A taxi passenger who fatally knocked a cyclist into the path of a moving van when she opened the door without looking has been fined just £80.
Mandy Chapple, from Leicester, pleaded guilty to one charge of opening a vehicle door so as to inure or endanger another person, known as “car-dooring”, after a popular teacher, Sam Boulton, was killed on his 26th birthday near the city’s railways station last year.
The biggest problem is that this offence is not taken seriously because of the limited penalties
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK
Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard that Mrs Chapple, 56, who was sitting behind the taxi driver, had taken a look before opening the door but had not been able to see clearly.
A spokesman for Cycling UK said the lenient sentences handed down for the offence “possibly explains the reluctance to prosecute in many of the nearly 500 cases each year where a cyclist is seriously injured, or sometimes as in Sam's case killed, as a consequence of somebody opening their car door without looking or care for those on two wheels”.
A lawyer for Mrs Chapple said the incident had “very badly” affected his client’s nerves and that she “is very sorry”.
Taxi driver Farook Bhikhu, 56, also Leicester, pleaded not guilty to a charge of permitting the opening of vehicle door so as to injure or endanger a person.
He now faces a trial at Loughborough Magistrates Court in June.