A man told police he had turned around to talk to his young son when he allegedly hit and killed cyclist Mark Spenceley at Clunes, a court has heard.
Daniel James Marlow, 32, appeared on the online Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Wednesday for a contested committal hearing.
He entered a plea of not guilty to dangerous driving causing death and was committed to stand trial in the County Court.
Additional charges of dangerous driving and careless driving were also uplifted to the County Court.
The accused braked late, either just before hitting the victim, or at the time of impact, and came to a skidding halt.Prosecution summary
Mr Spenceley, 59, was killed while cycling along Clunes-Creswick Road, around 900 metres south of Merrifield Road, at Clunes in the afternoon on March 24, 2019.
Marlow, who was living at Black Hill at the time of the incident, was charged with the three offences in November 2019.
The prosecution summary, obtained by The Courier, said Marlow allegedly hit Mr Spenceley as he was driving around a right-hand inclined bend.
"The victim was riding near to the left fog line... The accused braked late, either just before hitting the victim, or at the time of impact, and came to a skidding halt," the summary reads.
Marlow stopped immediately and called triple zero.
The summary reveals Marlow allegedly told police he was looking over his left shoulder or in the rearview mirror at his son while having a conversation about him being bullied at school and failed to see the cyclist.
Defence barrister Glenn Casement cross-examined four prosecution witnesses on Wednesday, including Helen and Paul Lanagan who were driving in a car in front of the accused, a collision reconstructionist and the police informant.
Mrs Lanagan said she was a passenger in a car about 500 metres ahead of Mr Spenceley when she looked in the side mirror and saw him hit by a car from behind.
"I saw a person being flung in the air like a ragdoll over the handlebars," she said.
"I couldn't believe my eyes."
Her husband Mr Lanagan was driving the car and said he saw his wife put her hands over her mouth in shock.
He said he looked in the rearview mirror to see the bicycle on the road, a four-wheel-drive had pulled over and someone walked in front of the car to assist the cyclist.
During defence questioning, Mr Lanagan said they had been driving from Clunes towards Creswick on a clear sunny day when they saw a cyclist in the distance and overtook him by moving onto the other side of the road.
Mr Lanagan said he remembered the cyclist was wearing a red shirt that stood out with CFA written on the back.
Mr Casement asked Mr and Mrs Lanagan if the cyclist had lights or reflectors on his bike.
Both said they did not notice lights or reflectors but could see him clearly from at least 100 metres away.
Collision reconstructionist Detective Sergeant Dr Jenelle Hardiman attended the scene of the incident and provided evidence to the court on Wednesday.
Dr Hardiman said she concluded from her analysis that Marlow was not speeding in excess of the 100km/h limit at the time of the collision.
She said she considered the road to be a standard width and in good condition and there was evidence at the scene of emergency braking with steering input from the right.
Mr Casement questioned Dr Hardiman extensively about her methodology and whether heavy rain after the incident affected her ability to draw reliable conclusions from tests at the site.
Dr Hardiman explained rain during skid tests when it was dry at the time of the incident could reduce the reliability of her conclusions, but her opinion was Marlow was most likely travelling between 96km/h and 99km/h when he first began braking.
In Dr Hardiman's summary of evidence, she said she was not able to conclude why Marlow collided with the cyclist.
In response to defence questioning, police informant Detective Leading Senior Constable Lucilla McCallum said Marlow had been cooperative with police at all times and became emotional during his record of interview.
Magistrate Noreen Toohey said she was satisfied there was evidence of sufficient weight to support a conviction and committed Marlow to stand trial in the County Court.
His bail was extended.
Mr Spenceley's family members attended the online hearing.
Mr Spenceley, from Creswick, was a CFA member, who had been in the service both as an employee and volunteer since 1982. He was also involved in the Creswick Football Club.
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