As we approach summer, the number of people using bicycles as a mode of transport is increasing. Each year more than 100 cyclists are killed and over 300 are seriously injured on UK roads. Around 75% of fatal or serious cyclist collisions occur in urban areas and not surprisingly, the severity of injuries suffered by cyclist’s increases with the speed limit.
Nature of the Incident
In this case, a car was in collision with a cyclist on a fairly busy urban road with a speed limit of 30mph. The cyclist suffered serious injuries.
TRL was called upon on behalf of the defendant, which in this case was the car driver. The prosecution alleged that the car was speeding and therefore the driver did not have enough time to react and avoid the impact.
TRL reviewed the following data to assess the cause of the collision:
- Eye witness statements
- CCTV analysis
- Analysis of Perception Reaction Times
TRL Expert Witness View
The forensic CCTV analysis enabled our Expert to do a time and distance study to calculate speed, with tolerances applied to allow for a number of factors including the accuracy of the on screen timings and the resolution of the images. As a result, our Expert created a range of average speeds for both the car and the cyclist.
Based on this, the Expert created a 3D reconstruction of the collision scene, applying the Perception Reaction Times to the speed and distance of both vehicles.
Despite the driver of the car and an eye witness claiming that the car was not speeding, the CCTV evidence showed that the car driver was in fact exceeding the 30mph speed limit. However, his driving appeared to have been neither aggressive nor impatient and his speed was reducing as he approached the collision locus. This indicated that his speed did not appear out of the ordinary for the normal traffic flow at the location.
It appeared from witness evidence that the cyclist may not have looked to his right as he approached the junction, despite the fact that there were Give Way signs and there is a legal obligation on a cyclist to give way at a junction.
When the cyclist crossed the give way line, the car was around 0.5 seconds from the point of impact. Therefore, even if the car had been travelling at 30mph, the collision was inevitable.
Our Expert was not required to attend court and the report was considered to be very helpful when considering Civil Liability. The car driver was advised, by the client, to plead guilty to Careless Driving.