NSW cyclist hater jailed for manslaughter

Lisa Robinson
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NSW cyclist hater jailed for manslaughter

A motorbike rider with a hatred of cyclists has been jailed for killing a man he left "dying on the side of the road like a piece of garbage."

Ben Smith, 27, was jailed for at least five-and-a-half years for the manslaughter of Steven Jarvie, 62, who suffered fatal head injuries when he came off his bike as Smith sped past him on the Old Pacific Highway at Cowan, north of Sydney, on February 17, 2013.

"The c*** f***ing deserved it" because he'd been in the middle of the road, Smith told another cyclist who confronted him for not stopping to help.

At Smith's sentencing in the Penrith District Court on Monday Judge Mark Buscombe said he "had a strong dislike verging on hatred for cyclists."

In 2012, Smith commented "start paying for using the road or keep copping abuse and 2inch (sic) flybys" on a Facebook post of a bumper sticker indicating drivers should give cyclists a one-and-a-half metre gap when overtaking.

On the day he came into contact with Mr Jarvie, Smith had yelled abuse at "a f***ing idiot" cyclist and said pushbike riders shouldn't be on the road.

One of the three experienced cyclists riding with Mr Jarvie that morning said Smith and his father appeared to be racing as they as they overtook the single-file quartet on the winding road.

Judge Buscombe found the offender was speeding, "driving in a manner that was grossly negligent" and had "failed to keep a safe distance from Mr Jarvie."

But he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Smith deliberately drove too close to Mr Jarvie because of his hatred of cyclists.

The court heard Smith had previously been caught speeding and drink-driving and was on bail and a good behaviour bond at the time of the offence.

His young age and reasonable prospects of rehabilitation were taken into consideration when Judge Buscombe sentenced him to eight years in jail with a non-parole period of five-and-a-half years.

Smith hugged and kissed teary family members as he was led to the cells.

Outside court, Mr Jarvie's partner Linda Ellis said she feels immense and absolute relief.

"It sends a really, really good message to all the Ben Smiths out there ... that there are consequences," she said.

"They can't just do what they like and leave someone dying on the side of the road like a piece of garbage."

Smith will be eligible for parole in December 2022.