A MINIBUS driver has been cleared of causing the death of a cyclist on a busy dual carriageway.

Father-of-two David Irving, 48, from Wimborne, died at the scene of the accident on Mountbatten Way in Southampton on the morning of December 17, 2012.

Driver Steven Petterson claimed bright sunlight causing a glare on the wet road meant he did not see the cyclist.

A jury found the 38-year-old driver, from Waterhouse Lane in Southampton, not guilty of causing death by careless driving after an eight-day trial at Southampton Crown Court.

One of Mr Irving’s sisters sobbed in the public gallery as their verdict was read out.

Outside the court, his older brother Nick, 56, said: “David was a healthy and active person.

“He was a loved and dedicated father to two teenage daughters.

“He was a very keen cyclist and was very sporty, competent and fit and is missed by all the family.”

The IT consultant fell from his red Giant bike after he was in collision with the youth worker’s white Ford Transit minibus.

Moments later he was run over by a Mercedes and died at the scene from multiple head and body injuries.

Mr Petterson claimed bright sunlight prevented him from seeing the rider – who was wearing a high visibility jacket, an LED anklet and lights on his bike.

Barrister Mark Florida-James, for Mr Petterson, said outside court: “This case is very tragic.

“There are no winners or losers.

“Mr Petterson is very sorry for what has happened and it just shows how hazardous driving is.”

The driver – who was on his way to pick up his step-daughter and take her to school – heard a bang after joining the carriageway from Waterhouse Lane.

His wing mirror snapped against the side of his vehicle and he pulled into a layby.

He recalled seeing a flash of red, assumed he had hit a bus stop post and called his father, who lives nearby, to investigate.

He made a panic-stricken 999 call after realising there had been an accident, admitting he had hit someone.

After being arrested, he told police he was driving within the speed limit but had been blinded by the low sun, despite wearing prescription sunglasses and having his sun visor down.

Mr Irving had driven from his home to Totton, before continuing to Southampton city centre by bike.

Complex and detailed investigation

Senior investigating officer Sergeant Rob Heard, of Hampshire Constabulary, said it had been a “complex, extremely thorough and detailed investigation”.

He added: “The case highlights that motorists need to be aware of the possible presence of cyclists on our roads and ensure they pass them giving plenty of room.

“This case focussed on the low winter sun on the morning of the collision and how at times it had made the view ahead difficult to see for some depending on where you were on the road leading up to the collision location.

“David Irving was cycling legally on the road and was there to be seen. He had been seen by numerous motorists that day.

“The case rested on the jury identifying why the driver failed to see Mr Irving and by failing to see him if this was careless or not.”