Injured motorcyclist denies dangerous driving

A bus driver had reported to gardai seeing four motorcyclists driving, in a line, abreast of each other on a regional road.

The driver reported there had been two bikes on each side of the white line.

Yesterday, one of the motorcyclists who crashed and was seriously injured was charged with dangerous driving.

However, it emerged in evidence by the defence there had been a fox on the road which forced the driver Evan Hartnett to swerve.

The evidence at Cork District Court against Hartnett was that he had to swerve suddenly.

He and the bike skidded along the ground and crashed into a telegraph pole.

Hartnett of Pluckanes, Donoughmore, County Cork, denied a charge of dangerous driving on the occasion.

He testified a fox emerged on the road in front of him and that was what caused him to swerve, to try and avoid it.

Hartnett, who is in his early 20s, had only purchased the bike a fortnight before the incident.

And he had insured the motorbike earlier that day.

The accused said he was in a coma for a time after the accident.

The court heard he had spent a total of four and a half months in hospital being treated for his injuries.

Solicitor Eddie Burke argued there was no evidence of dangerous driving.

Judge Olann Kelleher thanked bus driver Derry O’Shea for coming to court and taking the trouble to report the matter to gardai.

“He anticipated something would happen and he was right,” the judge said.

“He said he saw the man swerve and slide along the road.

“The defence is that there was no dangerous driving - that there was a fox on the road. I dismiss that charge,” Judge Kelleher said.

However, Hartnett was convicted on a charge of not having a bike on the road that was not working properly.

Judge Kelleher fined him €350 on that charge of having a dangerous vehicle.

When it was put to Hartnett that there were four bikes going along the road that night from Tower to Blarney, two on each side of the road in a line, he said he was on the left side of the correct lane in front of the other bikes and he did not know where they were behind him.

Inspector Eileen Foster suggested to him he had been involved in dangerous driving before the crash.

He said. “No, I swerved to avoid the fox.”

The charge relating to the dangerous aspects of the bike included a cable tie on the back brake and a leak of fluid on the front suspension.

Hartnett said he knew nothing of either defect when he bought the bike.

Mr Burke said there had been evidence that one of the motorcyclists had been doing wheelies. He asked Hartnett if that was him. The defendant said it was not him.


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