A cyclist who was left paralysed from the waist down when a driver crashed into him as he took part in the Ulster 100-mile time trial championships has said that the sentence handed down to her is a “joke.”
Elaine Adu, a Christian pastor of Greenvale Manor, County Antrim, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm through driving without due care and attention in connection with the incident last June which left Mark Millar with a catalogue of injuries including a severed spine.
Adu, aged 47, was given an eighty hour community sentence and was banned for driving for a year following the trial at Antrim Magistrates’ Court, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
After sentencing, Mr Millar told the Belfast Telegraph that "one of us [the riders taking part in the time trial] could easily have been killed that day".
He continued: "I really hope this will help raise awareness for the safety of cyclists, there's a lot of motorists out there that need to wise up and keep their eyes on the road. It was a truly shocking bit of driving.
"And a one-year driving ban is a joke, one of us could easily have been killed that day. I most definitely wouldn't go as far as to say I was lucky ... but I'm happy to have survived."
Both he and Adu were both headed in the same direction on the Lisnevenagh Road in County Antrim when she crashed into him from behind, with their respective speeds estimated at 25mph and 50mph.
Recalling the incident and its aftermath, Mr Millar said: “I was hit from behind by a Honda CRV, on a straighter piece of road you would be hard pushed to find. Although I was conscious, I can't remember much.
"Luckily the paramedics were there within minutes and a spinal surgeon was at the scene via the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance.
"I was put into a coma and stabilised at the scene, then transported to the Royal Victoria Hospital via ambulance where they operated on my spine.
"It was broken in four places and my spinal cord severed, which means I'm paralysed from the waist down."
He sustained other injuries including “a torn spleen, epidural haematoma to the neck, rib fractures and bruised lungs, fractured sternum and broken shoulder blade,” while both his hips were broken and needed surgery.
He was discharged in September but will need to continue to undergo rehabilitation for the foreseeable future.
Deputy District Judge Liam McStay said that "cyclists need the protection of the court" and that the case "could not make it more plain to members of the public that we have to share the road and have to be aware of each other."
During her trial, the court heard that Adu “struggles on a daily basis to accept the fact that as a result of her driving, a person has been left with life-changing injuries" and that she "hopes a day will come when she can actually meet Mr Millar and apologise face-to-face."
Mr Millar told the Belfast Telegraph he had no interest in meeting her.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.