A DISABLED man has been cleared of using his mobility scooter to deliberately drive at an off duty policeman.
Steven Best denied he had swerved his scooter to hit Glen Eccles as he cycled along Victoria Road, Horwich, on the evening of October 23 last year, at Bolton Magistrates’ Court.
Mr Eccles was thrown from his mountain bike in the collision, suffering a cut and grazed leg, but the court heard 44-year-old Best, of Berne Avenue, Horwich, left him lying in the road and refused to stop despite Mr Eccles and his friend, Sean Crompton, following him for a mile requesting he do so.
Best, who was on his way to babysit his sister’s children, admitted hitting Mr Eccles, but said the collision was an accident and he did not stop because he feared he could be assaulted.
He pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, failing to stop and failing to report an accident but denied assaulting Mr Eccles.
And the court heard several neighbours had complained about the standard of his driving since Best got his mobility scooter two years ago.
Joanne Lovick, prosecuting, said witnesses have claimed he narrowly avoided hitting a four-year-old boy, became abusive after deliberately driving at a neighbour and their two dogs, is often seen driving the scooter on the road with his wife on his knee and drives at pedestrians when they fail to get out of his way.
Miss Lovick said: “There are real concerns about his driving behaviour.
“He doesn’t take due care on the road or on the pavement.”
Rachael Walsh said Best denied the witnesses’ allegations, but since the collision with Mr Eccles Best, who has learning difficulties and severe epilepsy, has been more careful.
She added: “He appreciates the seriousness of what could have happened that night.”
During Best’s trial for assaulting Mr Eccles, the off-duty policeman told how he shouted “whoa” as he cycled down Victoria Road at about 18mph and saw a mobility scooter in front of him coming out of Fox Street without stopping.
He claimed Best, who had been turning right on to Victoria Road, then headed left and hit his bike, flinging him into the path of oncoming traffic, which fortunately managed to stop.
“I was stunned by the whole situation,” he said.
Best, a father-of-one, claimed the accident had been an error of judgement and he had not deliberately aimed at the cyclist.
Miss Lovick told magistrates that Best did not need a licence to drive the scooter and so could not be banned from the roads, although losing his licence could affect his ability to obtain insurance.
Magistrates fined Best £110, put eight penalty points on his licence and ordered him to pay Mr Eccles £30 compensation. He was also told he must pay £85 prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Chairman of the bench, Martin Simpson told Best he should learn the legal requirements for people driving mobility scooters.