Gary McCourt was found guilty in April of causing the death of Audrey Fyfe by driving carelessly. The 75-year-old died two days after McCourt clipped the back wheel of her bike in Edinburgh in August 2011.
McCourt, 49, was banned from driving for five years and ordered to carry out 300 hours of community service by Sheriff James Scott. At the end of his trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, it emerged he was jailed for two years after being convicted in 1986 of causing another cyclist's death by reckless driving in 1985.
Prosecutors lodged an appeal on the grounds the sentence was not tough enough but at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh yesterday, Lord Menzies, sitting with Lady Smith and Lord Bracadale, refused the motion.
Mrs Fyfe's widower Ian said he was disgusted with the decision. He said: "I can't believe it. It sends out the wrong message to others, like the guilty, that the judiciary is not fit for purpose. It certainly wouldn't encourage me to get others to contemplate cycling when I see the attitude from the judges."
The couple's daughter, Aileen Brown, said she was lost for words. "There was a unanimous vote in Parliament earlier this month to strengthen the enforcement of road traffic law. The police here did an admirable job for us but the Scottish justice system appears to have had complete disregard for Government policy."
At an appeal hearing last month, Solicitor General Lesley Thomson argued McCourt should be sentenced to at least eight months' imprisonment and banned from driving for life.
But defence advocate Herbert Kerrigan, QC, said the sheriff had used his common sense and the sentence could not be criticised.
In a written opinion, Lord Menzies agreed with the trial sheriff "that Mrs Fyfe was not at all to blame for anything".
The opinion said: "We cannot disagree with the sheriff's categorisation of this as a momentary inattention, the result of which was a low-impact, low-speed collision with Mrs Fyfe's cycle.
"Despite the sheriff's error in treating the fact Mrs Fyfe was not wearing a cycle helmet as a mitigatory factor, we are unable to say the sentence of a community payback order with the maximum number of unpaid hours was unduly lenient."