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Man goes on trial accused of causing cyclist’s death by dangerous driving

Neil Gass

A LORRY driver has gone on trial after a tragic road collision on the outskirts of Carlisle which claimed the life of a cyclist.

Michael Seminara, who was 71, died after being “run over” by an HGV as he travelled on an electric bike on the A689 bypass at Cargo roundabout, the city’s crown court heard today (MON).

Michael Seminara

Mr Seminara – wearing high visibility clothing – entered the left hand lane of the roundabout intending to take the third exit on the afternoon of Thursday, March 29, 2018. As westbound wagon driver Neil Gass, transporting a log-laden trailer, approached and caught up, he anticipated the cyclist would be taking the same earlier second exit as himself by remaining on the A689 bound for Workington.

But as Gass pulled out to overtake at around 23mph, his vehicle collided with offside handlebar of Mr Seminara’s bike.

“He was, in effect, run over,” prosecutor Paul Brookwell said of “keen cyclist” Mr Seminara, who’d been using the main A689 while two fellow riders travelled on a cycle path. Gass stopped, remained at the scene and later told police Mr Seminara – a married father and grandfather from Wetheral, near Carlisle – had been given “plenty of room”, and recalled seeing no hand signals or eye contact prior to impact.

Mr Brookwell warned the jury of seven men and five women they would see footage from the dash cam of a van travelling behind the HGV which had captured the collision.

They heard Gass, of Prior Avenue, Canonbie, admitted causing Mr Seminara’s death by careless driving. However, he denied doing so dangerously.

“That is to say he drove below the standard of a careful and competent driver,” Mr Brookwell told the jury. “We say his driving fell far below that.

“Mr Gass could see ahead of him a vulnerable road user, a cyclist. He had him in view for some considerable distance.

“He should have been aware of the risk that he was taking – that is Mr Gass – when he decided to overtake at the point that he overtook.

“He could and should, we submit, have slowed down and made sure that this cyclist had both cleared the junction and, if he was executing the manoeuvre, made sure he was safe.”

The trial continues.

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