Couple Join Legal Team In Urging All Road Users To Take Care
A cyclist has spoken of his battle to overcome a traumatic brain injury suffered when he was knocked off his bike by a motorist opening their car door.
Keith Emery spent around eight months in hospital following the incident which happened when a driver swung open their car door without looking, knocking him off his bike.
Following the incident Keith and his wife Bambi, of Romford, Essex, instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him access the specialist rehabilitation, support and therapies he requires.
As part of Injury Prevention Week, the couple, aged 62 and 47 respectively, and their legal team are urging all road users to take care and help reduce the number of people seriously hurt or killed on the roads.
They are also encouraging drivers to adopt the ‘Dutch Reach’ method of opening doors. The procedure involves drivers or passengers opening the door from the inside with the hand furthest away from them. The method forces people to turn their body, increasing their ability to spot passing cars and cyclists.
It comes after a survey of just over 2,000 GB adults commissioned by Irwin Mitchell revealed that there has been an increase in households taking up cycling. A total of 12 per cent of British households took up cycling during coronavirus lockdown. Of those questioned, just over one in four – 26 per cent – also said they are likely to continue cycling post Covid-19.
Expert Opinion“While many people with a brain injury may no longer show any physical signs after their initial recovery the effects can last for many years.
“Keith has made progress in his recovery but he still faces many challenges and access to specialist rehabilitation and therapies are key to maximising his recovery. Keith’s case is a stark reminder of the terrible consequences that vulnerable road users such as cyclists can face because of other road users posing a danger.
“While it’s great more people are taking up cycling, with lockdown restrictions continuing to be eased that also presents challenges.
“We urge all road users to pay attention at all times to reduce the number of lives turned upside down as a result of accidents.” Darren Adams - Solicitor
Keith was cycling home from Dagenham East Station when the incident happened on Rainham Road South, Dagenham, on 18 November, 2017.
Keith was taken to Queen’s Hospital where he underwent a number of operations. He remained in Queen’s Hospital until April 2018 before he was transferred to a specialist neurological rehabilitation unit at Homerton Hospital.
Keith was allowed home in July 2018.
He still continues to experience behavioural and speech issues because of his injury. Before the crash, Keith a keen Tottenham Hotspur fan, used to enjoy playing football, cricket, golf and snooker but struggles to take part in sport now.
He said: “While I can’t thank the doctors and nurses enough for everything they did spending that much time in hospital was particularly difficult.
“I try not to think about the accident too much but it’s difficult not to be frustrated at how my life has changed through no fault of my own.
“Before I was active and liked getting out, but now I have to be reminded I can’t do everything that I used to enjoy.
“The last couple of years have been tough and the support I’ve had from Bambi has been vital. I know I face many challenges ahead but I’m determined to try and remain positive.”
Bambi added: “Before the accident Keith had a great sense of humour and was a lot more independent and outgoing but now he is a lot more reliant on others. His condition means it’s a lot more difficult for him to enjoy sports or for us to do things couples take for granted such as going out for a meal or even travelling.
“Despite everything he’s been through I’m so proud of the progress Keith has made so far. We just hope that by speaking out motorists are aware of the need to check for cyclists before opening their doors and realise how careless actions can change someone’s life in a split second.
The driver of the car involved in the accident pleaded guilty to the charge of opening a car door to danger at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court. She received a 12 month driving ban and was fined.
Injury Prevention Week runs from 17-21 August.