Cyclist feared for life after road accident

A Polish school principal cycling in West Cork described how he feared for his life after being struck by a lorry.

He said it was a miracle his seriously injured left leg did not have to be amputated.

Jacek Fortuna, a middle-aged man who was working in Ireland at the time of the incident six years ago, brought the case against Tadhg Scannell and Christy Lucey Transport, the driver and owner, respectively, of the truck involved.

The incident happened by a bridge on the west of Ballyvourney village at 6pm on November 3, 2008, at a time when Mr Fortuna was living at nearby Ballymakeera.

Mr Fortuna said that when he saw the lorry approach, he stopped and put both feet on the ground. “I was waiting until the truck safely passed by me,” he said through an interpreter.

“I was standing fully on the footpath, only on the footpath. The bike was between my legs. It was about 40m away when I first saw it.

“There were blinding lights. It was very fast. I felt physical contact with the trailer so much so I was afraid I would lose my balance. It may have looked that I was wobbling on the bicycle.

“And then there was physical contact between the truck and my leg. I felt pain in my leg. I fell down.

“When I recall those moments, I feared for my life so when I think about it is very difficult for me.”

Mr Fortuna said his injuries included fractures to his tibia and fibula and that a bone came through his skin. “I think the doctor performed a miracle because the leg was deemed for amputation,” he said.

Cross-examining John Lucey said: “You are aware you should not have been cycling on the footpath?”

He replied: “I know the regulations forbid cycling on the footpath but I felt it was safer for me to do so.”

Mr Lucey said the plaintiff’s written statements referred to tarpaulin or plastic around a load on the truck contacting him but that the driver would testify there was no such cover over the load.

The civil action continues today at the High Court sitting in Cork before Mr Justice Daniel Herbert.


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