Bike accident victim’s award increased by €27,000 on appeal

Patricia Moore fractured her left elbow in 2013 incident with a van in Co Dublin

A woman who fractured her left elbow after falling from her bicycle during an incident with a vehicle exiting from a business premises has had a €9,000 award increased to €36,000 by the Court of Appeal.

While Patricia Moore should not have been cycling on the footpath at the time of the incident, the driver of the van which emerged from the business premises must share the greater part of the blame for the accident, the appeal court found.

The High Court had found Ms Moore 85 per cent liable for the accident, but the Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that the appropriate liability in her case was 40 per cent, while the driver was 60 per cent liable.

This led to her award being increased to €36,000.


Ms Moore, of Castlegrange Avenue, Swords, Co Dublin, had sued the company which owned the van, Advanced Tyre Co, trading as Advanced Pitstop, over the incident on May 2nd, 2013. The defendant had denied negligence.

The court heard Ms Moore had been cycling on the path outside the firm’s Swords premises on the date in question because works were taking place on the road which had reduced the number of lanes from two to one.

As she approached the premises, one of the company’s vans was exiting from its car park.

She said the driver of the vehicle was looking to his left, while she was coming from the right. She said he was listening to music with the window open.

As he emerged onto the footpath, across where she was about to travel, she shouted at him but he kept going, Ms Moore said.

She said she had to take last-minute evasive action to avoid a crash, by cycling round the front of the van.

In doing this, she fell heavily to the ground, sustaining a serious injury to her left elbow which left her in a plaster for several weeks.

The driver of the van had maintained Ms Moore was actually cycling on the roadway at the time and that he had stopped well short of the kerb.

He believed the reason she fell was because she had pillows on her back carrier which caught his car as she tried to get onto the footpath out of the way of oncoming traffic.

The High Court awarded Ms Moore €60,000, but reduced it to €9,000 on the basis she was 85 per cent liable for the accident. She then appealed this decision.

Judges’ findings

On Friday, Ms Justice Mary Irvine, on behalf of a three-judge Court of Appeal, said the High Court had erred in its approach to contributory negligence.

She said Ms Moore was only 40 per cent liable for the incident, thereby increasing the award to €36,000.

While Ms Moore should not have have been cycling on the path, her blameworthiness should be reduced by reason of the roadworks, she said.

The greater blame lay with the van driver, who saw her coming, she said.

“He was obliged to yield right-of-way to her, even though she should not have been cycling on the footpath.”

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times