Abusive driver didn’t know cyclists were off-duty gardaí

A motorist drove behind two cyclists, beeped at them, shouted that "fucking cyclists were taking over the road", threatened that he would roll over them next time, and drove off with a single-finger gesture out the window — not realising that the cyclists were two off-duty gardaí.

James O’Shea disputed the evidence given against him yesterday at Cork District Court on a careless driving charge.

At the end of the evidence of the first witness, cyclist and off-duty sergeant Ger O’Callaghan, O’Shea said: “I disagree with everything he said. The only thing the guard said that is true is the location.”

The incident happened at Doughcloyne Hill, which extends out from Togher Rd in Cork City, after 6pm on July 3 last year.

Sgt O’Callaghan said he was out for a cycle with Gda Michael Collins when both of them were off duty.

“I had my right hand extended to turn right,” Sgt O’Callaghan said. “Just before the junction I heard the car. He shouted out the window to us: ‘Ye fucking cyclists all over the road.’ I heard Garda Collins saying: ‘Can you not see we are turning right?’ ”

The off-duty sergeant heard O’Shea, aged 33, of 21 Heartherton Park, South Douglas Rd, Cork, shout something to the effect that he would run them over the next time and gestured out the window with his arm extended and his finger up.

Sgt O’Callaghan said the car slightly touched his leg as it passed on the turn. Garda Collins corroborated this evidence.

O’Shea said he knew the road well, that the cyclists were cycling and chatting to each other two abreast, and that he drove behind them for a while, then beeped to let them know he was behind them. He said one of them leaned aggressively towards his window and he said he was afraid the cyclist was going to punch him.

“The last thing I would do is hit anyone with my car, I was driving at five miles per hour. I couldn’t have been any more careful,” he said.

Judge Olann Kelleher convicted him of careless driving and fined him €300 at Cork District Court.

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