12 January 2011
Harder Penalties for Drivers that Crash into Cyclists
Last week The Independent on Sunday called for tougher penalties for motorists who kill or seriously injure a cyclist. One of the examples cited was the case of Anthony Maynard.
I acted for Anthony Maynard’s parents in connection with a claim against the motorist who collided with Anthony. Anthony and his friend, David Ivory, were cycling on the outskirts of Henley when a motorist who was travelling in the same direction drove into the back of both cyclists. Anthony was killed instantly.The defence put forward by the motorist was that he was blinded by the sun.
This defence is all too frequently put forward by motorists in these circumstances. In my view, this defence is unacceptable. If a motorist is blinded by the sun this would only be temporarily. It is incumbent upon motorists to ensure that they adjust their speed to reflect driving conditions. In strong low sunlight motorists should make use of their sun visor and wear sunglasses.
I would agree with the comments made by campaigners that there should be much tougher penalties for motorists who kill and injure vulnerable road users. I would also agree that the Police and Crown Prosecution Service all too readily accept flimsy excuses which are put forward by motorists for seriously substandard driving. Paul Kitson is a partner in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker, and also head of the Personal Injury department. Paul specialises in cycling accident claims.
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