Cyclist's widow awarded £200,000… but what she really wanted was an apology

Compensation in death by dangerous driving case but still no apology for death of top time triallist

by Tony Farrelly   May 7, 2012  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

The wife of a cyclist killed on the A1 in 2009 has accepted a £200,000 out of court compensation settlement but says she still hasn't received what she really wanted - an apology from the lorry driver who killed her husband.

65 year old Basil Clarke, known as Bas, died from his injuries in September 2009  two days after being hit while riding  on the A1 at Tickencote in Rutland by lorry driver Karel Sedivy from the Czech Republic. The incident happened as Bas returned home from his regular Saturday morning ride around the lanes near his home.

In a statement released by her solicitors, Mr Clarke's widow, Jane said:

“This settlement won’t even come close to making up for losing Bas, he was such a big character and a friend to so many people – we miss him every single day. Cycling was his passion. He had been a member of various cycling clubs for fifty years and was incredibly fit for a man of 65 years old.
 
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Bas had excellent road sense, he cycled on the A1 every week for years. All I ever really wanted was an apology from the driver of the HGV but, despite being given the opportunity to say sorry, he never has.

As reported at the time, Sedivy was convicted and sentenced to 16 months in jail on a charge of causing death by dangerous driving.  Evidence presented at his trial showed that Sedivy had neither slowed down nor attempted to alter the direction of his 7.5 tonne lorry during the course of the incident that claimed Mr Clarke's life - he served six months of his 16 month jail sentence.

At the time of his death Mr Clarke was one month in to his retirement from his job as a stonemason, he was a well known and highly respected breeder of ornamental water-fowl. Mr Clarke had been a cyclist all his life joining the Rockingham Forest Wheelers at the age 14 and winning many trophies for the club and for VC Slough the club he rode for in the 80s and 90s. He was a renowned time triallist  in his prime reckoned to be amongst the fastest men in the country.

Commenting on the settlement Mrs Clarke's solicitor, Jonathan Reid of Russell Jones & Walker, said: “The settlement finally draws to a close what has undoubtedly been a devastating time for Bas’s family.
 
“We work with many families whose loved ones have been killed or seriously injured and many find the prospect of reliving the tragedy in court almost too much to bear.  When a family feels like this, we always try our best to keep cases out of the courts, while also ensuring those left behind receive a full and realistic settlement.
 
“Of course, no amount of money will ever bring Bas back, or go any way to filling the void that he has left, but hopefully it will provide his family with some financial security for the future.”

13 user comments

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And he only served 6 months??? What a joke!! Angry

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
7th May 2012 - 14:40

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LondonCalling wrote:
And he only served 6 months??? What a joke!! Angry

No mention of driving ban, forced extended re-test etc.

I'd love to know - is this numpty back in the cab of an 18-wheeler?

posted by mad_scot_rider [544 posts]
7th May 2012 - 15:33

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LondonCalling wrote:
And he only served 6 months??? What a joke!! Angry

Totally agree, 6 months is nothing Angry

Then again, is he a UK resident? maybe he was driving from Europe into UK and back out? this may complicate further charges? removal of licence etc?

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posted by Argy [147 posts]
7th May 2012 - 16:00

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I've got to say, there's lots of good stories on road.cc, but recently I visit the site with a heavy heart as stories like this seem to be a daily feature, and they make me sad and angry! How many more cases like this will there be until we see a change for the better, in terms of law makers taking cyclists seriously and drivers showing us respect and consideration?

posted by headfirst [81 posts]
7th May 2012 - 16:50

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mad_scot_rider wrote:
LondonCalling wrote:
And he only served 6 months??? What a joke!! Angry

No mention of driving ban, forced extended re-test etc.

I'd love to know - is this numpty back in the cab of an 18-wheeler?

I didnt know 7.5 tonne lorries had eighteen wheels.

posted by cavmem1 [42 posts]
7th May 2012 - 17:51

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No need for a vocational licence on 7.5T GVW - can drive on standard D licence.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [481 posts]
7th May 2012 - 18:13

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headfirst wrote:
I've got to say, there's lots of good stories on road.cc, but recently I visit the site with a heavy heart as stories like this seem to be a daily feature, and they make me sad and angry! How many more cases like this will there be until we see a change for the better, in terms of law makers taking cyclists seriously and drivers showing us respect and consideration?

Agree, seems to be a regular thing these days. The road culture of this country has become incredibly aggressive over the years. Almost better off being a pheasant, people often slow down for those.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications
http://ragtag.wordpress.com

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posted by ragtag [154 posts]
7th May 2012 - 19:18

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I don't really think he should get more than 6 months in prison unless they can prove he did it on purpose, cause he's probably not an evil person, and prison is designed as a punishment for deliberate crime, like murder surely? Thinking

posted by jamjam [61 posts]
7th May 2012 - 23:07

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jamjam wrote:
I don't really think he should get more than 6 months in prison unless they can prove he did it on purpose, cause he's probably not an evil person, and prison is designed as a punishment for deliberate crime, like murder surely? Thinking

From the article above:
"As reported at the time, Sedivy was convicted and sentenced to 16 months in jail on a charge of causing death by dangerous driving. Evidence presented at his trial showed that Sedivy had neither slowed down nor attempted to alter the direction of his 7.5 tonne lorry during the course of the incident that claimed Mr Clarke's life".

Sounds like he deserved far longer than just six months, death by dangerous driving should get the same jail time as a manslaughter charge. Perhaps then motorists will behave in a safer manner.

posted by s_smith [13 posts]
8th May 2012 - 0:13

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jamjam wrote:
I don't really think he should get more than 6 months in prison unless they can prove he did it on purpose, cause he's probably not an evil person, and prison is designed as a punishment for deliberate crime, like murder surely? Thinking

How do we deter people? "pretty please don't kill people"?

Doesn't work.

posted by Animal [33 posts]
8th May 2012 - 6:20

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Bear in mind that the truck driver will not have paid the £200,000 from his own account. It will have been settled by the insurance company. After an incident like this and such a payout, his insurance premium will be huge if he consiers driving a vehicle again. No responsible employer would consider him for a driving job again. Sadly, research shows that past offenders do have a bad record of re-offending and there is a risk the driver will either take to the wheels without insruance or choose employment with a firm that does not bother to check his past history.

It is entirely possible that the driver was advised not to apologise on grounds that the victim's family would then have a greater right to claim damages. But now damages have been paid, that would no longer stand.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2167 posts]
8th May 2012 - 9:16

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Oldridgeback - an apology can easily be part of any settlement, in fact most disputes are settled this way. (What scary times we live in when people daren't apologise for fear of being sued)

Without minimising the loss in any way, I would completely advise against cycling on the A1. It is busier than many motorways. The same goes for cycling on any busy dual carriageway.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [279 posts]
9th May 2012 - 22:47

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i have recived abuse from motorists there is always a way to obtain appropriate retribution i.e. the waggon driver ??? ???? from ??? ???, ???, ???? was recently made to understand that you cannot just ram people out of your way on the public road. Thank god I was in a car when he drove his overladen speeding articulated lorry into me and not on a bike. On a bike it helps to go a bit nuts on inconsiderate drivers.

tired old fart

posted by tired old fart [82 posts]
25th May 2012 - 15:38

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