Careless driving leaves cyclist needing spinal surgery

Stock image.
Stock image.

A STUDENT has been slammed for his careless driving that left a 74-year-old cyclist needing spinal surgery.

Dylan Re’Jean Bourbeau (22) was leaving the underground carpark of Mullaloo Beach Hotel, where he works, at 11.14am on June 5 when he hit the cyclist.

Joondalup Magistrate’s Court heard on Friday that Bourbeau, a Currambine resident who has been driving for five years, had stopped about 4m from the road with the intent to turn right to travel north on Oceanside Promenade.

The 74-year-old victim was cycling south in single file with five other riders.

“He failed to observe the cyclist and give way, causing the cyclist to collide with the car’s rear right tyre and fall to the road,” the police prosecutor said.

He was taken by ambulance to Royal Perth Hospital where he was found to have a fractured C6 and C7 vertebrate requiring fusion surgery and a fractured T11 that did not require surgery.
Bourbeau’s lawyer said her client was driving his father’s car and was “not accustomed” to using it.

She said while he had looked both ways, his vision to the right was “partially impaired”.

However, she also tried to argue the cyclists were “not strictly riding kerb side” and the victim was “more to the centre of the road which caused the collision” so both parties should have “some level of responsibility for the accident”.

However, Magistrate Gregory Benn said he would not accept those comments.

“Cyclists are entitled to use the road and drivers have an obligation to give way,” he said.

“I do not accept at all the cyclist is responsible.”

Bourbeau’s lawyer said they accepted he had failed to stop “where the driveway met the road” but said he did stop to help after the collision.

His boss also attended to help but sensing some “hostility”, advised Bourbeau to leave to “avoid arguments”.

She said he “felt uncomfortable leaving” and rang his father and police before returning to the scene.

She said Bourbeau was remorseful for his actions and was “unlikely to be a threat to the community or to reoffend”.

She requested Mr Benn consider fines and licence disqualification and applied for a spent conviction saying the offence could affect his future employment.

The police prosecutor said she accepted Bourbeau was remorseful but his driving was “dangerous” and it was his responsibility to make sure he was “safe and aware of cyclists”.

“We need to send a message to the community that there are ramifications for drivers who don’t take care,” she said.

She also opposed the spent conviction application saying insurance companies should know about the offence.

Mr Benn also accepted Bourbeau’s remorse but acknowledged the offence was “not at the low end”.

“You should have taken every step to ensure it was clear before you moved out,” he said.

“It has had significant impact on the rider’s life.

“They were significant injuries that have resulted in a huge impact to his lifestyle and what he is able to do recreationally.

“It has resulted in surgery, having to wear a neck brace and a significant degree of pain.”

Mr Benn handed down a $2000 fine plus court costs of $225.90, and disqualified his licence for 10 months.

In regards to the spent conviction application, Mr Benn said it was difficult to see how the offence would “significantly impact future employment except if the job involved driving and travelling”.

“Your employer should know and you’ll have to explain it and put it in to context,” he said.

“Insurers should also not be deprived of the information.”

The application was denied.

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