THE family of a tragic cyclist are backing calls for a “stricter liability” law after a lorry driver was acquitted of causing his death.
John Stewart, 54, was accused of causing Andrew McNicoll’s death by driving without due care and attention on the Capital’s Lanark Road in January 2012.
However, a jury yesterday returned a majority not proven verdict against the HGV driver, of Carstairs, Lanarkshire.
The victim’s parents, Ian and Lynne McNicoll, who became safer cycling campaigners following the tragedy, spoke of their disappointment at the verdict but vowed to continue their fight for safer cycling
“We’ve had better days. We expected a different verdict to this,” said Mrs McNicoll. “The only way forward for us is to work with Cycle Law and go for stricter liability. That’s the most the important thing – to protect vulnerable road users.
“We’re very lucky to live in this country and have the justice system we do so we have to accept the situation. It’s not what we wanted but it’s what we’ve got. We’ll deal with our disappointment in our own way in private and publicly we’ll just move forward.”
Prosecutors alleged Mr Stewart overtook Mr McNicoll, of Balerno, at an unsafe point in the road and that a trailer that was attached to his vehicle came into contact with the bike rider.
Prosecution lawyers alleged this caused the keen road cyclist to lose control of his bike and hit a parked Mazda.
The horror smash caused serious injuries and led to the insurance officer dying. During proceedings, the court heard that accident investigators were unable to prove the accident was caused by bad driving.
In his closing speech, defence advocate Steve Love described Mr McNicoll’s death as “sad”, but said the evidence surrounding the alleged incident pointed to it being a “tragic accident” as opposed to a criminal act.
Mr McNicoll’s family, who have set up charities to make cycling safer in Scotland following his death, were in court throughout the four-day trial.
Fighting back tears, his mum said the trial brought back painful memories of that day.
Mrs McNicoll said: “We’ve relived it over four days and that’s been really hard. It has been a really tough week.
“But I’m a big believer that you can’t moan about things unless you’re willing to take action so for us the way forward is to campaign about something we think is better, that’s what we’re going to have to do.”
They now plan on joining Pedal on Parliament next month and continue their fight for change in their son’s memory.
“He’d be so proud of what we’ve done – that we’ve tried to get justice for him. He’d have been proud of all of us this week, being in court for him and the work that we’ve put it. He’d certainly be well chuffed at what we’re trying to do to get more folk cycling.
“Andrew was just one of life’s good blokes and he was loved by many people – friends, family, his partner, his mum and dad and sister. We just miss him.”