Motorist given two-year driving ban for knocking down cyclist

Kevin Kennedy drove by scene of collision again instead of calling emergency services

A motorist who mowed down a cyclist but failed to stop and then drove by the scene of the accident just minutes later has been put off the road for two years.

Kevin Kennedy left Hugh McLaughlin in agonising pain from his injuries and fearing for his life when he struck him from behind in his Citroen Berlingo van in Co Donegal on September 2nd, 2018.

Mr McLaughlin had been out for a ride between Dochary and Dungloe around 8pm on a bright evening when the father-of-three was struck.

In a victim impact statement to Dungloe District Court, where Kennedy appeared on dangerous driving charges, Mr McLaughlin told how he thought he would never see his family again.

But he said the most frightening part of the crash was how the motorist who knocked him down casually drove by him minutes later in the opposite direction instead of calling for the emergency services.

“It was a nice bright evening and I was wearing my hi-vis fluorescent cycling top. I had rounded a corner and was cycling downhill on a straight stretch of road probably at a speed between 30 and 35 kph when I was struck from behind and sent flying into the air and ended up landing face down in the ditch,” he recalled.

“I was in total shock at what had happened and still can’t believe it. The road at that location is 7 metres wide and his van is only 2 metres. It keeps going round in my head why he was unable to avoid me. My bicycle was lying about 50 metres behind me in the ditch.”

Kennedy, aged 51, of Meenderryherk, Dungloe, faced a number of charges including dangerous driving, leaving the scene of an accident and not reporting an accident.

His victim described it as a “despicable act” to drive by someone after knocking them down and then to drive by them and not to check if they were alive in dead.

He said the incident goes over and over in his head about how much worse he could have been.

He added “Thankfully I didn’t suffer any life-threatening or serious life-changing injuries. I do have ongoing pain in my right shoulder which is still under investigation and for which I’m still doing physio for.

He adds that the crash has completely changed his outlook on life. “I have only been out cycling a few times since I was hit as my confidence is badly affected and I’m in constant fear of getting hit by a car again.

Kennedy wrote to the cyclist in September apologising for what he had done. However, his victim has refused to accept his olive branch.

Passing sentence, Judge Paul Kelly banned Kennedy of Meenderryherk, Dungloe from driving for two years and also ordered him to do one hundred hours community service in lieu of four months in prison.