Longford woman knocked off her bicycle at Farnagh

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Longford District Court

Longford District Court heard how a local woman was knocked off her bicycle in Longford town

A man who appeared before Longford District Court last week charged under the Road Traffic Act was convicted and fined €200 following a hearing into the matter.

Seamus Hegarty, Farnagh, Longford appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with driving a vehicle without due care and attention at Farnagh, Longford on October 28, 2015.

Outlining the evidence to the court, Garda Anthony Scanlon said the case centered around a collision between the vehicle and a cyclist who was injured as a result on the date in question.

The Garda said that at 5:50pm on that date, he attended the scene of an accident between a car and a bike at a crossroads in Farnagh, Longford after being informed by radio of the incident while on patrol in Newtownforbes.

He pointed out to the court that when he arrived at the scene he saw a van and a bicycle as well as a cyclist who was injured.

“I observed a caddy van stationery at the end of a minor road on the crossroads and I spoke to the driver Seamus Hegarty,” said Garda Scanlon before pointing to the fact that it was dusk at the time.

“I observed a bicycle and a cyclist on the other side of the road - the cyclist was lying against a fence - she was in distress and gave me her name.”

Meanwhile, the court heard that an ambulance was called for the injured cyclist and she was subsequently taken to hospital where it was determined that she had sustained a broken pelvis as well as substantial injuries to her face, in the accident.

“The cyclist had a hi vis jacket and helmet on her and while she had reflectors on the bike there was no light,” continued Garda Scanlon.

“When I spoke to Mr Hegarty, he told me he had been coming from his home at the time of the accident and he provided a voluntary caution statement on October 28, 2015.

The court was then told that the defendant said in the statement that he stopped at the end of the lane (at the crossroads), looked both ways and when he saw that nothing was coming he moved halfway out onto the road.

The defendant said that he checked again and out of the corner of his eye detected the hi vis jacket but the bike hit his van at that point.

In her direct evidence to the court, the cyclist Ms Farrell said that she was from Lisduff and knew the area in which she was cycling that evening very well.

“I was actually training for an event in Westport at the time,” she added, before pointing to the fact that she was proceeding down a “slight gradient” and was breaking.

“I am so used to that road and that is why I was being cautious.

“Mr Hegarty came out of his lane, he braked - I saw that he had seen me - he moved slowly, braked again and the next thing was the van hit me.

“I went across the bonett, was propelled back against the fence and at that stage I had broken my nose.”

Ms Farrell then went on to tell the court that she was on all fours shouting for help when she observed Mr Hegarty going around to the front of his van and checking it over.

“I shouted at him to call and ambulance and he said back, ‘what the f**k do you want an ambulance for’,” she added, before admitting that she didn’t have a light on the front of her bike and that despite the time of year “it was bright” when the accident occurred.

Under cross examination by the defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty, Ms Farrell was told that she should have had a light on her bike.

“Mr Hegarty did not see you,” added Mr Gearty.

“Well, I disagree with you,” responded Ms Farrell.

“I think he did see me.” Mr Gearty then pointed out to the witness that when she saw Mr Hegarty coming from his lane, she should have slowed down.

Meanwhile, Mr Hegarty took to the stand to give his direct evidence to the court.

He told Judge Hughes that there was a blind spot when he approached the top of his lane and he moved, stopped and moved again as he was coming out onto the main road that evening.

“I saw a hi vis jacket then, but she had no light on her bike and you don’t see a hi vis jacket until lights are on it,” he added.

“I got out of the van and walked over to her; I was not rude to her at all, I never said those things to her.

“I went to school with her father; I just didn’t see the girl that evening.”

In mitigation, Mr Gearty said that his client came out onto a downwards hill from his lane.

He also said that it was sunset at the time of the accident that evening, a matter that must be taken into consideration by the court.

“Mr Hegarty says he did not see Ms Farrell and only saw a hi vis jacket at the last minute,” he continued.

“He also says that he was edging out of the junction at the time.”

During his deliberations on the matter, Judge Hughes said he had been left very impressed by Ms Farrell’s evidence.

“She struck me as a person that is in full control at all times,” the Judge continued, before pointing to the fact that it was, however, significant that she was cycling without a light on her bicycle.

During his ruling, the Judge said he fully accepted Ms Farrell’s evidence in the case.

“I don’t find anything wrong with Mr Hegarty’s evidence but on this occasion I accept her evidence,” he added.

The Judge subsequently reduced the charge before the court to driving without reasonable consideration and convicted the defendant on that count.

Judge Hughes also fined Mr Hegarty €200 in respect of the matter before him.