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Tanker driver acquitted on careless driving charge after telling court he did check his mirrors

A London cyclist has told a court how he believed he was going to die when he was dragged beneath a petrol tanker as he cycled home from work. The incident happened in Leytonstone last May as James Moore, aged 40, was riding home to Wood Green from his job at the Independent newspaper, reports the London Evening Standard.

Mr Moore suffered broken bones including his left tibia and fibia, his pelvis and a number of ribs as well as a collapsed lung. He spent three weeks in a medically induced coma and three months in total in hospital, and needs a wheelchair and crutches to get around.

Giving evidence at Waltham Forest Magistrates’ Court where the tanker driver, Nigel Gummer, faced a charge relating to careless driving, Mr Moore gave his recollection of the incident. CCTV footage of the incident, which took place at the junction of Leytonstone High Road and Cathall Road was also shown.

"I do remember quite clearly cycling along past the junction,” Mr Moore said. “Suddenly, without any warning I could see, the lorry turned on me.

"I remember screaming 'Stop, stop', I think, and I think I'm going to die. Then I can remember being under the lorry and in considerable pain.

"I'm reliving it now. I wake up in the middle of the night. I generally have to sleep with the television on. An empty room in the dark is not good for me."

Collision investigator PC Clive Austin told magistrates that it would have been possible for Mr Gummer, who was waiting at the junction, to see Mr Gummer in a rear view mirror for a minimum of 12 seconds as he approached from behind, riding along a cycle lane.

The front of the lorry, which was indicating a left turn, was inside the Advanced Stop Line box and the cyclist drew alongside its front axle of the lorry just as it began pulling away. He tried to ride straight on but was dragged underneath.

PC Austin added that although it was Mr Moore who had the right of way under the Highway Code, it would have been "a pertinent move" for him to have exercised some level of caution".

Mr Gummer, who had a clean driving record and had worked as an HGV driver for more than 30 years, was acquitted of careless driving after maintaining that he had checked his mirrors before moving away from the junction.

The Standard reported that Mr Moore is now seeking compensation from the insurers of the tanker company through the civil courts.

He has also said that lorries should be equipped with sensors to warn their drivers when vulnerable road users such as cyclists are alongside. "If it saves lives, and saves people being put in the same position as me, it's a damn good thing."

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.