Road-rage pensioner who punched cyclist has his driving ban quashed

A judge has quashed a pensioner's driving ban following a road-rage incident in Scarborough in which he fought with a cyclist 50 years his junior.

Monday, 20th June 2016, 11:20 am
Updated Monday, 20th June 2016, 12:23 pm
The incident happened in Ramshill

Brian Macdonald, 77, leapt out of his silver Hyundai to confront the 26-year-old cyclist following a blazing row near Scarborough town centre.

The enraged pensioner grabbed hold of the cyclist’s face with one hand and punched him with the other, York Crown Court heard.

During the struggle amid heavy traffic and blaring horns, the cyclist bit Mr Macdonald on the finger. Passers-by broke up the fight and Mr Macdonald got back in his car, but was later arrested and charged with assault. The incident happened in Ramshill, at the four-way junction of Filey Road, Westbourne Grove and Prince of Wales Terrace.

He was convicted of the offence at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court last month and given a 12-month driving ban with a £220 fine. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and £150 compensation to the cyclist.

Mr Macdonald launched an appeal against the driving ban and took his case to the Crown Court in front of Recorder Eric Duff, who was flanked by two magistrates.

Prosecutor Michael Rawlinson said the incident occurred at about midday on March 11, when there was a near-collision between Mr Macdonald’s Hyundai and the bicycle, which were travelling in the same direction. Both parties blamed each other for swerving into their path and a war of words ensued.

Mr Macdonald, whose wife was in the passenger seat, is said to have driven towards the cyclist, making contact with his bike, while the victim banged on his bonnet.

The cyclist tried but failed to grab hold of Mr Macdonald’s car keys by reaching through the driver’s window.

“That further agitated (Mr Macdonald), who promptly hit (the cyclist) three times with the (driver’s) door,” said Mr Rawlinson.

“He (Mr Macdonald) got out of the car and gripped (the cyclist) on the face with an open hand and splayed fingers. He started punching him with his free hand (but) one of his fingers went into the (cyclist’s) mouth, and his finger was apparently bitten down on.”

Witnesses called police and initially both parties were arrested, but the cyclist was not charged.

Defence barrister Nicholas Rooke said the cyclist did not suffer any injuries and Mr Macdonald, a former publican who suffers from a number of medical conditions and claims disability living allowance, had never been in trouble in his life.

Mr Macdonald, of Castle Well, Conisbrough, near Doncaster, wept during the short appeal hearing.

Recorder Mr Duff said the pensioner had lashed out due to the stress of the situation, adding: “This 77-year-old man has never been in the slightest bother in his life.”

He quashed both the driving ban and compensation order, but allowed the fine and prosecution costs to stand.