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Wheelie cyclist who caused tandem crash ordered to pay compensation

Stoker left with memory loss after crash

A teenage cyclist has been ordered to pay compensation for causing a crash in which a tandem stoker sustained serious injuries.

The Edinburgh Evening News reports that Luke Horne, 16, was pulling a wheelie and riding through a red light at a pedestrian crossing in Gullane, East Lothian when the crash took place on June 14, 2014.

After riding through the crossing, Horne unexpectedly turned right, causing the tandem, piloted by Chris Laughton, 50 to hit his rear wheel.

Laughton and his stoker, 54-year-old Dr Kay Boulton, both fell to the road.

Dr Boulton's head hit the pavement. She suffered a fractured skull and hip and loss of hearing, and subsequently spent two days in a high dependency unit and a total of two weeks in hospital. The court heard that she now suffers a lack of short term memory which may never be regained.

Mr Laughton suffered only minor injuries.

Passers-by rushed to the couple's aid and Horne also stopped and rendered assistance.

Horne pleaded guilty to riding a bicycle dangerously at an earlier hearing.

Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC told Horne his cycling that day had “extremely serious consequences” for Dr Boulton, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute.

Sheriff Welsh said: “Your cycling that day fell far below the standard of that of a competent cyclist.

“The consequences of your dangerous cycling were extremely serious for Kay Boulton.

“However, you have accepted your responsibility and have pled guilty at an early stage and I have to take into account you are only 16.

“I also take into account this type of dangerous conduct is out of character for you.”

Sheriff Welsh ordered Horne, from Gullane, to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and told him he must pay £500 in compensation.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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