12 Aug 2022

Cyclist in wrong lane who fell off bike blamed nurse whose car made no contact

Judge 'amazed' that cyclist is taking civil action against motorist

cyclist crash

Portlaoise District Court

A man who fell off his bike when he was cycling on the wrong side of the road has had an appeal against a conviction for cycling without reasonable consideration rejected by Portlaoise Circuit Court.

Before the court was Krzysztof Kusa, appealing a conviction he received in the district court for cycling without reasonable consideration.

State witness, Ms Siobhan O’Shaughnessy, a nurse in the Midlands Prison, Portlaoise, gave evidence that on Sunday, August 28, 2016, she was leaving work at 7.30pm and after checking both ways she saw a man come off his bicycle about 15 foot away.

She saw that he had hurt himself so she turned left and pulled in. The man, Krzysztof Kusa, had hurt his arm so Ms O’Shaughnessy asked him would she call an ambulance for him.

To this, the appellant told Ms O’Shaughnessy his fall was her fault, so, as she was not comfortable with the situation, she called the gardaí.

Ms O’Shaughnessy said she checked to see if the appellant was okay and saw bruising to his arm. When the gardaí arrived they checked to see what happened and all agreed that there was no contact between the bike and the car, she said.

The gardaí helped him with his bike, but they couldn’t fit the bike into the patrol car so Ms O’Shaughnessy offered to drive him with his bike to the A&E department.

Ms O’Shaughnessy elaborated that the appellant had been on her left cycling on her side of the road towards Portlaoise town direction, meaning he was travelling on the wrong side of the road.

The witness said she did know what had caused the appellant to fall off his bike.

She also revealed that the appellant subsequently made a claim against her insurance.

Garda Aoife Bannon gave evidence that when she attended the scene, both parties informed her there had been no contact between the car and bike and there was no damage to the car.

The appellant told her he had been cycling on the prison side of the road towards Portlaoise, so Garda Bannon informed him he had committed a road traffic offence.

She told the court that the gardaí attempted to put the appellant’s bike into the patrol car, but it would not fit so Ms O’Shaughnessy kindly offered to drive him.

The garda confirmed that there were cycle lanes on both sides of the road and the appellant should have been in the far lane.

Defence for the appellant said that Kusa had seen the car and fell off his bike, meaning he had displayed consideration.

State solicitor, Mr Donal Dunne said the appellant had been driving on the wrong side of the road, which was an unsafe method of driving.

“He shouldn’t have been there,” said Mr Dunne.

In ruling, Judge Keenan Johnson noted that the appellant had been convicted in the district court and fined €50, plus €35 expenses.

He said that a good Samaritan went to his aid on the day and the appellant accused her of causing the incident, even though there had been no contact between the two parties.

“There isn’t a scintilla of evidence of culpability against Ms Siobhan O’Shaughnessy and I’m amazed that any civil proceedings are instigated,” said Judge Johnson.

Declaring that a cyclist on the wrong side of the road is cycling without consideration, Judge Johnson affirmed the district court order.

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