The mother of a Manawatu woman killed on her bike is dismayed the car driver who knocked her down has lost his licence for only 10 months.

"It shows life is not worth much," Mary Murrow said of the sentence handed down yesterday to Christopher David McClelland, which also requires him to perform 175 hours of community work, but included no fine.

The 45-year-old Marton man earlier pleaded guilty in Feilding District Court to careless driving causing the death of Patricia Anne-Veronica Fraser, 35, a mother of four of Longburn, near Palmerston North, on November 13.

Mrs Murrow said she did not believe McClelland should have been jailed. "But I don't think he should be allowed on the road so soon."

She said the defendant, a kitchen-hand at the Ohakea air force base, admitted having seen her daughter and a female companion cyclist from 300m away as the pair were pedalling in the same direction as him near Sanson on a training ride for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

"He didn't concentrate and the vehicle just veered into her lane."

Mrs Murrow said the judge seemed to have overlooked four victim impact statements and taken pity on McClelland after hearing about his work for youth in the community.

"But he still didn't drive properly."

Her daughter's death had left her son-in-law Joe to look after the couple's children aged 5, 8, 10 and 13.

"The other annoying thing is that he can apply for a licence to get back on the road to drive to work," Mrs Murrow said of McClelland.

She understood the maximum disqualification period for the charge was 12 months, "so the law is stink".

"There needs to be a law change.

"There's no fine or anything - no hardship for him," she said of McClelland's sentence. "They said he is not a man of means."

Mr Fraser was taking his wife's death and yesterday's sentencing hard, she said.

But he completed the Taupo race on her behalf and led a tribute ride in her memory in Palmerston North in January on a white-painted bike which he was negotiating with a farmer to install on a verge beside the accident site.

Mrs Fraser died on the same day that three cyclists were fatally injured in a crash with a car near Morrinsville, in the Waikato.

The 23-year-old motorist, Kirsty King, was sentenced last month to 300 hours of community work and disqualified for 12 months. Unlike McClelland, she was also fined $10,000 on each of three charges of careless driving causing death.

A fifth cyclist - 27-year-old British visitor Jane Mary Bishop - was killed when she tried to avoid an opening car door on Tamaki Drive just three days after the two other fatal crashes.

Suzanne Charles, organiser of the Velo Girls cycling team in Palmerston North, agreed last night that McClelland's sentence was inadequate, especially compared with King's fines and a jail term of 2 years imposed on a young hunter for the accidental fatal shooting of teacher Rosemary Ives at a Turangi camp site last year.

Mrs Fraser's cycling companion, Tania Malaquin, said last night that she had sold her bike gear since the crash. "You can't see what I saw and do it again," she said. "I just want to stop when I pass cyclists and say: Don't do it, it's not worth the risk."

She said the pair had been best friends for about five years - as were all their children - and were training about four times a week for what was to have been their first ride around Lake Taupo. She was riding no more than about 1m ahead of Mrs Fraser, well to the left on a relatively straight stretch of road, when she heard a loud bang "and as I turned my head to the right, she was flying past me".

Mrs Malaquin did not believe the sentence fitted the crime. "My initial reaction was that it was a bit insulting, that an amazing life has been lost and all he gets is a little sentence."