Worker loses QAL job after close call with cyclist

A GLADSTONE man was fired from his crane-driving job when a cyclist reported him for driving too closely on QAL Access Rd.

Patrick Hugh Harrington lost his job after he drove his crane within one metre of a cyclist in the early hours on June 11, a court was told.

Harrington pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court on Tuesday to one count of failing to keep a safe distance when passing a bicycle rider.

The court was told about 5.40am that morning he was driving a crane along the two-way road near South Trees.

The court was told he "exited the traffic lane and veered towards" the cyclist travelling in the same direction.

Harrington was less than one metre from the cyclist when he "drove back onto the road".

The cyclist had cameras on the front and rear of his bike and the matter was reported to police.

Defence lawyer Bianca Hight her client's offending was not "intentional", and he didn't see the cyclist until "the very last moment".

Ms Hight said Harrington had low visibility in the crane he was driving and was driving "well below the speed limit".

"Upon noticing the cyclist, he tried to get as far away from him as he could but there was an island on the other side," Ms Hight said.

"He is a cyclist himself and understands the serious nature (of the offending)."

Ms Hight said Harrington lost his QAL and Rio Tinto employment as a result of the incident.

"He is 53, has always lived here in Gladstone and has been a truck driver and crane operator for 30 years," Ms Hight said.

Magistrate Dennis Kinsella said it was "unfortunate" Harrington lost his job.

Mr Kinsella said it was clear the offending was not deliberate, but a "misjudgement".

Harrington was fined $391 for the offence.



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