Yate cyclist backs proposed changes following collision

A Yate cyclist is backing proposed changes to the Highway code after a collision on a roundabout left him with long-term injuries.

John Cornforth suffered a number of injuries, including a traumatic brain injury and pelvic fractures, in the collision which happened in Wickwar Road, near Chipping Sodbury in 2019.

The 74-year-old, who was wearing a high-vis jacket and a helmet, was thrown from his bike and knocked unconscious.

John, of Yate, was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery and spent three weeks. He was then in a specialist rehabilitation unit for a further five weeks.

Following the crash, John, who still suffers mobility issues and has an increased risk of epilepsy because of his injuries, instructed expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate and help him secure the specialist treatment and therapies he requires. The driver’s insurers admitted liability for the crash.

The father-of-one has now spoken for the first time about the impact his injuries have had. He’s also joined his legal team in backing planned changes to the Highway Code. One of the proposals – under rule 186 – will require motorists to give priority to cyclists on roundabouts.

Megan O’Sullivan, the expert serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing John, said: “John and his family have faced an incredibly difficult time as he’s attempted to overcome the significant injuries he suffered through no fault of his own. While he has made great progress in his recovery John continues to faces major challenges.

“Sadly through our work we too often see how families’ lives can be turned upside down because of death or serious injury on the roads. Therefore we fully support the proposed changes to the Highway Code which will help all road users and improve safety.

“In the meantime we’ll continue to support John to help him make the best recovery he can.”

John was cycling his usual circular route from Yate, through Rangeworthy and on to Chipping Sodbury when the collision happened at the junctions of Wickwar Road, St John’s Way and Drovers Way at about 1pm on 26 June, 2019. John, a former electronic test engineer, was on the roundabout when a black Mitsubishi Colt entered the junction from St John’s Way – John’s left – hitting the bike.

John also suffered broken ribs and a broken finger in the crash. He had his driver’s licence revoked for six months because of his increased risk of epilepsy.

John still has issues walking long distances and exercising, and has hearing problems.

He said: “I’ve been a keen cyclist for over 30 years as it’s a great way of keeping fit and enjoying the area and never had any problems.

“There was nothing any different about the day of the crash until I was on the roundabout. Then suddenly a car appeared from nowhere. I didn’t have time to react and the next thing I remember was coming round after losing consciousness.

“Ever since that split second life hasn’t been the same. I’ve always been fit and active and then suddenly to have your independence taken away was difficult to accept. I was a lot more reliant on my daughter to assist me with day to day tasks following my discharge from hospital.

“Even now I still struggle to walk long distances. I don’t feel comfortable cycling on the road so have given up road-riding and do all my cycling on a turbo trainer. I’ve also decided to sell my motorbike because I now consider that two wheeled transport on the public roads is too dangerous.

“Making the best recovery I can makes me determined to keep focusing on my rehabilitation. I just hope that by speaking people are more aware of the harm that can be caused on the roads by their actions.

“Cycling is so popular now so it’s vital that everyone can feel safe on the roads. The proposed changes to the Highway Code will definitely help.”

The proposed addition to Rule 186 of the Highway Code states drivers should give priority to cyclists on roundabouts as they will be travelling more slowly. Drivers should give them plenty of room and should not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Drivers should allow cyclists to move across their path as they travel around the roundabout. Drivers should take extra care when entering a roundabout to ensure that they do not cut across cyclists who are continuing around the roundabout.

Gazette Series Gloucestershire