The lawyer who represented a time trialist recently awarded £55,000 following a collision with an oncoming 4x4 says that drivers have an enhanced duty of care towards vulnerable road users due to the increased damage they can cause.
Graeme Daly was involved in a collision with a 4x4 near Mawhill, Perth and Kinross, on August 23 2015, during a 10-mile time trial organised by Kinross Cycling Club.
He had been seeking £110,000 in a personal injury court, but was deemed to have been 50 per cent to blame for the incident.
David Heeps had been driving a Ford Explorer towing a large trailer and speed boat down a single track road. Daly was the third man in a time trial team coming in the opposite direction. The cyclists were close in to their side of the road, but there still wasn’t much space. Heeps didn’t slow or stop, and Daly was hit.
Daly said: "I was concentrating on staying on the back wheel of the guy in front and didn't look up as Heeps approached us, but all three of us were tight in to the verge at the time.
“I'm not sure what else I could have done that day. The vehicle appeared to be in the middle of the road and he acted like we weren't there. What was I supposed to do, ride into the hedgerows or jump off the bike at 20-odd miles per hour?
“I nearly got past, but the vertical guide bar at the back of the trailer smashed into my shoulder. When I first saw the truck approaching some distance away you couldn't see the trailer at the back anyway.”
Jim Herd, cycling claims specialist with Morton Fraser, the lawyers who represented Daly, said of Heeps: “He was found to be out from his side of the road. Despite this, the case was defended all the way to a full hearing of evidence lasting a week. Each road user was found to be equally to blame.”
Reflecting on the case, Herd added: "This case is about the competing responsibilities of motorists and cyclists. Both must take reasonable care for themselves and other road users, but the law recognises that a motorist has an enhanced duty of care towards more vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians because of the greater ‘causative potency’ or potential for serious injury of a larger vehicle versus smaller road users.”