A cyclist left paralysed after he was hit by a motorist with defective vision who should not have been driving has been awarded £4 million in damages to help pay for the round-the-clock care he will need for the rest of his life. Following the award at London’s High Court, his wife issued a plea for motorists to be more considerate of cyclists.
Patrice Gougam, aged 55, who worked as head coach at Enfield Tennis Club, spent three months in a coma and required a total of 21 months’ hospital treatment, including six months at the National Hospital for Neurosurgery and Neurology in Bloomsbury after the November 2009 incident on the Great North Road between Barnet and Potters Bar.
Even now, he needs a feeding tube in order to eat, and is confined to a wheelchair, reports the London Evening Standard.
As we reported here on road.cc in October 2010, the driver involved, pensioner Michael Elliott, now aged 66, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to charges including dangerous driving, driving with a medical condition, leaving the scene of an accident and failing to notify the DVLA of problems with his eyesight.
Elliott, who suffered from cataracts and glaucoma, claimed not to have seen the Mr Gougam prior to his Land Rover hitting him, and continued on his way to a photography club meeting, where he spent two hours before returning to the scene of the incident.
The judge presiding over the High Court decision praised Mr Gougam’s wife, Virginia, for her “extraordinary care, love and support for her husband, and her determination to do everything she could for his care and rehabilitation," as the award was entered against Elliott and his insurance company.
Afterwards, Mrs Gougam’s solicitors issued a statement which said: "She dearly wishes other motorists to be more aware and patient of cyclists on London's busy roads, so as to reduce the increasing number of tragic stories covering both fatalities and life-changing injuries sustained by cyclists."
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.