Family call on drivers to check eyesight after Andover cyclist killed by elderly motorist

Jim Tassell was knocked off his bike by a car driven by Peter Gardner, and died five days later in hospital. Credit: Hampshire Police

The family of a cyclist killed by an 82-year-old driver is calling on elderly motorists to check their eyesight to prevent other families suffering the "pain and devastation" they've endured.

Peter Gardner, of Bloswood Lane, Whitchurch, Hampshire, was driving a silver Vauxhall Vectra on the B3400 between Andover Down and Hurstbourne Priors in July last year when he collided with cyclist Jim Tassell from behind and knocked him off his bike.

Mr Tassell, 70, from Andover, was taken by air ambulance to Southampton General Hospital where he died five days later.

Gardner was jailed for six months at Salisbury Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing death by careless driving.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: "The court heard Gardner was only able to read a registration plate at three metres away, as opposed to the required 20 metres.

"In his sentencing remarks, the judge said Gardner must have known his eyesight was failing."

Following the sentencing, the Tassell family said in a statement: "We are pleased the judge imposed a custodial sentence as this gives us a small piece of justice.

"We hope this sentence acts as a warning to any elderly driver with poor eyesight to ensure they are medically and legally fit to drive."

Sergeant Spencer Wragg, of the Roads Policing Unit, said: "This was a tragic and completely avoidable death.

"If Peter Gardner had made sure he was safe to drive then this collision would not have happened, saving the Tassell family the pain and turmoil they have been through.

"All drivers, no matter their age, have a responsibility to ensure they are fit and healthy. By getting behind the wheel with poor eyesight, you are putting your own life and the lives of other innocent road users at risk."