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Cyclist injured in collision calls for mutual respect on the roads

Cyclist injured in collision calls on all road users to have more respect for each other, especially on rural roads

Posted on 21 October 2016

A 46-year-old man has described how a cycling collision which left him with serious head injuries and numerous fractures has impacted his life after the driver of the car which collided with him was convicted of careless driving at South East Northumberland Magistrates Court on 18 October 2016.

Neil Wilson, from Berwick Upon Tweed, was commuting home from work in Wooler in the direction of Etal, about 11 miles outside Berwick-upon-Tweed, at approximately 5pm on 30 September 2015 when a BMW X5 travelling in the opposite direction crossed over the carriageway to turn into a connecting road to Crookham and collided with him.

Mr Wilson, a former secretary of local cycling club Berwick Wheelers and a keen local bike racer, went through the windscreen of the car, suffered serious head injuries and a collapsed lung. He also sustained multiple fractures to his vertebrae, arm, ribs and face as well as a broken pelvis and extensive nerve damage.

Due to the severity of his injuries he was taken, after nearly two hours of roadside medical procedures, by air ambulance to the Royal Victoria Infirmary and admitted to the intensive care unit.

This week the driver of the BMW, Keith Elstob, was found guilty of driving without due care and attention by the District Judge Sarah-Jane Griffiths.

In her summing up Judge Griffiths stated: “You have always maintained this was an accident. It was not. You had no reason not to see Mr Wilson. You were driving carelessly.”

Mr Elstob received nine penalty points on his licence and the highest level of fine available, a total of £1,412.

Now Mr Wilson has called on all road users to have more respect for each other especially on rural roads. He said: “This incident has had a devastating effect on my life, I spent two months in hospital and my rehabilitation continues even now, I am still trying to get my life back together but it is incredibly hard.”

Mr Wilson, the father of two young daughters, continued:

“Cycling is such a great sport, for everyone. It should be encouraged, everyone should appreciate fewer cars on the road, as well as the health benefits for those on the bike. I would ask everyone to use the roads with mutual respect and appreciate that at the end of the day we should all be able to get home safely to the ones we love.”

Mr Wilson is now studying to be a cycling coach and wants to promote safe and healthy cycling for all. He continues his rehabilitation on the bike.

As a British Cycling member he was referred to law firm Leigh Day who are now who are now representing Mr Wilson in a civil case.

Rachel Botterill, a solicitor at Leigh Day, and who is representing Mr Wilson, said: “We are pleased that this case has now resulted in a guilty verdict but were frustrated by the driver’s refusal to accept any responsibility for this incident which has resulted in the criminal proceedings being drawn out for over a year.

“We share the view that everyone should be able to enjoy cycling safely. I am extremely pleased that due to his hard work and commitment to his physical and mental rehabilitation, Mr Wilson has been able to get back in the saddle and enjoy cycling once again.”