A cyclist who suffered a “life-changing” brain injury after falling from his e-bike while riding in a protected cycle lane, hitting his head off a series of granite bollards, has sued Dublin City Council in a multi-million euro claim.
The action is believed to be one of the first personal injury claims before Ireland’s High Court relating to injuries sustained in an incident involving an e-bike, the Irish Examiner reports.
The High Court in Dublin was told this week that the claim is “very substantial” and that the special damages, including future care costs and loss of earnings, run to millions of euros.
The cyclist, who a judge has ruled cannot be named, suffered what has been described as a “catastrophic” brain injury after falling from his e-bike while riding in a cycle lane in the Irish capital’s city centre.
The man, who the court was told was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident, hit a kerb and struck his head off a series of granite cycle lane bollards or separators.
He has sued Dublin City Council and the cycle lane’s designer, AECOM Ireland, with Co. Kildare-based construction company Clonmel Enterprises, which carried out the work on the cycle lane, a third party to the proceedings.
In the case, which is scheduled to take place in May, it is claimed that the man suffered personal injuries, loss, and damage due to the defendants’ “negligence and breach of duty” in the maintenance, design, upkeep, and condition of the protected cycle lane.
The cyclist claims that his fall was caused by the design and layout of the bike lane and an adjacent pedestrian plaza, and that there was a failure on the part of the council and the lane’s designers to give “sufficient consideration” to the difficulties that could allegedly arise from the “intermingling” of cyclists and pedestrians at the location.
An uneven raised kerb of between 60 to 70mm in height was also allegedly permitted to feature as part of the cycle lane when, the man claims, the defendants should have known that it would present a hazard or danger to cyclists using the infrastructure.
It is also contended that there was a failure to install a “soft kerb”, of up to 50mm, which would have enabled cyclists to safely cross into the lane, or a standard kerb of between 100 to 150mm, which would have allegedly alerted cyclists to the dangers of traversing the kerb.
The claim states that the defendants failed to take any adequate measures to prevent or discourage cyclists from veering off the bike lane and into the “hidden danger” posed by the uneven kerb, or to take into account previous incidents involving cyclists in the area.
As a result of his injuries, it is claimed that the man is no longer able to live independently, work, or engage in his previous family and social activities.
The defendants have denied all the claims and filed full defences.
While the multi-million euro nature of this case is particularly noteworthy, there have been several instances of cyclists suing local authorities for negligence after crashes in recent months.
Last month, we reported that well-known 80-year-old Scottish racing cyclist John ‘Jocky’ Johnstone was awarded compensation after he crashed when he hit a pothole that South Lanarkshire District Council had failed to repair properly despite a number of complaints about the road defect.
And in September, a group of club cyclists who crashed on a road filled with loose gravel – leaving three members badly injured – sued Derbyshire County Council for the estimated £10,000 worth of equipment damage.
In the United States, the family of Gwen Inglis, the national Masters road race champion who was killed by a motorist driving under the influence of drink and drugs, were awarded a $353 million verdict in a landmark civil lawsuit against the driver in December.
“There is no amount of money that brings Gwen back. We’d all pay it if there were. But her legacy in part now can be saving other lives,” specialist cycling lawyer Megan Hottman said following the verdict.
“Part of this verdict is for punitive damages – damages meant to deter others from this conduct. Justice was served.”
However, in January we also reported that another cyclist in Dublin, who was injured after being struck by a hit-and-run lorry driver, had her compensation cut by 20 percent after a judge claimed that she contributed to her own injuries by failing to wear a helmet.
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.