Ban for driver, 90 who hit cyclist

First published in News

A 90-YEAR-OLD driver has been banned after he pulled out of a junction and hit a cyclist, seriously injuring him.

Retired police officer Peter Fitton suffered such severe injuries to his leg that he was hospitalised for 13 weeks and has only just been able to ride again.

Yesterday, Thomas Clark, of Plodder Lane, Farnworth, was banned from the road and fined £100 after pleading guilty to driving without due care and attention.

Mr Fitton, whose daughter is 16-year-old pentathlon champion and future Olympic hopeful Alice Fitton, said: “I give no pleasure whatsoever in him getting any punishment.

“I just questioned whether or not he should be on the road.

“I would like further assessment for driving so the sentence seems fair enough.

“I don’t know the man and I have no personal gripe against him.”

Former driving instructor Clark knocked Mr Fitton from his bike when he pulled out of Plodder Lane in his Peugeot 206 and on to St Helens Road at 8.10pm on September 16, last year.

Mr Fitton, aged 53, from Atherton, had been forced to retired from his job as a police officer because of leg problems before the accident but still cycled 200 miles a week.

He is now likely to need a knee replacement sooner than expected because of the complex fractures to his leg caused by the crash.

Howard Sloane, prosecuting at Bolton Magistrates Court, said: “As a result of the incident, he sustained serious fractures to his left leg and extensive bruising, cuts and his legs were black and blue.

“He has competed at a national level in cycling and rode 200 miles each week.”

Mohamed Patel, defending Clark, said: “He is deeply remorseful. It was an unfortunate accident.

“He has never been involved in any accidents before. It has been traumatising for him.”

Clark, a widower, had worked as a driving instructor and drove a taxi until 2006.

Mr Patel said Clark relied on driving to do his shopping and so he could help a housebound 85-year-old friend each week who lives in Pontefract, Yorkshire.

Clark also pleaded guilty to driving with defective eyesight on October 9, 2010, but Mr Patel said he has since been given the all clear to drive by an optician.

Clark was given nine points on his licence. He already had three points on his licence for speeding which led to a six-month ban under the totting-up system.

He will have to pass a further driving test if he wishes to drive again.

He was ordered to pay a £100 fine, £35 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

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