A London cyclist says he was “lucky to walk away alive” after he was hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel following a night shift – but believes the motorist “got off rather lightly” since he was charged with careless rather than dangerous driving.
On a day when we reported on another attempt by a parliamentarian to introduce a new dangerous cycling law, this incident not only highlights where the chief source of danger on the roads comes from – motorists – but also how all too often vulnerable road users can feel let down by how such cases are dealt with through the legal system.
Indeed, it is now six years since the former coalition government under David Cameron promised a review into road traffic law, including how cases in which the victim is a cyclist or pedestrian are investigated, prosecuted and sentenced, but it was never concluded.
Footage of the incident, filmed on London’s Old Kent Road last March, has been posted to YouTube by a road.cc reader who gave us further details of what happened and how the case proceeded, but has asked to remain anonymous.
He said: “On March 19 last year a driver coming off a night shift fell asleep and crashed into me. It was captured by my Cycliq Fly 6 and 12, and by the rider behind me too, although his was obscured a bit by the rain.
“At the time the driver was apologetic and admitted what had happened, which he continued to do and pled guilty to the charges.”
He continued: “I finally found out the court result last week – fined £346, 7 points, £134 court costs.
“He was charged with driving without due care and attention. It took a lot of chasing of the police to get the information on their investigation, and I think it left a bit to be desired.
“It should have been a dangerous driving charge, but was too late to upgrade it when they reviewed the case after my challenge, and the court wouldn't let them change it at the hearing. (I wasn't there for that, so don't know exactly how that all played out). Feels like he got off pretty lightly.
“I was pretty lucky, all things considered. I can't talk about the injuries too much as I am still in discussion with his insurer, but the reply i left on the video to one user is a general summary. I'm not 100 per cent recovered yet.
“I got back on the bike a month later, and switched to ride on Q1 instead of Old Kent Road – in my view, that's a (relative) masterclass in how to make a good cycle route.”
He added: “Watch to the end too. There is a close pass in there just before from a Moldovan Audi driver illegally using the bus lane, when the white car appeared in my vision, I remember thinking, ‘Oh no, not another one today’ ... and then he hit me!”
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.