A motorist who hit a cyclist at 55mph and drove off, leaving his victim in a wheelchair for several months and still unable to walk without the use of crutches, has been jailed for 70 days and banned from driving for a year.
Dr Andrew Markwick, an astrophysicist at the University of Manchester, had been returning to the Sawrey Hotel in Ambleside, Cumbria, at 1230am on the morning of 21 June last year when he was hit by the car being driven by Shane Gill, a chef at the nearby Low Wood Hotel.
The victim, who was in the area to attend a physics conference in Bowness, suffered a broken left leg and pelvis in the crash, leading to him having to undergo ten operations, South Lakeland Magistrates Court heard.
At the time the accident took place, Dr Markwick, who had drunk six pints of beer, had dismounted from his bike and was pushing it along the road, which had no pavement, explained Peter Kelly, prosecuting.
The court heard a police statement from 36-year-old Dr Markwick, who lives in High Peak, Derbyshire, outlining the events that led up to his being hit by the car and the aftermath of the incident.
“I remember seeing car headlights and the movement of the lights suggested the car was moving from one kerb to another,” sad Dr Markwick.
“I remember thinking I may be in trouble and I tried to get off the road.
"The next thing I remember is being on my back and thinking there was a problem with my legs.
“I was on my own long enough to think I was going to die.”
The academic had no lights on his bike but said that visibility was “excellent” and decided to walk along the road towards oncoming traffic “as a pedestrian would do,” reports the Westmorland Gazette.
Accident investigators established that Gill, who has since moved to Waterside, Lancaster, struck Mr Markwick at a speed of approximately 55mph and that he would only have had 1.5 seconds to react.
Jackie Partington, defending Gill, who had a previous conviction from 2007 of failing to stop at the scene of an accident, stated: “He wasn’t certain what he hit and he should have stopped and checked. He wouldn’t have expected somebody to be walking in the road on that side at night.
“In the morning he did see the damage to his car and walked past the same spot and made a point of looking but there was no sign of any damage.”
After Gill had been sentenced following his guilty plea the charge of failing to stop and report the accident, Dr Markwick said: “I’m glad he’s been held to account.
“When I was lying in the road I felt certain I was going to die, that I was going to bleed to death.
"I remember seeing my mangled leg and thinking this was the end.”
Dr Markwick plans to return to mountain biking at some point but first he is concentrating on learning to walk properly again.
“Being hit at that speed I’m lucky to be alive so I’m just glad that my only injuries were to my leg.
"I’d like to thank the truck driver who found me and called the ambulance because he undoubtedly saved my life.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.