A CYCLIST'S camera and 22cm have brought an end to a Maroochydore truck driver's 40-year career.
Warwick Fribance has decided to give truck driving away after he was charged with failing to keep a safe distance from a cyclist.
His lawyer described the charge as ridiculous and the magistrate regarded it as a "technical matter" when Mr Fribance appeared before Maroochydore Magistrates Court yesterday.
The court heard the cyclist had not been endangered by Mr Fribance's truck on Parsons Rd at Forest Glen on July 7, but it passed closer than the legal minimum distance.
The 67-year-old was charged after the cyclist made an online complaint to police which was supported by footage from a helmet-mounted camera.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Leonie Scott told the court that investigating police later measured the road lane at 3.7m and Mr Fribance's truck at 2.43m.
Under new laws introduced in April, vehicles must give cyclists at least 1.5m clearance on an 80kmh road like Parsons Rd.
Legal aid lawyer Michael Robinson told the court that the truck driven by Mr Fribance may have been only 22cm short of the legal distance away from the cyclist.
"I would like to say that this is ridiculous but he's been caught out by a technicality of the law," Mr Robinson said.
Faced with a $330 fine and the loss of three demerit points, Mr Fribance initially decided to contest the charge but reluctantly pleaded guilty after being advised he was unlikely to win.
Magistrate Annette Hennessy did not record a conviction and ordered no further punishment.
"The way that you drove your truck did not cause any interference to the bike rider. It was probably a technical matter," Ms Hennessy said.
Outside the court, Mr Fribance said he had been unable to remember even passing the cyclist when contacted by police about a week after the incident.
He said he would have had to steer the 10m tipper across double white lines on a blind hill to have given the cyclist more room.
"I just feel that the laws are leaning too much the cyclist's way," he said.
He has given away his job because driving is getting "too hard".
"There's a cop behind every tree and now everyone's got a camera," he said.
Mr Fribance said the cyclist had set off that morning "with a helmet on his camera and a chip on his shoulder".
"I hate the idea of him sitting down in the coffee shop sipping on a latte," he said.
CYCLIST: I DON'T WANT TO SEE DRIVERS GET BOOKED
THE head of a Sunshine Coast cycling club says he would prefer to see motorists made aware of minimum passing distances rather than cop fines.
Craig King, the president of the Sunshine Coast Cycling Club, which has about 200 members, many from a racing background, said new minimum passing laws introduced in April had made the roads safer for cyclists but the focus should be on awareness rather than enforcement.
MORE TO COME.
Do you think the truckie was driving too close?
This poll ended on 20 November 2014.
Yes, he was clearly in the wrong.
No, it looked safe enough to me.
I'm not sure.
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