Tayside and Central Scotland

Row over Stirling crossing after bus driver conviction

Craig Young Image copyright Tim Bugler
Image caption Craig Young was found guilty of careless driving

A bus driver who knocked down one of his own passengers on a zebra crossing, seconds after she got off, has been convicted of careless driving.

Stirling Sheriff Court heard that Craig Young drove his bus into Elizabeth Syme, 78, at five miles an hour.

The 49-year-old was fined £300 for his part in the incident at the "notorious" crossing in Stirling in October 2017.

After the court case, bus operator First Midland said it had "real safety concerns" about the crossing.

It blamed Stirling Council for alterations made to the crossing, close to a junction on Station Road, and it threatened to divert its services.

A council spokesman said it was investigating possible improvements to the crossing.

Stirling Sheriff Court heard that Mrs Syme was trapped under Young's vehicle in a "pool of blood" after being hit by the bus, but the wheels had not gone over her.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The zebra crossing is close to a junction on Station Road

Passers-by went to her aid and Young lay under the vehicle with her to comfort her while paramedics arrived.

She suffered a cut to her head that needed six stitches and three fractures to her left foot.

Mrs Syme spent over two weeks in hospital, and died at home a few weeks later. It was not alleged that her death was the result of the accident.

Sheriff Gilchrist said the road layout and blind spot created by a "bandit screen" contributed to the accident, but Young, of Alloa, should have been aware of them.

Finding Young guilty after a summary trial, the sheriff fined him £300 and endorsed his licence but he was not banned from driving.

'Near misses'

Speaking after the trial, First Midland's operations director David Philips said the firm accepted the decision of the court.

"However, the judgement only firms up our belief that there is a real safety concern at this particular crossing," he added.

"We are now reluctantly considering the removal of services through the Murray Place and Station Road intersections of Stirling city centre due to these on-going safety concerns as a result of changes made to that location by the council."

He said the crossing had become an "incident hot spot" with two serious recent incidents and "numerous near misses".

A Stirling Council spokesman said: "The council are aware of the incidents that have occurred at this location.

"We are currently investigating whether there are changes that can be made to improve the crossing through consultation with bus companies and local businesses."