A London cyclist has told a court how he believed he was going to die when he was dragged beneath a petrol tanker as he cycled home from work. The incident happened in Leytonstone last May as James Moore, aged 40, was riding home to Wood Green from his job at the Independent newspaper, reports the London Evening Standard.
Mr Moore suffered broken bones including his left tibia and fibia, his pelvis and a number of ribs as well as a collapsed lung. He spent three weeks in a medically induced coma and three months in total in hospital, and needs a wheelchair and crutches to get around.
Giving evidence at Waltham Forest Magistrates’ Court where the tanker driver, Nigel Gummer, faced a charge relating to careless driving, Mr Moore gave his recollection of the incident. CCTV footage of the incident, which took place at the junction of Leytonstone High Road and Cathall Road was also shown.
"I do remember quite clearly cycling along past the junction,” Mr Moore said. “Suddenly, without any warning I could see, the lorry turned on me.
"I remember screaming 'Stop, stop', I think, and I think I'm going to die. Then I can remember being under the lorry and in considerable pain.
"I'm reliving it now. I wake up in the middle of the night. I generally have to sleep with the television on. An empty room in the dark is not good for me."
Collision investigator PC Clive Austin told magistrates that it would have been possible for Mr Gummer, who was waiting at the junction, to see Mr Gummer in a rear view mirror for a minimum of 12 seconds as he approached from behind, riding along a cycle lane.
The front of the lorry, which was indicating a left turn, was inside the Advanced Stop Line box and the cyclist drew alongside its front axle of the lorry just as it began pulling away. He tried to ride straight on but was dragged underneath.
PC Austin added that although it was Mr Moore who had the right of way under the Highway Code, it would have been "a pertinent move" for him to have exercised some level of caution".
Mr Gummer, who had a clean driving record and had worked as an HGV driver for more than 30 years, was acquitted of careless driving after maintaining that he had checked his mirrors before moving away from the junction.
The Standard reported that Mr Moore is now seeking compensation from the insurers of the tanker company through the civil courts.
He has also said that lorries should be equipped with sensors to warn their drivers when vulnerable road users such as cyclists are alongside. "If it saves lives, and saves people being put in the same position as me, it's a damn good thing."
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.