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Cyclist who lost leg in Central London incident reacts to lorry driver £625 fine

Cyclist who suffered amputation in traffic collision speaks out

Photo of Julie Dinsdale: Keith Bontrager

19 August 2016

An NHS midwife whose leg was amputated above the knee after she was hit by a Tesco lorry in October 2015 has said she is hugely disappointed after the driver of the lorry was fined just £625 and given five points on his licence after he pled guilty to driving without due care and attention at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday 12 August 2016.

Julie Dinsdale [53] was crushed under the wheels of the lorry, driven by Florin Oprea as it turned left, across her path, into Central St from Old Street in Central London on 4 October 2015.

The Court heard how Mr Oprea had been driving in the UK for four months before starting work for Tesco on 1 October 2015, four days before the incident. He had held a HGV licence for 18 months but had been working mainly in Italy before coming to the UK.

The Court heard that just days before the collision a driving assessor recommended Mr Oprea needed to use his nearside mirrors more when driving.

The day of the collision with Ms Dinsdale was Mr Oprea’s first day working alone and it was alleged he was not following the route provided by Tesco, however, Mr Oprea argued that he was following his satellite navigation system through Central London.

Ms Dinsdale was run over by the lorry as it overtook her and turned left across her path into Central Street. Her leg was amputated immediately by the front nearside wheel.

In her victim impact statement Ms Dinsdale described how her injuries had changed her life, telling the Court how she had participated in marathons and cycling events all over the world.

She had been 9th woman and first woman in the over 50 class in the San Francisco Marathon in 2013, completing the marathon with a time of 3:14.

A week before the collision she had completed the Three Peaks Cyclocross event, for the 6th time, which involved summiting the three highest peaks in Yorkshire through a combination of cycling and running.

Ms Dinsdale’s partner Keith Bontrager, the man behind one of the most famous brands in cycling, was riding behind her and witnessed the collision.

Photo of Julie Dinsdale: Keith BontragerMs Dinsdale said: “I am hugely disappointed by the decision of the Court which finds that despite the evidence that I was visible to the driver, he should not be handed a more substantial sentence given the impact his actions have had on my life.

“Every aspect of my life remains difficult and my inability to return to work or pursue my sporting and active lifestyle is an immense loss to me and causes me great distress.

“What is of greatest concern to me is that the driver continues to drive HGV’s and it was said during the recent Court hearing that he was now working for Stobart.  What has happened to me is devastating and I would hate for someone else to go through the same.”

“Despite cycling now being one of the country’s most loved sports, especially following the success of the British cycling team at successive Olympics, and the growing popularity of cycling as a means of transport in London, cyclists remain second class citizens on the roads in the UK. This is reflected by the behaviour of drivers and the Courts.”

Sally Moore head of personal injury at Leigh Day and the lawyer for Ms Dinsdale said:

“We will now be taking civil legal action against Mr Oprea and Tesco. It remains a problem at the core of British society that serious collisions involving cyclists are still regarded as ‘par for the course’ and appear to be treated as such by the Courts.”

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