Cyclist suing fellow rider admits element of risk

A CYCLIST claiming damages from a fellow bike rider he blames for a pile-up has conceded that group cycling carried a risk of accidents.

College lecturer John Telfer agreed that riding close to other bicycles could be dangerous.

Mr Telfer, 47, said it was reduced to a "minimum" risk by the experience and skill of those cycling in the group.

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But he told a court today that he believed he had been "a victim or casualty of someone's neglect".

He told the jury at the Court of Session in Edinburgh: "In most things you do, there is an element of risk."

Mr Telfer, of Overton Crescent, East Calder, in West Lothian, is suing another bike rider after he was injured during a Sunday morning road cycling run with a group of enthusiasts.

Damages in the action have been agreed at 370,000, but liability is in dispute.

The jury will have to decided whether the accident on the B8020 road near Winchburgh, West Lothian, was caused by Gordon Macpherson, 50, of Columbia Avenue, Livingston.

Mr Macpherson hit a manhole cover and lost control of his bike and other members of the group of nine riders also fell.

Mr Telfer said he changed direction to avoid the fallen, but went on to a verge and was pitched over the handlebars. He suffered back and head injuries in the incident on June 15 in 2003.

He maintains that Mr Macpherson did not have proper control of his bike at the time because of the way he was holding his hands. As a result they slipped off the handlebars and he lost control.

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Andrew Hajducki QC, for Mr Macpherson, said bike riders voluntarily took on a risk of accidents and injuries by cycling without sufficient stopping distance between them.

Mr Telfer said: "There is an element of risk, yes. That is something you put down to being a minimum risk given the nature of the group you choose to ride with and the experience of everybody concerned."

Mr Hajducki said to him: "It is a risk you take on because you want to take part in runs like this." He responded: "In a sociable group, yes."

He said after recovering from injuries he went back to the scene of the accident and decided it had been as a result of the other bike rider's carelessness.

"I have said this quite a few times to many people, that the accident was preventable if the proper riding position and proper hand position was being adopted," he said.

Mr Telfer added: "If I thought I was in any way to blame for the accident, I would not be standing here today. I think I am a victim or casualty of someone's neglect."

The trial continues.

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