This article was published in 2008, in Newsletter 77.
I was knocked off my bike by a bus last April and the case finally came to court on the day after Valentine’s Day. The fact that it came to court at all was entirely down to the witness, who not only followed the bus and flagged down the driver on the day, but took the trouble to appear in court nearly one year later, despite being pregnant. Thanks Yvette.
The bus was travelling at some speed down Jesus Lane on its way to Drummer Street and I was cycling in the same direction. It was a lovely spring day (no adverse weather conditions to deal with there) and I was on my way to the bank for an appointment about getting life insurance. The bus pulled out to overtake me but it then pulled in again almost immediately and there was a loud noise as the side of the bus clouted my right handlebar. I lost balance straight away and fell towards a van parked on the side of the road, but as I still had forward momentum, the bike and I slid along the side of the van before falling in a heap in the gap between the van and the next parked car. The bus had disappeared off and I just had an impression of a blue wall of metal.
Yvette had been driving the other way on Jesus Lane and she saw the whole thing. The road was clear and she saw the people in the car behind the bus had stopped to help me, so she did a three-point turn in the road and went after the bus, catching it up opposite Christ’s Pieces. The bus driver denied he had caused an accident, But said he would be back round when he had picked up his next passengers and Yvette had to be content with that.
When the bus came back down Jesus Lane, it slowed and the driver wound down the window and looked at me ‘sitting in the road bleeding’ as Yvette put it. He said he couldn’t stop as he had a schedule to keep and drove off. Then the ambulance and the police arrived.
In court, the driver defended himself, insisting he had not had an accident and that I was lying. However the magistrates felt that Yvette and myself were credible witnesses, and he was convicted of both charges: careless driving and failure to stop after an accident. He already had six points on his licence (he had not passed his probation with the bus company), and was banned from driving for six months on each charge. For failing to stop he was fined £250 and had to pay costs of £65. The solicitor for the prosecution advised me to claim compensation from the bus company, and I will follow this up as I have permanently lost some of the movement in my thumb.