Expert Lawyers Supporting Road Safety Week Say Case Highlights Devastating Consequences Of Speeding
A cyclist who suffered catastrophic injuries and nearly died when a speeding driver ploughed into him throwing him into the air has spoken out about the importance of motorists sticking to the speed limits to keep all road users safe.
Barry Hammond, from Godalming in Surrey, has joined forces with serious injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to make the call during Road Safety Week, organised by the charity Brake, which runs from 19 to 25 November.
This year’s theme is ‘slower speeds = happy people’, something that 40-year-old Barry can relate to after he was struck from behind by a driver doing 42mph in a 30mph zone in February. He bounced on the bumper, bonnet, windscreen and roof of the car before being thrown into the air and landing headfirst on the pavement.
He was resuscitated on the side of Portsmouth Road in Milford where the collision happened, before being rushed to the Royal London Hospital by air ambulance. After doctors stabilised his breathing, he spent six weeks being treated for severe wounds to his face which needed 28 stitches, a fractured collarbone, six broken ribs, a fractured shoulder and a broken leg that saw the skin on his right shin torn off.
Barry, who had to move in with his dad for three months to be cared for and has lost his job as a forklift driver due to being unable to work, instructed expert injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him get access to the care and rehabilitation he needs to get his life back on track.
He has now spoken of his relief after the driver’s insurance company admitted responsibility for the accident paving the way for interim payments and a settlement to be agreed that will fund physiotherapy and rehabilitation, cover his loss of earnings and help Barry get his life back on track.
Natasha Lewis, an associate solicitor and road traffic injury expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, representing him, said: “Barry’s shown remarkable progress with his recovery and has a great positive attitude that has helped him come so far.
“However the fact remains, he is lucky to be alive because of the speeding driver’s actions. The injuries he suffered will affect his life for a long time and he needs intensive rehabilitation to help combat them.
“He has also been left devastated by the loss of his job and we are now working to secure a settlement that will help him get back to work and regain full movement so he can enjoy life again.
“We have long supported Brake and the fantastic work it does raising awareness of safety on Britain’s roads. I hope this year’s road safety awareness week makes people think twice about speeding as Barry’s case shows the devastating consequences it can have.”
The driver was convicted on 16 June of driving without due care and attention. He was ordered to pay £285 damages, £85 costs and received six points of his licence – a punishment that Barry says is not strong enough given that he almost died.
He said: “One minute I was cycling along a road I know very well and the next thing I knew I woke up in a hospital bed covered in tubes and in agony.
“Thankfully other motorists explained to the police what happened so the driver could be prosecuted but I am disappointed with his punishment given that I nearly died and my life has completely changed.
“I’m just so thankful to the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service as if they hadn’t been able to reach me so quickly it’s highly likely I’d have died on the side of the road because I couldn’t breathe. I owe my life to the Kent, Sussex and Surrey Ambulance crew but it is a charitable organisation so I will try and help them as much as I can with donations to keep the vital service going.
“I had to move in with my dad and his partner for three months because my injuries meant I couldn’t care for myself and do a lot of day to day activities so it affected their lives as well as mine.
“I’m now back in my own home but my injuries mean I have trouble walking very far and I’m still regularly in pain. I was devastated to lose my job, but once I have recovered I hope to get back into a similar role and get back on a bike as cycling was a great hobby.
“I just hope Road Safety Awareness Week reminds motorists to drive carefully with other road users in mind and to stick to the speed limit. If it weren’t for the emergency services I wouldn’t be here today and speeding is surely not worth risking another person’s life.”