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Changes to the careless driving laws ‘can’t come soon enough’ for injured cyclist

A cyclist injured in a collision near Wakefield has called for harsher sentences for careless driving offences after the young driver who collided with him was handed only five points on his licence and a £350 fine.

Samuel Mashford

28 October 2020

Samuel Mashford, a 33-year-old cyclist, was almost home from a training ride on 21 June 2020 when the driver of a VW Polo turned suddenly across his path on the A61 Barnsley Road near Newmillerdam to enter a side road and collided with him. 
 
Mr Mashford had no opportunity to avoid the collision and his leg was crushed by the front of the vehicle.
 
He was taken by ambulance to the Major Trauma Unit at Leeds General Infirmary where X-rays showed a complex fracture to his right leg. 
 
During a 10-hour surgery Mr Mashford underwent skin and muscle grafting and had an external fixator frame applied to his leg which remains in place four months later.
 
Mr Mashford was informed of the outcome of the criminal prosecution of the VW driver last week. The driver was convicted of driving without due care and attention and received five points on his licence and a £350 fine.
 
Mr Mashford said:
 
“This is an insulting lenient sentence.  I am left with life-changing injuries from which it is going to take me years to recover, if I am able to make a full recovery at all. 
 
“I am unable to work, walk, drive and see my young son, who lives 200 miles away, through no fault of my own.  I am stuck at home with a metal frame on my leg, and my wife has to care for me.  Meanwhile, the driver has walked away with a slap on the wrist.”
 
Mr Mashford is represented by Leigh Day solicitors.
 
Rachel Botterill of Leigh Day’s specialist cycling team said:
 
“It is very disappointing that the driver has received such a low penalty for inflicting such a serious injury on our client.  Cases like this demonstrate the urgent need for a change in the law, and for the offence of “Causing Serious Injury by Careless Driving” to be brought into force.
 
“After a long running consultation, the government announced last month that it will be creating this new criminal offence in early 2021 and this will carry the possibility of a custodial sentence. 
 
“This will mean that drivers who cause serious injury such as broken bones, paralysis and other long-term disabilities through failing to exercise due care when operating a vehicle will receive harsher sentences, possibly including up to two to three years in prison. 
 
“This will give the criminal justice power to reflect the suffering inflicted on vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians in appropriate cases.
 
“We will continue to ensure injured parties like Mr Mashford receive access to early rehabilitation and maximum compensation through the civil justice system.”

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