Truck that crushed cyclist (31) and left him paralysed had 70 defects
Published 02/08/2014 | 17:53
A YOUNG man left paralysed after his bike was crushed by a truck that had overtaken him on a narrow road has made a heartfelt plea for greater road safety in Ireland.
Vincent O'Driscoll (31) said Ireland needs to make greater use of cycle lanes but that, above all else, motorists and truck drivers need to take greater care when they see cyclists on the road.
Vincent's comments came as haulier Tim Walsh (49), from Glanworth, Co Cork, was jailed for three years for dangerous driving by the Circuit Criminal Court.
Walsh, whose lorry had 70 separate defects after a safety inspection, had overtaken Mr O'Driscoll 3km outside Macroom on the Cork road on August 7, 2013.
The rear wheels of the lorry rolled over Mr O'Driscoll, inflicting horrific injuries.
One of the 70 defects on the lorry was a broken side mirror - and Judge Sean O Donnabhain said he felt that was a key element in the tragedy.
Walsh admitted dangerous driving and expressed his deep remorse for what happened.
"I think truck drivers in particular should take a lot more care," Vincent said.
"As the judge said, that spot on the road . . . no truck should be over taking there. And there are similar places all over the country."
Vincent said that despite his horrific catalogue of injuries and now being confined to a wheelchair, he was lucky compared to some other cyclists.
"I came across people in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (in Dun Laoghaire) who were in similar places to me when they were hit," he said.
"When trucks just tried to overtake them and engaged in manoeuvres that they just should not be doing.
"Cars do the same but getting hit by a truck can be totally devastating. I am lucky to be alive - some people this year have not been that fortunate."
Vincent also said that councils need to make greater use of cycle lanes given the number of people now using bikes nationwide.
"In Dublin, in particular, you have cycle lanes everywhere. Whereas across the (rest of) the country you don't.
"I've been in Dublin and everywhere you look there are cycle lanes. I know it is improving but it is nowhere near where it should be."
Such were the horrific nature of Vincent's injuries that he was not initially expected to survive.
The triathlon athlete's spinal column was crushed and he was left paralysed.
Vincent's pelvis was also fractured, he had two breaks to his hips, two broken legs and two crushed ankles.
He also suffered liver failure, kidney failure, bowel damage and perforations to his bladder.
The young man now relies on a colostomy bag and also requires a catheter.
He was in a medically induced coma at Tallaght Hospital for one month after transfer from Cork.
"I've talked to my psychologist and she reckons that I'm not depressed but that I'm grieving. . . grieving for the body I had and the life I had," he said.