Road crash destroyed cyclist’s Olympics dream
Great Britain Cycling Team member Lauren Dolan says the motorist who caused the road crash that ended her career took away her childhood dream of competing in the Olympics.
Posted on 18 March 2021
Lauren was thrown from her bike and suffered appalling injuries just 48 hours after her bronze-medal winning performance in the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Yorkshire in September, 2019.
She suffered significant shoulder injuries, a fractured femur and badly gashed her elbows and knees. Lauren tried to return to racing after the incident but was still in severe pain that was later discovered to be from an undiagnosed fracture of the femoral neck after the accident. She has totally lost her confidence and doesn’t think she will cycle again.
The smash involving Lauren and her father, Mark, happened when they were riding on an A-road between Teignmouth and Dawlish at home in Devon, a spot where Lauren said she had never heard of previous collisions. Having carried out what was seen as an aggressive overtake, a driver aged 73 braked hard after pulling back in front of Lauren, causing her to hit a traffic island
The driver was found guilty of driving without due care and attention, failure to stop and failure to report the accident. He received fines totalling £1,079 and his licence was endorsed with 10 penalty points. He is also required to pay a £78 victim surcharge and £500 contribution to the court’s costs, a total of £1,667.
Lauren says she is relieved that the ordeal in finally over and that she can have closure on the whole experience.
“The driver who caused the collision has ended my cycling career and he has only had to pay the sentence fine. I am grateful to be able to get on with my life but you can’t put a price on a young person’s career.
“The crash took away everything from that race, the biggest result of my career. I went from elation to complete and utter waste, what happened was so completely overwhelming. I had been at boarding school, spending three weeks at a time in Manchester, where I trained at the Velodrome, cycling was my life and I was on the way to fulfilling my childhood dream of cycling in the Olympics. The crash took all of that away, just when I was so elated by winning the bronze medal.
“I have only just started exercising again but I don’t cycle any more, the collision has taken away all of my confidence.
“I have to move on, I can’t help but think ‘what if, what if’, but I have to get on with my life. I hope to go to university and train to be a vet. It will be a completely different life.”
Robin Selley from the law firm Leigh Day who represents Lauren through her British Cycling membership said:
“Although I am pleased this aggressive and impatient act has been recognised by the Court, the actions of this driver have robbed a talented young cyclist of her dreams and future career in professional cycling.
“Lauren continues to suffer from the injuries sustained in this incident and her continued recovery and rehabilitation is the next step for her. We hope to be able to obtain a satisfactory outcome for her in the fullness of time but sadly, this kind of driving is becoming all too common on our roads and on this occasion, the actions of the driver have had such a devastating impact on one of the most talented young cyclists to have worn a Great Britain jersey.”
Robin Selley is a senior litigation executive in the personal injury department.