THE mother of an experienced Barrow cyclist who was hit by an elderly driver on the A590 in South Cumbria has criticised magistrates for being "very lenient". 

Robert Harrison, 77, from Stratton Brook, in Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention at Furness Magistrates' Court today. Harrison didn't appear in court and pleaded guilty by post.

The court heard that at around 4.30pm on August 8, Harrison was driving down the A590 at Rusland Pool. 

Mr Lee Dacre, prosecuting, explained that there were three cyclists on the road at the same time Harrison was driving. 

He said: "Adam McBirnie was in the company of two others when cycling on the A590. 

"The weather was fine and the conditions were excellent. 

"Mr McBirnie was positioned to the very left of the road. He says he remembers distinctively being there. He really doesn't remember much else because he was struck from behind that took him of his bike and he sustained multiple injuries and damage to his bike." 

Mr McBirnie, who was 22 at the time, and works at Kimberly-Clark in Barrow, was taken to Furness General Hospital and interviewed by police eight days later. 

In a statement read out to the court he described his injuries. He said: "I sustained soft tissue damage and bruising to my right leg and ankle, a cut to the back of my right knee, a cut to the front of my right knee, cuts and abrasions to my left knee, bruising to my upper right leg and groin, a scab on my left shoulder, scab on my right shoulder, cuts and abrasions to my right hand and wrist and cuts and abrasions to my head and ears." 

Mr Dacre told the court that when Harrison was interviewed he said he didn't remembering seeing the cyclist. 

He said: "He heard a bang and when he looked in the mirror he saw the cyclist on the ground. He had no recollection of the incident."

As well the injuries Mr McBirnie suffered, his £3,000 bike was also damaged beyond repair.

Presiding magistrate, Sue Needham, said: "We have accepted his early guilty plea by post and he will be fined £295. He will have to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge fee of £30."

He was also given six penalty points on his licence. 

Speaking after the court case, Mr McBirnie's mother, Pat McBirnie, described the sentence as "very lenient".

She said: "Adam has been riding since he was 14 years old and he has never been involved in an accident. 

"If he hadn't landed in the lay-by he could have been killed."