A LORRY driver has gone on trial accused of killing a cyclist by driving carelessly on the A19.

Paul Dove is alleged to have driven his Mercedes Actros lorry into the back of a Raleigh bike ridden by Christopher Griffiths.

Teesside Crown Court heard that 50-year-old Mr Griffiths, from Wynyard, was killed as he rode south near Billingham.

Prosecutor Paul Cleasby said there were no witnesses to the impact, other than 54-year-old trucker Mr Dove, from Sunderland.

“He was for saying the cyclist was stood beside his bike,” Mr Cleasby said.

“Other witnesses who saw Mr Griffiths just before the impact say he was riding.

“The impact was to the front nearside of the Mercedes articulated lorry.

"The Crown say Mr Dove would have had a good view of the cyclist, and had he been driving in a competent manner no collision would have occurred.”

The jury heard from other drivers who passed Mr Griffiths safely, although several witnesses said they thought it was not safe to cycle along that stretch of road.

Alan Smurthwaite, who passed Mr Griffiths as he drove to work in Middlesbrough from his home in Houghton, Wearside, said: “The cyclist’s high visibility jacket caught my eye, although I do not believe the bike was showing any rear light.

“I did see what I now believe to be the matchbox-sized reflector on the back of the bike."

he added: “At the time I said anyone riding a bike on that stretch of road in the dark must be suicidal.

"I regret using that term now, but it was certainly a hazardous thing to do."

Mr Dove, of Aldwych Square, Sunderland, denies causing death by careless driving on January 23, last year, and faces a trial expected to last three or four days.