A driver who struck a cyclist on a dangerous stretch of the New England Highway was sentenced to 300 hours of community service on Thursday after the court heard that the road was poorly designed and had since been upgraded.
Neil Smith died when he was struck from behind near the Tarro rail bridge on August 2, 2012.
Richard Alan Kennard was previously acquitted of dangerous driving occasioning death before he was found guilty of negligent driving occasioning death.
He was driving a Ford Ranger in a westerly direction on the highway when he said he adjusted the visor in his car due to the sun’s glare.
Judge Helen Syme said that although Mr Smith had moved slightly onto the roadway because the breakdown lane ended at the bridge, a prudent driver would have done more to avoid the collision.
She said it was a poorly designed section of road, but it was incumbent upon motorists to drive to the conditions.
Defence barrister Paul Rosser QC tendered a number of documents from Roads and Maritime Services that showed that the department knew the road was dangerous for cyclists, but did little about it until after the crash.
Mr Smith’s daughter Shauna read a victim impact statement on behalf of her mother Ruth and their family where she described the devastation they have endured.
“As a family this has shattered us. It’s like our world has fallen apart,” she said.
“He brought so much joy and happiness to our lives ... on that day our lives changed forever.”
Kennard wept as he read a letter to the court where he said he could not describe what it’s like to have killed a man and devastated so many people.
“I can’t come to grips with the collision and having killed a man,” he said.
Judge Syme sentenced Kennard, of Wyoming, to 300 hours of community service and disqualified him from driving for three years.