A judge has cut the damages awarded to a cyclist, who was injured after being struck by a hit-and-run lorry driver, by 20 percent after claiming that she contributed to her own injuries by failing to wear a helmet.
Yesterday, Judge Colin Daly awarded Raissa Lopes De Andrade Aquino damages of €20,000, but reduced her compensation by €4,000 on the basis of “contributory negligence”.
The 22-year-old was cycling in Dublin on 26 July 2018 when she lost control of her bike after the driver of a heavy sand truck veered to their left near a set of traffic lights and hit her right shoulder, the Irish Times reports.
Ms Lopes, a waitress in the Irish capital, suffered a head injury in the crash, which caused concussion, as well as soft tissue injuries to her face, shoulder, and arm.
She was taken by ambulance to the Mater Hospital, where she spent four hours awaiting treatment, and was kept under observation for a further seven hours due to her head injury.
The motorist did not stop at the scene of the crash and could not be traced.
> Victim blaming? Headline suggests helmet would have saved the life of man killed by van
Following the incident, Ms Lopes took a case against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland, which provides compensation for victims of road traffic collisions involving uninsured or untraced drivers.
On Tuesday, Judge Daly told Dublin Circuit Civil Court that he found the cyclist’s details of what happened on the day of the crash to be consistent and reliable, and that she had given an honest account of how she had sustained her injuries.
However, the judge reduced Ms Lopes’ damages award by 20 percent to €16,000 because she was not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision which, he said, would have minimised her injuries.
According to Daly, by failing to wear “proper protection”, the 22-year-old had contributed to the extent of her injuries.
As evidenced by the judge’s remarks, the debate surrounding helmets – and the extent of their protection in the case of a serious road traffic collision – shows no signs of being resolved.
> Only five cycle helmets available in the UK get recommended status in new safety testing
In 2019, around the same time WalesOnline published a headline suggesting that a helmet could have saved the life of a 71-year-old cyclist who was killed after being struck by a van driver, Cycling UK released a statement which argued that “there is no justification for making helmet-wearing compulsory”.
“There are serious doubts about the effectiveness of helmets,” the charity said. “They are, and can only be, designed to withstand minor knocks and falls, not serious traffic collisions.
“Some evidence suggests they may in fact increase the risk of cyclists having falls or collisions in the first place, or suffering neck injuries.”
> Government shuts down mandatory cycling helmets question from Conservative MP
Last month, the Department for Transport insisted that the government has “no intention” to make wearing a helmet while cycling a legal requirement in the UK.
Addressing a written question from fellow Conservative MP Mark Pritchard, the minister of state for the department Jesse Norman said that the matter had been considered “at length” during the government’s cycling and walking safety review in 2018.
Norman also added that while the Department for Transport “recommends that cyclists wear helmets”, the “safety benefits of mandating cycle helmets are likely to be outweighed by the fact that this would put some people off cycling”.
Presumably they'll just issue warning letters to the cyclists who endanger pedestrians, and for others they will do nothing for several weeks and...
Then you can use your car for that, and be very happy that getting places is loads quicker for you because other people are able to walk, resulting...
Ideas flow both ways....
Ah, that explains your posts this morning. You do know this site is cycling as in bicycles, not *motorcycles*?
I have a long driveway at work, with a 15 MPH speed limit and a radar display. I use second gear to help keep my speed down on the occasional day I...
Causing death by careless driving, but with a failure to provide a specimen, bumped it up to a potential 14 years maximum under the rules at the...
What did you expect in London?...
maybe he'd read Jezzas latest opinion piece for the Sun at the weekend https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/21831230/bike-sales-down-good-sick-of-two-...
I'm not sure but in another article it says...