Man who hit and killed cyclist guilty of careless driving
Justice of the peace says Guy McPhee should have paid better attention
Hamilton real estate broker Guy McPhee has been found guilty of careless driving in the death of cyclist Jay Keddy.
The teacher at Prince of Wales school was biking up the Claremont Access on his way home from work when he was struck and killed by McPhee’s black pickup truck on Dec. 2, 2015.
While delivering her verdict Friday, justice of the peace Eileen Walker said she accepted McPhee’s testimony that he did not see Keddy cycling in the curb lane around 5:30 p.m. that evening.
“But the crux of … this case is why didn’t he see Jay Keddy?” she asked court Friday.
Based on witness testimony in the four-day trial, the visibility was clear that evening despite the sun having set around 4:45 p.m., Walker said.
McPhee was on his way home when he drove up the Mountain access road, which was down to one lane due to construction in a stretch just before where he struck Keddy.
Court heard McPhee was focused on changing out of the curb lane to take the West 5th exit — looking in his driver’s side mirror, doing a shoulder check — when he hit something.
“He does not see Jay Keddy then he hears a bang,” Walker said.
The 57-year-old pulled over and got out of his truck. He testified he saw papers floating in the headlights but could not see what he had hit. No other vehicles had pulled over, Walker said.
Court heard Keddy, 53, had been wearing a green helmet, red hat, brown coat, black gloves and shoes and blue jeans. He was carrying a messenger bag and a lunch bag, and had lights and reflectors on his black bike.
Keddy, who was pronounced dead on scene, had a wife and three grown children.
His death became a rallying point for cycling and safe-street activists demanding more bike lanes. There are no bike lanes on the Claremont Access.
“One does not expect a cyclist on a busy access where there are no bike lanes,” Walker said, but added McPhee still should have been alert to the possibility.
Walker told court police said McPhee had been travelling between 49 and 59 km/h in a stretch where the posted limit is 70 km/h when he hit Keddy. After stopping for about 30 seconds or so in a live lane of traffic following the collision, McPhee got back into his truck, called his wife using Bluetooth and drove home. There, he called police to tell them he’d hit something.
Court heard McPhee also called his auto body shop to make an appointment to take his truck in the next day after seeing the “significant” damage.
It wasn’t until he was driving down the access to pick up his daughter later that evening that McPhee saw paramedics on scene and knew he might have hit someone, Walker said. He called police again, and when he got home, he was arrested.
Under the Highway Traffic Act, careless driving is described as driving “without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway.”
A conviction comes with a fine of between $400 and $2,000 and possibly a licence suspension of up to two years. It could also call for as many as six months in jail.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 8.
Cyclist Jay Keddy was a teacher.