A cyclist who crashed into a car during a training run is to receive more than £50,000 in damages, a High Court judge ruled yesterday.
Motorist John Campbell was held to be liable for unspecified injuries Conor McAllister suffered in the dual carriageway collision just outside Ballymena, Co Antrim.
But Mr Justice Stephens reduced Mr McAllister’s £70,000 payout by 25 per cent for the contributory negligence of looking down at a heart rate monitor rather than watching the road.
The 25-year-old amateur cyclist sued Mr Campbell over the accident which occurred in November 2009.
He had been riding out to Broughshane village as part of a route which included Cloughmills and Glenarm.
The defendant had decided to pull over in his Renault Scenic to give his sister-in-law a lift.
He claimed Mr McAllister just rode straight into the back of his car which had been stationary for 30 seconds.
But Mr Justice Stephens backed the plaintiff’s case that the vehicle was pulled in front of him.
The judge held that the length of scrape marks on the car was inconsistent with it having been stopped and the hand brake applied.
Identifying a number of inconsistencies in Mr Campbell’s account, he stressed that there was no malicious intent.
“Without any ulterior motive he has rationalised after the event how it occurred,” Mr Justicer Stephens said.
“The defendant was flustered by seeing his sister-in-law and there was a period of indecision.”
In his confusion the motorist had either forgot about the cyclist he had already passed, or else disregarded his presence.
“This failure was negligent,” the judge held.
With damages already set at £70,000, he decided to impose a 25% cut for contributory negligence, bringing Mr McAllister’s award down to £52,500.
Mr Justice Stephens added: “He was looking down at a heart rate monitor. He should have been looking at where he was going.
“If he had been he could have braked or taken evasive action.”