Cycling Tasmania executive officer Collin Burns outside the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday with family and supporters of killed cyclist Lewis Hendey in the background. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON
CYCLING Tasmania has slammed the wholly suspended sentence handed to the driver who killed cyclist Lewis Hendey as “manifestly inadequate”.
Executive officer Collin Burns on Monday also demanded the state government take action on tougher penalties for negligent drivers who kill other road users.
Magistrate Reg Marron jailed driver Timothy Wayne Yole, 26, for four months, wholly suspended for two years, in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Monday.
Mr Marron also disqualified Yole from driving for 18 months.
Mr Hendey’s family, including his parents, sister, brother-in-law and a grandparent, were too distraught to speak to the media, so Mr Burns spoke on their behalf outside court.
He said the sentence was not justice and he personally believed that Yole should have gone to jail.
“It was an avoidable tragedy,” Mr Burns said.”Cycling Tasmania has been lobbying the government to protect bike riders.
“The government has failed to act so far.
“This is not a one-off; three men have lost their lives in the last three years. Pedestrians have also lost their lives and no one has gone to jail.”
A government spokesman said that the government was unable to comment on individual cases, but referred The Examiner to statements made earlier this month.
Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin previously acknowledged there were several cases where there had been “significant community angst” about the application of suspended sentences.
Dr Goodwin said the Sentencing Advisory Council was investigating alternative sentencing options that would be introduced with the phasing out of suspended sentences.
Mr Burns added that Mr Hendey’s family told him they would like to see a 10-year mandatory minimum disqualification for drivers who kill other road users.
“I will be taking this up personally with the minister,” he said.”Driving a car is a weapon. People are just not being responsible for their actions.”
Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding said on Ride 2 Work Day last week the government had launched the new A Metre Matters campaign which reminded motorists of the importance of passing cyclists safely.
Source: The Examiner, Tasmania