Simon was cycling to work in Fareham on a clear September morning in 2015.
At about 0830, he was positioned in the middle of his lane in a stationary queue of vehicles at the approach to a roundabout, when, without warning, he was hit from behind by a car.
Simon remembers the sound of a crack and the sensation of “flying backwards”. The driver said that he was “catapulted” onto the car’s bonnet, his head hitting the windscreen. He then rolled off onto the road. He recalls feeling in a state of shock. He had been wearing a cycle helmet.
The driver of the car initially admitted liability and wanted to pay for the damage to Simon’s cycle outside of an insurance settlement. She then broke off contact, did not pay and retracted her admission of liability. She turned out to be uninsured and Simon had to pursue an out of court settlement using solicitors provided by British Cycling. The Motor Insurance Bureau admitted liability on her behalf. It took nine months to receive the compensation for the damage to his bike and his own injuries.
As well as bruising and whiplash injuries, Simon experienced psychological trauma from the incident, experiencing “waves of agitation and emotion” and “crazy thoughts” that he might be targeted by the driver’s husband.
He was diagnosed with Situational Anxiety and Psychological sequelae, manifested as generalised anxiety, fear of travel and neurotic depression. His performance at work was affected and he had to take three weeks off and attend two sessions with a clinical psychologist. It took him several months before he could resume commuting by bike, which had been an essential part of his life – helping him unwind from the stresses of work and also to deal with the impending death of a close friend who had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a few years earlier. Commuting by car during this period, by contrast, increased his stress levels.
Simon had gone to the police when the driver refused to pay and a Police Incident Report was created. He subsequently learned that the driver was only prosecuted for driving without insurance, not for driving into Simon!
So, in summary, a collision which happily broke no bones, nevertheless had a severe impact lasting several months, disrupting Simon’s home and work life and his emotional wellbeing.
The car driver was not prosecuted for the collision.