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"If you're not paying attention you can seriously hurt someone": Cyclist whose back was broken by careless driver calls on road users to "be considerate"

"I just want to put a spotlight on the fact there are a lot of cyclists on the roads and drivers have to be aware"...

A cyclist whose group ride ended with him suffering a broken back after a careless driver hit him at a roundabout has appealed for drivers to "be aware" of cyclists and asked for all road users to "just be considerate" as "if you're not careful or paying attention then you can seriously hurt someone".

The comments come after Hamish Hutchinson — whose back was broken in the collision which left his bike damaged beyond repair — learnt that the driver responsible, Stuart Smillie, has been banned from driving for 20 months and ordered to observe an eight-week curfew having admitted causing serious injury by careless driving.

"I hope the driver reflects on what happened and if he gets back in the driving seat again he's more careful and considerate to other users," Mr Hutchinson, who still suffers physical pain from the impact, told the Daily Record.

"I hope that reading this story makes people more vigilant. The injury did cause, and is still causing, issues. I've still got pain in my back and I'm having physiotherapy." 

The 43-year-old was hit while on a group ride with friends last June, the collision happening at the Keir Roundabout in Dunblane, just a short distance from where many of the world's best professional riders descended on Stirling for the time trial events at the UCI Cycling World Championships later in the summer.

Mr Hutchinson was signalling his turning with his hand when Smillie hit him while driving at a speed of 15-20mph, the collision leaving him in severe pain for months afterwards and preventing him from enjoying his family life.

"I have an 11-year-old daughter, a seven-year-old son and a 20-month-old daughter and so at the time of the accident [collision] my daughter was just over one-year-old and I basically couldn't do what I'd normally do – I couldn't carry her, I couldn't pick her up," he continued.

"That didn't go back to normal for about three months after the accident and even now it's not quite the same. I still get a sore back when carrying her for long periods of time. 

"I'm not afraid to get back on my bike, but I don't know how I'm going to feel when I get back on my bike and on the road. I tell people what happened and everyone tells me how lucky I am, and that's true.

"I just want to put a spotlight on the fact there are a lot of cyclists on the roads and drivers have to be aware, all road users need to be aware of their surroundings. Just be considerate, because if you're not careful or paying attention then you can seriously hurt someone. This could have potentially been worse."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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5 comments

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ROOTminus1 | 2 months ago
4 likes

Mr Hutchinson is an extremely forgiving person, I am respectful of but still confused by his compassion.

The offender, Mr Smillie, will be inconvenienced by his 'punishment' for less than 2 years, whilst Hamish Hutchinson will likely be feeling the effects of his damaged back for years and years to come. I do hope Mr Hutchinson is collating the receipts for his continued physiotherapy so he can reclaim that expenditure, possibly in civil court.

I am slightly concerned that Mr Hutchinson's overly calm response to this incident (or collision, NOT an accident), as is his right to be, may be used as a straw-man argument by the motorist lobby (as a collection of vehicle-centric interested parties, not a card-carrying formal organisation nor secret cabal) that cyclists are angry and irrational, "why can't they all be like this guy?"

I respect his reserve, his noble intent, but in practicality it seems naïve or at least counterproductive

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brooksby | 2 months ago
3 likes

Make sure you're paying attention, riiight… 

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/you...

Quote:

Christopher Hardy, 65, hit Maria Clayton as he turned left at a junction in Mossley, Tameside. Ms Clayton, 85, had been shopping and was walking across the road when Hardy failed to ‘look in the direction he was travelling’ and had his view blocked by a ‘soft toy and an air freshener’ hanging from his rear view mirror.

Hardy was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years. [He] must also complete 150 hours unpaid work. He was banned from driving for two years.

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Hirsute replied to brooksby | 2 months ago
9 likes

He choose to hang things from a mirror which obscured his view and then uses this as a defence of why he didn't see her.

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ubercurmudgeon | 2 months ago
5 likes

Quote:

"I just want to put a spotlight on the fact there are a lot of cyclists on the roads and drivers have to be aware, all road users need to be aware of their surroundings. Just be considerate, because if you're not careful or paying attention then you can seriously hurt someone. This could have potentially been worse."

Just off the top of my head, those are things that a lot of people would like to go through their lives avoiding having to do. No wonder a certain section of motorists hate cyclists, if they think our mere presence on the roads is a barrier to their ideal of obliviousness, thoughtlessness, carelessness, absent-mindedness, and not having to face consequences for being those things.

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Secret_squirrel | 2 months ago
2 likes

The curfew is a bit odd/unusual.  Scottish Justice justice I guess.  I wonder if his licence to consume buckys was revoked too?

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