Cyclist Vows To Get His Life Back On Track After Hit And Run

Injured Cyclist Speaks Out To Raise Awareness About Road Safety


By Suzanne Rutter

A cyclist who still suffers excruciating shoulder pains and had to take three months off work when he was thrown from his bike in a hit and run crash has spoken out to highlight the importance of cyclists and motorists sharing the road safely.

Matthew Watson, of Middlesbrough, suffered a broken shoulder after he was struck by a motorist on the M74 Interlink in Glasgow on 8 October 2010.The driver of the van sped off without stopping and Matthew had to travel to the accident and emergency ward at Western Infirmary Hospital in Glasgow by himself for treatment.

The 40-year-old, who was working for a Darlington firm as a rigger and was on his way back to his temporary accommodation at the time of the crash, has since instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who have secured him a £7,400 settlement.

Matthew is now hoping to move on following the settlement, which will cover the loss of earnings he suffered when he couldn’t return to work for three months and any future physiotherapy he will need for the shoulder injury he sustained and which still causes him excruciating pain every day.

Elaine Russell, a cycling injury specialist from Irwin Mitchell’s Glasgow office, said: “Matthew suffered incredibly painful injuries as a result of this accident which affected his ability to do his job properly for three months. It has been even more difficult for Matthew to come to terms with his injuries because the driver of the van sped off without trying to help him.

“Now the case has settled he will now be able to put this terrible ordeal behind him but more needs to be done to protect cyclists so people don’t feel discouraged or afraid to get on their bikes.

“Cyclists are very vulnerable on the roads and sadly we deal with many cases on behalf of people serious injured, or the family of those killed, on Scotland’s roads. In our experience, several factors contribute to accidents, including the poor state of the roads and a lack of awareness of other road users.

“Drivers need to be more vigilant and understanding while more needs to be done to ensure all road users have access to better safety training so that accidents like this can be prevented.”

Matthew was riding along the M74 Interlink in Glasgow when he had to brake heavily to avoid a van driving too closely to him.

He managed to get himself to A & E where he was treated for a broken shoulder. He had to rest his arm in a sling for six weeks followed by two months of physiotherapy sessions. He may also face an operation in future to alleviate the soreness and stiffness he still feels in his shoulder.

Matthew had to take three months off work as a rigger as he no longer had the upper body strength he needed to do the job properly. He has also not been able to go to the gym or indoor rock climbing, which he loved to do in his spare time before the accident.

Police were unable to trace the van driver responsible for the crash but Irwin Mitchell was able to help Matthew get access to the vital rehabilitation he needed through the Motor Insurers’ Bureau Untraced Drivers Scheme, which helps people get access to the treatment they need if a driver is untraceable.

Matthew said: “The past two years have been a real struggle as the crash has had a massive impact on my life. I used to regularly cycle to and from work because it’s quicker than getting stuck in traffic and I liked keeping fit. I used to have a really active job as an off-shore rigger but I was made redundant eight months after the accident.

“It was even harder to come to terms with the fact the driver sped off without stopping to help me. I’m relieved the case has finally been settled so I can start to move on with my life and carry on with the physiotherapy to rebuild the strength I had before. Hopefully then I can get back to climbing again and taking on a more physical role job, which I really enjoyed before.

“I also hope that other motorists take notice of my case and if it makes just one drive more carefully around cyclists, it will be worth it. I think last year’s Olympic Games and Bradley Wiggins’ success at the Tour de France really inspired people to get on their bikes but it’s no good if cyclists don’t feel as safe as they can be on the roads.”

For more information about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Cycling Accident Claims.