Serious Injury Experts Call On Government To Do More To Educate About Road Safety

Lorry Driver Found Guilty Of Careless Driving After Seriously Injuring Cyclist When Distracted By Mobile Phone

14.12.2012

Serious Injury experts acting on behalf of the family of a journalist who suffered devastating injuries when she was knocked her off her bicycle by a lorry have today (14 December) urged the government to do more to teach motorists and cyclists how to share the road safely after the driver was found guilty of careless driving.

Mary Bowers, 28, is only minimally conscious, still in hospital and requires 24-hour care in a specialist rehabilitation unit after she became trapped under the wheels of a four-tonne lorry as she was cycling to work in November last year. She suffered a severe brain injury as well as multiple fractures.

Today a jury found truck driver Petre Beiu guilty of careless driving following a five day trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court. The court heard how he was distracted as he was providing directions to a colleague on his hands-free mobile phone when he knocked Mary from her bike and then forgot to put his handbrake on when she became trapped under the wheels.

Mary’s devoted father, Peter, and step-mother, Elizabeth, have instructed serious injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to help gain access to the funds Mary now needs for the lifelong care, rehabilitation and support that will give her the best quality of life possible.

Alison Eddy, Partner and Head of the serious injury team at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, is representing the family. She said: “Mary suffered devastating injuries because the lorry driver did not have his full attention on the road and her family understandably find that very hard to come to terms with.

“Whilst they are relieved that the driver has been found accountable and brought to justice in the criminal courts today, Mary still has a long battle in front of her to regain some quality of life.

“Now the court proceedings have finished we can move her case forward and work with the lorry company’s insurers to help her gain access to funds that will pay for vital care, rehabilitation, house adaptations and support services.

Eddy added: “We have repeatedly called for better education among all road users on how to share the road safely and Mary’s case is a devastating example of the consequences of drivers becoming distracted.

“She was wearing a helmet, clearly visible, remained within a designated cycle path and then moved into the cyclist stopping box, but it was sadly not enough to save her from suffering horrific injuries.

“What is clear from this case is that drivers may not be aware of the numerous hazards and risks when driving through London, one of the busiest cities in the world.

“We continue to be contacted by cyclists or their heartbroken families who have been injured, through no fault of their own. It is positive people are encouraged to cycle to keep fit and reduce pollution, but for everyone to share the road safely, more needs to be done to educate all roads users on the potential dangers of becoming distracted or driving carelessly to prevent further unnecessary tragedies.”

Peter Bowers said: “Lorries pose a critical threat to cyclists. We urge the government to urgently consider ways to improve safety for cyclists.”