A DRIVER involved in a fatal collision with a cyclist has told a jury the rider was on the wrong side of the road when he struck his car.

Otley father-of-three Craig Armitage died at the scene of the incident on the B6160 near Bolton Abbey and today motorist Nicholas Goddard maintained that he had no chance to avoid a head-on collision with the 44-year-old as he rode round a bend with two other cyclists.

The prosecution has alleged that Goddard, 63, of Pen-y-Ghent Way, Barnoldswick, had been overtaking another cyclist and was still "straddling" the centre white line of the road when Mr Armitage crashed into his Hyundai estate car in February last year.

But Goddard, himself a cyclist and a professional driver, said he had completed the overtaking manoeuvre and was safely back on his own side of the road before he saw Mr Armitage in front of his car.

Goddard, who has held a clean driving licence for 40 years, said Mr Armitage appeared to be talking one of the other cyclists and he pulled on his brakes when he saw the car.

Goddard told Bradford Crown Court it had happened in a split second and the collision had left him and his wife shocked and stunned.

The defendant has denied causing Mr Armitage's death by careless driving and during his trial the jury has heard disputed evidence from two accident investigators relating to the interpretation of marks left at the scene of the collision.

The cyclist who was overtaken by Goddard told the jury earlier in the week that the Hyundai was still across the centre white line when he heard the sound of the collision with Mr Armitage.

But the jury has also heard from another witness that Mr Armitage was riding just over the white line as he came round the bend.

During his police interviews Goddard described himself as a keen cyclist and said he was being cautious as he overtook the other rider.

Speaking about the death of Mr Armitage he said he was really sorry it had happened, but he just couldn't avoid it.

He said he hated what had happened, but he didn't cause it.

The jury has previously heard evidence from North Yorkshire police officer Stuart Langford who investigated the scene after the crash.

During questioning, which lasted a whole day, Mr Langford conceded there was no definitive mark on the road which enabled him to say where precisely the impact occurred, but his view was that the vehicle was over the white line.

"To what extent I can't say, but at least straddling," he said.

During his evidence Mr Langford was challenged by Goddard's barrister Ian Bridge about his interpretation of the marks at the scene.

The trial continues.