Garda’s €60,000 damages claim over bicycle fall thrown out

Judge critical of Declan O’Carolan’s approach to safety as son was on racer’s cross-bar

A judge has thrown out a €60,000 damages claim by a detective garda, saying he failed to satisfy her that he and his five-year-old son were knocked off a racer bicycle by a motorist.

Judge Martina Baxter said Declan O'Carolan, of Skerries, Co Dublin, was riding the bicycle with his son, also Declan, sitting on the cross-bar. He alleged they were knocked down by motorist Ciara McLoughlin and suffered personal injuries when her car hit the rear wheel of his bike.

Eamon Marray, barrister for Ms McLoughlin, of The Park, Skerries Rock, told the court his client denied hitting Mr O'Carolan's bike and was at least five car lengths behind it when she saw him fall off.

She stopped to help and saw Mr O’Carolan’s son lying injured and immediately called an ambulance at the garda’s request.


Mr O’Carolan had come back to her and said: “You did it”.

Judge Baxter dismissed the claim and awarded costs against Mr O’Carolan.

Basic safety

She said Mr O’Carolan’s son was not wearing a safety helmet and there was no safety seat on the bicycle for the boy to sit into. The judge expressed concern for the lack of attention paid by Mr O’Carolan to these basic safety considerations.

Judge Baxter told Mr Marray that Ms McLoughlin had been very clear in her evidence that her car never came in contact with the bicycle and that she had been driving at a safe distance from it.

She felt Mr O’Carolan (38) had not discharged the onus of proof that the accident, in which he had suffered relatively minor injuries, was caused by Ms McLoughlin.

The judge said witnesses called on behalf of Ms McLoughlin were clear that no damage had been caused to the rear wheel of Mr O’Carolan’s bike. Investigating Garda Robert O’Rourke said he had spun the rear wheel of the bike and not seen any sign of a buckle in the wheel, as alleged by Mr O’Carolan.

Mr O’Carolan alleged he had first noticed McLoughlin’s car when it was about a foot from him and he shouted if she was trying to put him off the road.

He said he had suffered a number of injuries the worst of which was an injury to his right knee. His son had suffered a head injury.

Judge Baxter refused an application on behalf of Mr O'Carolan to put a stay on costs pending consideration of an appeal to the High Court. Mr Marray told the court a claim on behalf of the boy was pending in the High Court.