Emma Way: #Bloodycyclists tweet driver 'cyber-bullied'

image captionEmma Way said the tweet rated "11 out of 10" on the stupidity scale

A motorist convicted of driving offences after tweeting about a collision with a cyclist says she has been cyber-bullied because of the post.

Emma Way, 22, from Norfolk, was found guilty at Norwich Magistrates' Court of failing to stop after a collision and failing to report an accident.

She was cleared of driving without due care and attention.

Way said that following the "stupid" #bloodycyclists tweet there had been lots of "malicious messages".

Magistrates heard that police only became aware of the collision on 19 May because Way, from Watton, tweeted "definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way - he doesn't even pay road tax!" using the hashtag #bloodycyclists.

Cyclist Toby Hockley, from Norwich, suffered bruising and minor damage to his bike in the incident near the village of Rockland All Saints, Norfolk.

Appearing on ITV's Daybreak programme earlier, Way said that she regretted the Twitter post but did not believe the collision was her fault.

She said: "I am 22, so not generalising on 22-year-olds sometimes you do just put things and it's not actually intended.

"I was quite angry at the mannerism of the cyclist on the road. My point of view is that he was on my side of the road - that's not the way you drive so I find that quite disrespectful."

image captionSimon Hockley, Way's solicitor, said he felt the tweet was "stupid"

'Tougher sentence'

CTC, the national cycling charity, said the collection of evidence around cycling incidents should be more "robust".

Rhia Weston, a road safety officer with the charity, said: "The only reason Emma Way was caught was because she tweeted about the incident, many other hit and runs end in no prosecution because police fail to trace the driver.

"Evidence collection needs to be much more robust if hit and run drivers are to be caught, prosecuted and convicted.

"CTC's Road Justice petition is calling on the police to better enforce road traffic law by thoroughly investigating all injury collisions."

Way, who said she did not receive a fee for the television appearance, was sacked from her job as a trainee accountant with Norwich-based Larking Gowen after the tweet.

The court heard she has now got a new job.

Magistrate Martin Cliffe fined Way £337 and ordered her to pay £300 in costs. He also ordered that seven penalty points be added to her licence.

Ms Weston said Way's sentence was "minimal" compared to "the maximum sentence the judges had at their disposal of £5000, six months custodial sentence, a discretionary driving ban and 10 penalty points".

"A tougher sentence would send a clearer message that disregard for other people's wellbeing on the roads is intolerable..."

Way previously described her tweet as her "biggest regret" and rated it "11 out of 10" on the stupidity scale.

She told Daybreak: "I lost my job in accountancy and I've received really malicious threats and stuff off people... cyberbullying and stuff, so it has been quite bad."

Way had about 200 Twitter followers when she sent the message and used to tweet daily.

She has since quit the social networking site.

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