Mary Bowers, the Times journalist who inspired the newspaper’s Cities Fit for Cycling campaign after she was crushed by a lorry as she rode her bike to work in November 2011, has been awarded a seven-figure sum in compensation.
The money will pay for the round-the-clock care that the 31-year-old, who sustained severe injuries in the crash and suffered brain damage while she was in a coma, will need for the rest of her life, reports the Times.
In December 2012, tipper truck driver Petre Beiu was cleared of dangerous driving but convicted of careless driving in connection with the incident, which happened close to the newspaper’s then headquarters in Wapping.
The court was told that he had lied to police officers about being on a hands-free phone which had led to him being distracted as he ran over Ms Bowers as he turned left while she waited at a junction.
Beiu, who was banned from driving for eight months and also fined £2,700, had failed to engage the lorry’s handbrake and as a result the vehicle rolled back over Miss Bowers, who suffered severe injuries to her arms, chest, legs and pelvis.
She is now in a care home where she is in a “minimally conscious” state.
The settlement, confirmed at the High Court in London yesterday, will see Allianz, insurers of Lynch Haulage, the company Beiu was driving for, pay a seven-figure sum to meet her care costs.
Her father, Peter Bowers, said: “The impact of her injuries has been devastating. Her career was flourishing and she had her whole life ahead of her.
“I can take consolation from the fact that this award will cover her care needs for the rest of her life ... Safety on the UK’s roads needs to be made a priority.”
In February 2012, the Times launched its Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, highlighting what had happened to Miss Bowers and publishing an eight-point manifesto.
The effect was to move the issue of the safety of cyclists into the mainstream, leading to a debate in Parliament, which was followed by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s Get Britain Cycling enquiry.
While a recent survey from Sustrans found overwhelming public support for more money to be spent on cycling, there are fears that the forthcoming spending review will not set aside money for the Cycling & Walking Strategy the government is required to draw up under the Infrastructure Act.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.