Wednesday 16 January 2019

Garda's €60,000 claim over fall from bike is thrown out

Declan O’Carolan was riding with his son (5) on the crossbar. Photo: Collins Courts
Declan O’Carolan was riding with his son (5) on the crossbar. Photo: Collins Courts

Ray Managh

A judge has thrown out a €60,000 damages claim by a detective garda, saying he had failed to satisfy her that he and his five-year-old son had been knocked off a bike by a motorist in Skerries, Co Dublin.

Judge Martina Baxter said Declan O'Carolan, a detective garda, of Skerries, had been riding a racing bicycle with his son, also Declan, sitting on the crossbar.

He alleged they were knocked down by motorist Ciara McLoughlin when her car hit the rear wheel of his bike.

Barrister Eamon Marray, counsel for Ms McLoughlin, of The Park, Skerries Rock, told the court she denied having hit O'Carolan's bike and was well behind it when she saw him fall off. She said she was at least five car lengths behind the bike when its rider fell.

She had stopped to help and it was then that she saw his son lying injured. She had immediately called an ambulance at the request of Mr O'Carolan, who had come back to her and said: "You did it."

Mr O'Carolan said he first noticed Ms McLoughlin's car when it was about a foot alongside him and he had shouted if she was trying to put him off the road.

Judge Baxter, dismissing Mr O'Carolan's claim and awarding costs against him, said the detective garda claimed he and his son suffered personal injuries as a result of his bicycle having been struck on the rear wheel.

The judge said he had been cycling a light racing bike with his son on the crossbar. The boy was not wearing a safety helmet and there was no safety seat on the bicycle for the boy.

Expressing concern for the lack of attention from Mr O'Carolan to these basic safety considerations, Judge Baxter said the accident was understandably a traumatic event for them.

Judge Baxter told Mr Marray that Ms McLoughlin had been very clear in her evidence that her motor car never came in contact with the bicycle and that she had been driving at a safe distance from it.

The judge felt Mr O'Carolan had not discharged the onus of proof of his accident, in which he suffered minor injuries, had been caused by Ms McLoughlin.

The judge said witnesses had been clear no damage had been caused to the rear wheel of Mr O'Carolan's bike. Garda Robert O'Rourke said he had spun the rear wheel of the bike and had not seen any sign of a buckle, as alleged by Mr O'Carolan.

Irish Independent

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