A cyclist who was doored by a van driver, said to be using his phone at the time of the incident, has been awarded €30,000 in damages.
Anthony O’Flaherty, a 32-year-old soldier from Dublin, was cycling to work on 16 January 2019 when he collided with a van door which had suddenly been opened. O’Flaherty was flung from his bike onto the road, and suffered a fracture to his left wrist and abrasions to his right leg.
According to breakingnews.ie, the cyclist sued the van’s owner, Scotsman Robert Robertson, who O’Flaherty claimed was speaking on his phone when the door was opened.
Robertson, who had parked his Mercedes van fully on the footpath, allegedly approached the cyclist after the collision and said: “I didn’t see you. Are you okay?”
The Ayrshire native told the Dublin Circuit Court that he had not, in fact, been sitting in the van at the time of the collision, but instead had left the van’s front door and sliding door open as he stood outside. Robertson claimed that he only realised O’Flaherty had struck his van when he heard a noise.
Judge Terry O’Sullivan dismissed the motorist’s account and argued that if the door had been left ajar prior to the incident, O’Flaherty would not simply have cycled straight into it.
O’Sullivan said that the court accepted that an “emergency situation” had been created by Robertson suddenly opening the van door as the cyclist approached, and awarded O’Flaherty €30,000 in damages for his injuries.
“People are not entitled to suddenly open doors without first checking that all is clear,” the judge said.
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.