Cyclists face many hazards on the road. There was a recent Court of appeal case which upheld an appeal by Clare County Council against a High Court award for a Plaintiff.
The Plaintiff was awarded €113,000.00 for personal injuries. He said he had fallen off his bike due to a defective ramp on the roadway. The case illustrates the old legal dogma of misfeasance and nonfeasance. These are ancient legal concepts that go back centuries and have very little relevance in today’s modern world, however, the facts of this case demonstrate that this concept still has relevance in our law in certain ways. I am sure the cyclist in this case is not thinking about misfeasance and nonfeasance as he cycled along.
The facts of the case are the Plaintiff was 64 years old at the time of the road traffic accident. He was cycling his bike in August 2014, as he cycled along he came to a cattle grid that had a concrete ramp before it, the edge of the ramp had worn and, therefore, there was a one inch drop between the end of the ramp and the cattle grid. The Plaintiff cycled over and lost his balance and fell. He suffered a serious injury to his left ankle.
The interesting aspect of the case is that the Council had not in any way interfered with the ramp or indeed the grid. The end result was that the unfortunate Plaintiff who suffered a serious injury recovered no compensation. As a cyclist myself it does seem to be unfair that cyclists who are vulnerable road users can be ignored in that fashion. Cyclists more than any other road users are very alert to the condition of the road as it is all that is between us and the road is the bicycle tyre. If the powers that be wish more people to take to the bike and get out of their cars this matter would have to be re-looked at.