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Teenage Motorcyclist Reveals Battle To Overcome Serious Injuries Caused By Driver Opening Car Door On Him

Irwin Mitchell Secures Payment To Help Young Man’s Rehabilitation


Andrew Hewitt, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

A teenage motorcyclist has spoken of his battle to overcome a serious brain injury suffered when he slid under a bus avoiding a car door that had been swung open by a motorist parked on double yellow lines.

Ryan Selby was forced to swerve to avoid the door which opened as he was passing a BMW car.

The then 17-year-old, of Hastings, East Sussex, suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as fractures to his back, pelvis, ribs and right arm in the incident.
He spent 11 days in a coma and had to undergo surgery several times for his injuries.

Following the crash his family instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help investigate the incident and help Ryan access the specialist rehabilitation and therapies he needs to overcome his injuries the best he can.

Ryan has now joined his legal team at Irwin Mitchell in using Road Safety Week to warn of the dangers motorists pose to those on two wheels by not paying attention.

It comes after Ryan’s legal team at Irwin Mitchell secured an interim payment to help fund his continued rehabilitation.

Ryan and his legal team 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 procedure, which will be added to the Highway Code, forces people to turn their body, increasing their ability to spot passing cars and cyclists.

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.

“Ryan has made tremendous progress to overcome the very serious injuries he suffered. However he still requires specialist therapies to continue his recovery.

“His case vividly highlights the devastating consequences that vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists can face because of other road users not paying attention.

“We join Ryan in using Road Safety Week to remind motorists of the need to pay attention at all times and will continue to support him to maximise his recovery.”
Sarah Griggs, Partner

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling serious injury cases 

Ryan, now 19, was travelling in Bohemia Road when the incident happened on 11 October, 2016. The driver, who had borrowed a friend’s BMW without permission, had attempted to open the car door, but pulled it closed again as a cyclist passed him. 

When Ryan was passing, he swung the door fully open. Ryan braked and swerved to avoid the door. He came off his bike and went under a bus, which was returning to the depot with no passengers on board, and was travelling at around 15 mph.

Ryan also suffered serious cuts to his shoulder, left arm and face and lost two teeth. He was taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital where he spent three-and-a-half weeks.

Ryan was attending Sussex Coast College training to be an electrician. Following the incident he struggled to attend college full-time and struggled to pass his exams.

He also still suffers fatigue and memory problems.

Following rehabilitation, Ryan who lives at home with parents, Mark and Amanda Selby, now hopes to start an electrician apprenticeship.

He said: “In a way I am lucky as I don’t remember anything about the accident other than what I have been told since.

“All I can remember is waking up in hospital with tubes and wires everywhere.

“I try not to think about the accident too much but it is difficult not to feel angry at how my life has changed through no fault of my own. I’m young and so I’m trying to stay focused on my recovery. I know I have overcome a lot already so I am determined to remain positive.”

Amanda added: “Before the accident Ryan was a lot more independent and outgoing but now because of his fatigue we have to remind him he can’t do everything he wants to.

“We are so proud of the progress Ryan has made. We just hope that motorists realise how carless actions can, in a split second, change someone’s life and urge them to be alert to motorcyclists at all times.”

The BMW driver was convicted with a number of motoring offences following the incident, including driving without due care and attention, driving without a licence, talking a vehicle without consent and driving without insurance. He banned from driving for 18 months.

Road Safety Week runs from 19-25 November. This year’s ‘Bike Smart’ theme aims to reduce the number of cyclists and motorcyclists killed or injured on the roads.

In 2016 a total of 19,297 motorcyclists and 18,477 cyclists were either killed or injured, according to the most recent figures from the Department for Transport.