I was riding my bike along a country road, not going fast, just normal riding, when I came round a blind bend. In the road was a hedge cutter mounted on a tractor, which was actually on the bend. I decided against braking, rolled off the throttle and rode round the tractor – and in front of me was a cyclist on a mountain bike, heading straight towards me, riding flat out, who I clipped with my bike. I fell off my bike and had some minor injuries.
The cyclist’s hand was quite badly damaged. The police have nicked me for driving without due care and my Insurers want to pay out the cyclist in full, but I’m not sure I have been treated fairly. The cyclist was listening to his iPod and wasn’t wearing a helmet. Also, he was in the middle of his road, not tucked to the left like he should have been – if he had been, I don’t think I’d have hit him.
He was also abusive to me, which the police don’t seem to have taken into account.
Right, lets deal with this point by point. You need to ride so you can take into account foreseeable hazards. On a country road you can expect country things, like tractors and hedge cutters. So you should have been riding to take these into account.
Secondly, you went into a piece of road that you could not see to be clear. Even if the cyclist was going flat out, he wouldn’t have been going at more than 30mph in a 60mph zone. So you are riding without due care.
The cyclist is entitled to use all of his carriageway – and it seems to me that you have made the same error as car drivers make all the time. You missed the guy on his push bike because you didn’t look properly – or at all.
As to him being a bit abusive, whilst not brilliant (and getting abusive can turn witnesses against even an innocent person) he had just broken a number of bones in his hand.
His iPod and lack of helmet had no causative effect on his Injuries, so are irrelevant. If you had given the poor bloke a head injury, then you might have been able to argue he had contributed to his own harm by some 20 percent.
However, as a matter of both civil and criminal law, you’re nicked.
Fast Bikes November 2013