In January 2020, Chris was cycling home from work. This was a journey he had travelled over 100 times. He knew the route and was well equipped for the dark evenings wearing a high visiblity jacket and lights. Chris’s journey home took him across Crowwood roundabout, Stepps. On this particular evening, he was established on the roundabout when a car driver failed to give way and pulled out into his path. As a result, Chris collided with the driver’s door and sustained injury.
This seemed to be a straightforward case on liability, but from the outset, the driver’s insurers denied responsibility. Bizzarely, the driver stated that he had observed Chris on the roundabout, but that he thought he was far enough away to allow him to enter the roundabout safely. The driver claimed that he was half way round the roundabout when the collision occurred. It was agreed that the point of collision was the driver’s door.
We often see cases where drivers fail to observe cyclists on roundabouts or at junctions, but that was not the case here. The driver was admitting he had seen Chris established on the roundabout.
For this scenario to be true, Chris would have had to have gained distance on the motor vehicle, drawn level with it and then turned into its path, all whilst missing his planned exit!!
The case was swiftly raised in Airdrie Sheriff Court. In Civil cases, we are required to prove our case on balance of probabilities. So, which scenario was more probable?
- The driver had failed to consider Chris’s speed and pulled out into his path?
- Chris had accelerated onto the roundabout, drawn level with the car, missed his junction and then turned into the side of the vehicle, causing the collision?
Liability remained disputed throughout the process and the case went all the way to a Court hearing on 15th March 2021, 14 months after the collision.
Given the ongoing pandemic, all evidence was heard via video link. The driver’s wife had been in the vehicle at the time and therefore gave evidence corroborating her husband’s version of events.
In our submission to the Court, we made our position clear that the Defender’s version of events was entirely improbable. The evidence from the driver and his wife had been rehearsed and the Pursuer, Chris, ought to be believed.
The Sheriff agreed and found in favour of Chris, awarding him damages for the injuries he had sustained.
Chris was a regular cyclist who took every precaution to avoid collisions and conflicts on the road. Crucially, he knew his route and the Defenders could provide no basis as to why Chris would have missed his intended junction and collided with the vehicle in the manner they were stating.
It is only through taking the time to get to know our clients and take detailed statements, that we can best present their case in Court. We were able to paint the picture to the Court of a careful road user who understood his vulnerabilites as a cyclist and did not take unnecesary risks. The driver, on the other hand, refused to acknowledge that cyclists were vulnerable road users and should be provided extra care.
Chris was delighted with the Court outcome and the service he had received from Cycle Law Scotland commenting; “After a second time teaming up with Cycle Law Scotland, I would not hesitate to contact them for help again should another incident occur. Jodi was fantastic the whole way through and made sure the outcome was the right one, despite the complex nature of the case. Only good things to say about CLS!”