A 72-year-old driver who seriously injured a cyclist has been fined £500 and ordered to pay her £2,000 in compensation.
Michael Reginald John Fuller was due to face a trial on January 21 after denying causing serious bodily harm by driving without due care, but on Thursday, the day before the trial, he changed his plea to guilty.
Magistrates also banned Fuller, who lives at Ballagarey Road, Glen Vine, from driving for 12 months.
The cyclist suffered a broken arm, a fractured thigh and wrist, needed two blood transfusions, and had to have a plate inserted in her arm.
Prosecuting advocate Hazel Carroon told the court that, on December 29, 2020, the victim was cycling in Crosby at around midday.
She was riding down a hill prior to the junction with the Department of Infrastructure depot when Fuller’s BMW X3 was coming in the opposite direction.
She cycled around a bend and approached the junction applying her brakes.
Fuller arrived at the junction and was about to turn into the DoI depot.
The cyclist said she believed Fuller had seen her but he then collided with her as he turned in, throwing her off the bike and over the bonnet of the car.
He was interviewed by police and claimed he had not caused the accident.
He said he had looked before turning but said that the sun had been obscuring his view at times.
Fuller said he was driving at no more than five miles per hour.
The victim, who was said to have been a personal trainer who had now moved into an admin role as a result of her injuries, spent a week in hospital and required regular physio appointments.
Ms Carroon said that compensation of £3,732 was being claimed, made up of £990 for dental work, £1,236 for clothing, headphones, a phone, and a helmet, and £1,506 for the bike.
The prosecutor read out a victim impact statement from the cyclist, which was written in June 2021, in which she said that she had not slept properly since the accident and had withdrawn from her friends.
The victim said that Fuller had not been helpful at the scene and said when she asked him to call an ambulance he had said ’are you sure?’, and she had called one herself.
She said that she still could not walk very well, could not put a lot of weight on one side, and could no longer run.
The statement said that a doctor had advised her not to do any high risk sports for two years and told her she may suffer from arthritis in the future.
The court heard that Fuller has no previous convictions.
Defence advocate David Reynolds said: ’The incident happened at midday, the sun was low, that was something that impacted his driving.
’Mr Fuller has gone to her aid and assisted in contacting emergency services. This matter has weighed heavily on him. He has had sleepless nights.’
Mr Reynolds went on to say that his client had worked with children with learning disabilities until 2005 and had continued to work on a relief basis.
In response to the victim impact statement Mr Reynolds said that Fuller had been shaking and in shock at the time of the accident, and did not know how to use his phone.
’In one way was he trying to avoid calling an ambulance,’ said the advocate.
Mr Reynolds went on to read out details from an online application called Strava, which he said detailed that the victim had ridden several miles since the accident.
He said that the application showed a record of her riding between 20 and 29 miles on 40 occasions, between 30 and 39 miles on 25 occasions, between 40 and 49 miles on 12 occasions, and between 60 and 69 miles on three occasions.
He added: ’In no way does that detract from the injuries sustained and what she has been told by the doctors. But clearly she is doing a significant amount of cycling.’
Magistrates chair Julie Maddrell said: ’We have empathy and sympathy with both parties. It was not a deliberate act but we appreciate the serious injuries.’
No order for prosecution costs was made.