£1 million-plus damages for cyclist who will spend rest of her life in wheelchair

Insurers of 89-year-old motorist with defective eyesight agree out-of-court settlement

by Simon_MacMichael   March 26, 2012  

road.cc news

A female cyclist who will spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair after being hit by a car driven by an 89-year-old motorist with defective eyesight has received an out-of–court settlement of more than a million pounds in compensation.

Christine Glennon from High Wycombe, aged in her 60s, received severe spinal injuries in the incident, which occurred in Shoemoor Lane in Frieth, near Marlow, Buckinghamshire, reports the Bucks Free Press.

It was discovered that the 89-year-old driver of the vehicle involved in the incident could not read a number plate at a distance of more than 4.87 metres, less than a quarter of the 20-metre distance stipulated in the Highway Code.

Mrs Glennon, who plans to move with her husband Pat to a new home better equipped to meet her needs, said: “My life changed dramatically after the collision and I strongly feel eye tests should be implemented for older drivers. If these eye tests were compulsory perhaps horrible accidents like this could be avoided in the future.”

She added that she regarded herself as  “extremely lucky” to have belonged to national cyclists’ organisation CTC, whose solicitors, Russell Jones & Walker, represented her, managing to resolve the issue within two years of the incident.

“The speed in which this was achieved has allowed me to move home which was essential to starting a new life and moving on from this terrible ordeal,” Mrs Glennon added.

Equity Group, which insured the motorist, had admitted liability at an early stage of proceedings and made interim payments to the victim.

Roger Geffen, campaigns and policy director for CTC, described the incident as an “horrific collision,” adding: “It shows the importance of more regular testing of people’s fitness to drive.

“No doubt the 89 year old driver in this case is devastated by what he has done,” he continued.

“However, by driving with defective eyesight he was putting other people’s lives and limbs at risk and Mrs Glennon has paid a terrible price for his actions.”

He added that the case underlined how essential it was for cyclists to have insurance and expert legal advice in the event of becoming involved in a similar incident.

Earlier this year, 55-year-old former tennis coach Patrice Gougam was awarded £4 million compensation as a result of the life-changing injuries he suffered following a hit-and-run incident involving a motorist whom it later transpired also had defective vision.

13 user comments

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In several countries a drivers license is renewed every few years with a compulsory eye test. Surely it wouldn't be that hard to institute something along those lines here?

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [297 posts]
26th March 2012 - 13:30

4 Likes

What I find scary is that there are probably a large number of elderly drivers who's eyesight is just as bad as this 89 year olds, but they won't accept the fact that they're getting old and that their eyesight is deteriorating.

In my car I've been sat behind pensioners who have had to come to an almost complete stand still to turn a corner at a simple junction, which they then crawl around at under 5mph. It worries me to think how much they're actually able to see, and what the consequences would be if they were to hit someone.

All the gear and no idea!

posted by JonMack [171 posts]
26th March 2012 - 14:01

5 Likes

As the law prevents people under 17 from driving, may be it's time to consider an upper age limit after which people are no longer allowed to drive. Before that age, agree with regular eye tests.

posted by malmesburyclarioncc [26 posts]
26th March 2012 - 14:56

3 Likes

I'm not sure the upper age limit would be either a good idea or fair Malmesbury.

Different people age at different rates. Certain people can be unfit to drive at comparatively young ages due to various illnesses or disabilities. Others may well be fit and healthy and able past the age of 100. The key to ensuring safety as people age is through testing of the eyes and also driving ability - there does need to be a change in legislation to ensure that all drivers are tested at periodic intervals to ensure their fitness behind the wheel.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2205 posts]
26th March 2012 - 15:17

3 Likes

Again, absolutely disgusting until something is done about the increasing numbers of imcompetent older drivers. A total ban of anyone over 75 imo ...

posted by Karbon Kev [677 posts]
26th March 2012 - 18:07

3 Likes

Karbon Kev - some drivers aged over 75 are competent, some aren't. The same goes for younger drivers to be honest. Retesting and regular eye checks for ALL drivers at periodic intervals would solve a lot of problems. I think any suggestion of a ban n drivers over 75 would quickly face challenges on grounds of age discrimination - and rightly so.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2205 posts]
26th March 2012 - 18:26

3 Likes

OldRidgeback wrote:
Karbon Kev - some drivers aged over 75 are competent, some aren't. The same goes for younger drivers to be honest. Retesting and regular eye checks for ALL drivers at periodic intervals would solve a lot of problems. I think any suggestion of a ban n drivers over 75 would quickly face challenges on grounds of age discrimination - and rightly so.

I think you have misread what Karbonkev said..keyword is "until".

Although, I agree that every driver should have eyesight checks, not just the elderly..but where do you draw the line? My friends grandparents reaction times are seriously slow at the age of 70, not just the eyesight is a problem, its being able to avoid accidents, all motor skills are affected with age.

so what do you have as a compulsory test? eyesight? reaction times? spacial awareness? I can think of many incidents on the roads where both young and old drivers have almost caused potentially deadly situations for not USING THEIR DAMN MIRRORS!

...sorry for shouting, it was a vain hope the tard who nearly killed me this weekend is reading Smile

posted by quango2008 [36 posts]
26th March 2012 - 21:34

3 Likes

Quango - was the person who nearly knocked you off an older driver?

Periodic driver ability retesting would involve an array of checks and spatial awareness would be included in that, along with eye tests. A lot of drivers have inadequate eyesight, not just older people. Yes, motor skills can degrade with age. But the rate at which these degrade vary from person to person. Some people are in better shape aged 70 than others in their 30s.

The way karbonKev's post is punctuated means it can be interpreted in different ways.

Having periodic checks on all drivers to assess ability would deal with a lot of safety problems on the roads. Ensuring this included training for awareness of vulnerable road users would further boost safety.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2205 posts]
27th March 2012 - 9:19

4 Likes

OldRidgeback wrote:
Quango - was the person who nearly knocked you off an older driver?

Periodic driver ability retesting would involve an array of checks and spatial awareness would be included in that, along with eye tests. A lot of drivers have inadequate eyesight, not just older people. Yes, motor skills can degrade with age. But the rate at which these degrade vary from person to person. Some people are in better shape aged 70 than others in their 30s.

The problem is society would just not accpet this. Driving is a high risk activity itself, nevermind all the extra conditional risks but these are accepted to allow people freedom of movement and jobs etc. If you try and bring in a multitude of extra tests to force 100's of thousands of people off the roads for what they will consider 'minor' infractions then youd just get driven (pun not intended) out the door.

Just look at how many 'dangerous' drivers already allowed to stay on the road, as not driving would impact their way of life (hundreds of drivers with over 12pts!).

P.S. i dont agree with the above, just pointing out the sad truth of the matter.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [415 posts]
27th March 2012 - 12:48

3 Likes

Hope the lady is OK. There's a great spinal injury charity called Back Up who help people after accidents like this with activities like skiing and sailing and hand cycling.

I'm running the London Marathon for them later this month.

Tom

Brevet

Tom Eeles- SwissRetreat Cycling Tours's picture

posted by Tom Eeles- Swis... [7 posts]
27th March 2012 - 13:55

2 Likes

STATO - the issue of eye testing has been raised at EC level within the corridors of power. Road safety is a key policy in Europe just now. It's entirely likely we'll see mandatory eye testing for all drivers in Europe in the next few years as this is a known problem. Following on from that, regular ability tests on drivers are also a possibility.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2205 posts]
27th March 2012 - 14:00

2 Likes

5 years mandatory eye tests over the age of 70. Conducted by DVLA opticians - not your favourite GP. My mother (aged 82) has had more scrapes with bollards and other cars then she cares to mention and she admits she can't drive at night as the oncoming lights halo. She will not give up her car and she would probably pass her GPs test. That said she drives so slowly that most cyclists are only in danger as they overtake her. Big Grin

I propose anyone over 80 sell their car and the government use some of this revenue to employ younger people as drivers for the elderly. More jobs for the unemployed and less bewildered elders on the road. Simples!

Also whilst we're in simple solutions lets solve the Euro crisis by making the banks cut our mortgages by 50% for 3 years as long as we take a mandatory 2 week holiday in Greece or Italy. Simples 2!

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1059 posts]
27th March 2012 - 16:46

2 Likes

all bus drivers and hgv drivers have to have regular medicals and eye tests every 5 years and have to pay for it themselves so why not everybody as well.

posted by brandobiker [22 posts]
31st March 2012 - 21:24

2 Likes