Case Study – Peter Williams

Peter Williams loved cycling. In fact, not only was cycling the primary form of exercise for him, but it was also a passion for both him and his family. Versed on the dangers of the road, being seen was always at the front of his mind but he never thought anything would actually happen to him, until he was driven into from behind by a car.

Road cycling is the principal exercise for my family and I. All my children and grandchildren participate in road cycling. My son raced in the Commonwealth games and won a bronze medal. It is a strong passion for my whole family.  

Following a career in the Police service I am well aware of the responsibility placed on the individual, Local Authority and Government in ensuring those using the public highway do so safely and responsibly. 

I am in my 70’s and I have cycled all my life. I completed on average 25 to 80 miles a week, all on public highways.  The need to be safe and be seen was always on my mind, wearing a white helmet, reflective jacket, a red flashing light to the rear and a white light to the front. I chose carefully when to ride, for example I would not go out during rush hour or cycle in the dark. I thought I had done everything I could to be seen and stay safe. 

On my last cycle ride I was returning home. The weather was fine, road surface dry, visibility excellent. I was driven into from behind by a car and knocked unconscious. I suffered a broken back, broken ribs, fractured scapula and pelvis. I was hospitalised for 15 days and it has taken months of physiotherapy and pain management to help my recovery. I have had to give up cycling due to the injuries received. 

I know a number of cyclists and we each have one thing in common – “It will never happen to me”. I despair at seeing cyclists wearing black clothing and some with no helmet. My helmet was destroyed in my accident, but saved my life. What frightened me more was the impact on my family. I now understand how worried my wife was whenever I rode out.  She understood the real danger from other road users and my accident validated these worries. The after care at home put an enormous strain on her health and wellbeing. She tended my needs 24 hours a day and additional help was brought in to help with the household chores. 

 My family still participate inroad cycling.  I remind them of the risks they undertake and they prepare as best they can. One grandson has given up cycling following my accident. My accident has had a serious impact on my family.  

My advice to cyclists would be to consider carefully their approach when on the highway and ensure helmets and high visibility clothing are always be worn. Strong flashing lights should be shown front and back.   

Drivers may not always understand the dynamics of cycling and seem unaware of the need to give adequate space when overtaking a cyclist. Drivers must be prepared to exercise patience when approaching a cyclist and lower their speed for the benefit of all road users. 

Any person driving or cycling has a moral and legal duty to ensure the safety of all road users. The injuries I sustained required me to consider what future burdens may fall on my family should I fail to recover fully. In this regard I consulted Redkite Solicitors and appraised them of my accident. Sophie Jenkins (Partner) of Redkite Solicitors provided an excellent overview as to my position with regard claiming against the driver. They were duly engaged and undertook the process diligently and efficiently.  

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