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Driver fined £500 over bike tragedy
A driver involved in a fatal smash that killed a father-to-be who was riding a child's motorbike has been fined £500.
Kamran Shah, 22, was illegally riding the off-road bike in Spring Mill Street, West Bowling, Bradford, when he ploughed into David Webster's Ford Escort.
Webster, who was found guilty of careless driving, was making a right turn on to Wood Road. During his two-day trial at Bradford Magistrates' Court he claimed that even though he had checked the road three times he had not seen the miniature bike until it was too late.
Mr Shah was flung from the Stealth TX80S in the collision and hit the windscreen of the Escort. He suffered severe head injuries when he landed on the road and died in hospital the next day.
The trial had been told that the bike which Mr Shah had bought a few days earlier was not meant to be driven on public roads and was not designed for people over the age of 11.
In the days before the accident police had warned him not to drive it on the road.
Passing sentence, District Judge David Thomas extended his condolences to Mr Shah's family but said that he had been behaving "irresponsibly" on the day he died.
He said: "I have seen videos of him driving around that afternoon and he was driving on the road without leathers, without a helmet, without a licence and without insurance and he had cannabis in his system.
"He should not have been there on that afternoon but the fact is that he was and I have heard evidence from various witnesses and have come to the conclusion that he was travelling quickly down hill on that road."
Giving evidence Webster, 22, of Long Ridge, Brighouse, who has just passed a degree course at Huddersfield University, told the court that he simply did not see the rider.
He said the sun on that bright June day in 2004 might have impaired his vision as he made the turn.
Ian Simmonds, a consultant ophthalmologist, told the judge Webster would have been more sensitive to the light because he has blue eyes.
Mr Simmonds said that turning directly to face the sun may have had a similar effect as flash photography and temporarily blinded him.
"It's conceivable that Mr Webster did not did not see the motorcycle because of the bleaching effect from the sunlight," he said.
"There's enough evidence in the photographs and video evidence that Mr Webster's claims that he did not see the motorcycle because of the light is probably true."
But returning his guilty verdict district Judge Thomas noted that Webster had cut the corner and concluded that he had not paid sufficient attention to the road.
Banning Webster from driving for six months and ordering him to pay £475 costs, he said: "It is very difficult in cases of this nature to impose a sentence that satisfies the family of the deceased because they have lost a loved relative and nothing that I can do can bring that person back.
"The law does not allow me to impose anything more than a fine and a disqualification and in their eyes that seems scant punishment.
"It might be right to say that if the deceased had been wearing a helmet or leathers he would not have been killed. There's a large amount of contributory negligence on his part and that caused the tragedy that befell."