Young driver who killed cyclist after sending texts avoids jail
As she drove, she continued to text her boyfriend, including 68 seconds before she crashed into Mr Lowndes as she rounded a bend on Sedgwick Road at Mandurang, near Bendigo.
The 23-year-old cyclist, who had competed in Europe, was flown to hospital but died later that day.
Both the prosecution and defence accepted Rodda had not been using her phone in the moments immediately before the crash and would have only had between 2.2 and four seconds to see him.
“You said you had no time to react and indeed you did not brake or steer away before the collision,” Judge Wendy Wilmoth said.
“There were no warning signs as to the likely presence of cyclists and there was no dedicated bike lane nor any opportunity for either Mr Lowndes or you to veer left.”
The judge noted Rodda’s moral culpability was low as she was not speeding, on drugs or alcohol, or fatigued at the time of the crash.
The P-plater had no criminal history or record of traffic infringements.
“Even momentary inattention can have tragic results leading in turn to serious punishment,” Judge Wilmoth said.
Statements read to the court by Mr Lowndes’ parents, sister and partner at an earlier hearing described him as a treasured member of his family and the cycling community.
“They are very proud of his achievements as a champion cyclist who had been ranked 6th in the world championships in the under-23 category and more importantly, as a cherished son, brother and partner,” Judge Wilmoth said.
“The grief has been profound and each of their lives has been changed forever.”
Rodda has been banned from driving for three years and will be required to undertake 200 hours of unpaid community work as part of her sentence.
She was also fined $2000 for texting while driving.