint on the road offers no protection whatsoever."

See also:

19 Sep 01 | UK
Mystery crash appeal
27 Oct 00 | Health
Cycle helmets 'do work'
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories