14th May 2014
A road traffic accident involving a group of cyclists and two cars could see a motor accident compensation claim made after the driver responsible for the incident was fined.
Carlisle magistrates' court heard that 64-year-old Derek Johnstone was attempting to overtake the group from the Border City Wheelers club whilst they travelled alone a road linking Carlisle and Gretna.
However, Mr Johnstone failed to see the Citroen Saxo of David Beeby coming in the opposite direction, forcing the on-coming car to take evasive action. Mr Beeby's ensuing emergency stop caused his car to skid out of control into the group on the opposite side of the road and result in the cycling accident.
Errainne Lawrence was a passenger in the Saxo and told the court that "it all went really fast… when [David] hit the brakes, the back of the car swung out," hitting the cyclists and the barrier in the process, writing off the car.
Mr Johnstone's defence claimed that he wasn't attempting to overtake, but had just moved his car out slightly to see if he could get past. This version of events was contradicted by the driver travelling behind Mr Johnstone's Rover 25.
The most seriously injured of the cyclists was dentist Peter Priestley from Carlisle, who may have cause to make a motor accident compensation claim, not only for his injuries but to compensate him for a loss of earnings as he needed to close his practice whilst he recovered.
Peter has no recollection of the incident last July and had to be taken from the scene by helicopter wit ha shattered left hip, which needed replacing. Of Mr Johnstone's £225 fine, Peter remarked that "it's good to finally understand what happened and it should be another step in the process of moving on with [the group's] lives."
Provisional stats from the Department for Transport (DfT) show the cycling accidents are on the rise, with a three per cent increase in 2010 compared to the year before and a 10 per cent rise compared to 2007. According to Edmund King, the president of the AA, the figures are going up as more people take to their bikes as petrol prices keep increasing.
After motorcyclists, pedal cyclists are the second most at-risk group of road users, whilst compared to car users, cyclists are ten times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident.