Paul Nodder, aged 37, chased and knocked over the rider who miraculously avoided serious injury
A BMW driver ran down a cyclist on a quiet country lane after a road rage clash, a court heard.
Angry Paul Nodder, aged 37, chased the rider in his car and deliberately knocked him from his bike at more than 20mph – causing cuts, bruises and severe grazing.
A judge told him it was “miraculous” victim Jeff Stevenson was not severely injured or even killed.
The keen cyclist had remonstrated with Nodder as his BMW came towards him in the middle of the unclassified road in the South Hams, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
The pair passed but Nodder doubled back and knocked Mr Stevenson from his £5,000 bike.
But Nodder walked free from court with a suspended sentence and unpaid work – though he will have to forfeit the BMW.
Judge James Townsend said: “This was a quite deliberate bad piece of driving committed on a cyclist, a vulnerable road user. He was put at substantial risk of being very seriously injured or worse.
“It was perhaps miraculous that he he survived with nasty but not severe injuries.”
Smartly-suited Nodder, who has learning difficulties, said from the dock: “I cannot apologise enough. It was a mistake and I regret every second of it. I am so sorry.”
Nodder, of Lynch Close, Turnchapel, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on an unclassified road between Holbeton and Noss Mayo on June 26 last year.
He also admitted leaving the scene of an injury accident.
Nigel Hall, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Princess Yachts carpenter Mr Stevenson was cycling home from the Coypool site.
He added that Nodder was driving his BMW in the opposite direction and came towards him in the middle of the narrow road.
Mr Hall said: “The defendant had his head down and was not looking where he was going.”
The barrister added that Mr Stevenson remonstrated with the driver to get him back on his side of the lane.
Mr Hall said that Nodder swerved violently back to the left and the vehicles went on their way.
He added that a short time later Mr Stevenson was knocked from his bike by an impact from behind.
The court heard that he saw the BMW and was able to take some of the registration – with others also seeing the plate.
Mr Hall said a witness saw a car coming up from behind and knocking the rider up in the air.
He added that the bike, a high-end machine worth £5,000, was fitted with a GPS machine which showed its speed going from 22.7mph down to zero at the moment of impact.
Mr Hall said that Nodder had a previous conviction and a road ban for driving without due care and attention in 2014.
He added that Mr Stevenson was taken to Derriford Hospital with widespread grazing and cuts and bruising. He was off work for several days.
Michael Green, for Nodder, said his client suffered from learning difficulties, anxiety disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He added that Nodder had suffered a breakdown several years ago.
The barrister said: “He feels terrible for the injuries he has caused. He will commit to any suspended sentence fully.”
Judge Townsend told Nodder there were two things keeping him out of prison. One was his lack of a serious previous conviction.
He added: “There is no doubt at all that you suffer particular difficulties which would make a prison sentence particularly difficult for you.”
Judge Townsend handed Stevenson an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 80 hours unpaid work. He must do 25 days of probation supervision and was banned from the road for 18 months.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of the BMW as it had been used in a crime.
He said that Mr Stevenson should seek compensation through Nodder’s insurers.