A lorry driver has today (06/12) been jailed for causing the death of a doctor after an array of dashboard items, including a fan, small table and toys obstructed his view of the cyclist.
Robert Bradbury was driving along Pershore Road at around 4pm on 9 October 2017 with Dr Suzanna ‘Suzie’ Bull, a medic at the city’s hospital, cycling alongside him.
As they approached the junction of Priory Road, 50-year-old Bradbury indicated left and began his manoeuvre without noticing Suzie in the dedicated cycle lane.
A jury at Birmingham Crown Court heard Suzie who was wearing bright pink high-visibility clothing, should have been in full view in Bradbury’s mirror for five seconds as she cycled ahead of him by at least three bike lengths, but the HGV collided with her, causing catastrophic injuries.
Sadly the 32-year-old was pronounced dead at hospital later that day.
Bradbury from Acocks Green stopped at the scene and in a voluntary interview admitted he had items displayed on his dashboard and an extra table fitted on top of it which reduced his visibility.
Police investigations found Bradbury and his employer – S&J Transport in Coleshill, knew the table had been removed to avoid failing an MOT in May 2017, but the table and items such as a fan, sat-nav and toys, were re-installed the next day and contributed to the collision.
Dr Suzie Bull’s family have released a tribute to her: “We tragically lost our beautiful Suzie two years ago, long before her time and with so much more left to give the world. Nothing will ever replace her.
“It devastates us to know that her death was avoidable. The evidence that we have heard in the course of the trial has highlighted several areas of responsibility which need addressing so that similar circumstances in which we lost Suzie do not ever happen again.
“In conclusion we wish to emphasise the grief our family and Suzie’s friends have suffered.
“We are grateful for the work of the Crown Prosecution Service and West Midlands Police for their help and support.”
PC Mark Crozier, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “The dashboard tables used by Bradbury and a number of other drivers across the UK are designed to only be used when the vehicle is stationary. They are not to be used when driving, as they clearly present a danger. The junk he accumulated on his dashboard contributed to the fatal collision.
“Both Bradbury and his employer knew his view would be impaired, but both their complacency and total lack of regard for the law were the overriding factors that led to the tragic death of Dr Suzanna Bull.
“I hope this sends a serious message to all road hauliers and drivers to review their vehicle checking processes as the safety of all road users is and always should be a priority.”
Robert Bradbury was found guilty of causing death by careless driving by a jury on Wednesday 9 October and was today (06/12) sentenced to 21 months in prison and handed a two year 10-month driving ban.
S & J Transport, the company he worked for, pleaded guilty to the offence of failing to discharge their duty contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act and were fined £112,500 and ordered to pay £3,000 in court costs.