A CYCLIST left badly injured on the A82 has been given a six-figure insurance payout – while the driver who smashed into him has been banned for just 18 months.

Andrew Whittaker needed emergency surgery for a back injury after a Toyota Hilux pickup, with Luss shepherd James Campbell at the wheel, ploughed into him between Balloch and Dumbarton.

Campbell, 28, pleaded guilty last month to causing severe injury and permanent impairment by dangerous driving.

He returned to Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week in a case he said had cost him the things he most valued in life.

But he was banned from driving for just 18 months, despite the severity of the charge.

READ MORE: Luss shepherd left cyclist badly hurt after horror smash on A82

The court heard Campbell had no previous convictions and had driven since the crash in March 2017 – for 31 months – without incident.

Campbell’s defence solicitor said: “His father has confirmed to me The insurance figure was settled – a six-figure sum. Were this incident not so serious, the [social work] report is entirely commendable.”

The resident of Glen Luss hires himself out as a driver to other farmers. Sheriff Maxwell Hendry noted the report said Campbell had lost most of what he valued in life – his job, his dogs and his relationship.

The sheriff told Campbell: “You’re 28 years old, no previous convictions, a good member of the community and, in a matter of seconds, everything changes.

“You fell massively below the level of a careful driver. You simply drove into him from the rear. In other situations I would have to be thinking whether custody was appropriate.”

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Instead, Campbell was ordered to do 210 hours of unpaid work and was disqualified from driving for 18 months – after which he will have to re-sit his driving test.

At the hearing last month, the court was told how Campbell failed to keep a proper lookout and drove into Mr Whittaker, knocking him off the bike.

The case had been delayed by difficulties getting information on the extent of Mr Whittaker’s injuries.

A witness who was driving north on the same stretch of the A82 at around 6.50pm on March 23, 2017, saw the Toyota on the inside lane of the southbound carriageway, between the Stoneymollan and Lomondgate roundabouts, with the cyclist 300 yards ahead of him.

The witness slowed to allow Campbell to pull out safely to pass Mr Whittaker – but instead Campbell struck the cyclist almost dead centre, throwing Mr Whittaker off his bike and on to the road.

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Mr Whittaker was left bleeding from a head injury and suffering back pain.

He was rushed to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and then to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow for surgery.

He was off work for almost eight months and returned in November 2017, but he was only capable of carrying out light duties.

Campbell had faced a charge of endangering life and causing permanent disfigurement, but the Crown accepted a plea of guilty to the slightly less serious charge.

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