A cyclist who has lost the sight in her left eye after being the victim of a hit and run accident on a busy West Yorkshire road is appealing for witnesses to come forward.
The 49-year-old school teacher has been told it will take at least six months to fully assess the nerve damage caused and make a judgement as to whether her sight will ever return.
She had expected police to trace the driver of the three door, black Volkswagon Golf car, as she was helped by a number of witnesses at the scene, including two security officers who got out of their van to offer support.
However, with more than two months now having passed since the accident, she says she has been left hugely disappointed that West Yorkshire Police has not been able to make any progress in the case, given there was no CCTV footage and no witnesses have come forward.
“I can’t believe what has happened really as on the morning itself a number of people saw what happened and came to see if I was ok. The two prison guards in particular were very kind and helpful on the morning,” she said.
“I didn’t get their names or numbers as I didn’t have anything with me and I was in shock, but they took my details and saw what happened.
“We all saw the car drive away and then stop further up the road in a layby, as if the driver was checking the damage.
“Perhaps everybody who saw what happened has since assumed I was ok because at the time, although I had hit my head on the road, I felt ok and I walked home.
“They were not to know that it has caused me long term harm and loss of sight in one eye, so I am hoping that by making this appeal someone will now come forward, or perhaps that it may make the driver contact police if they really didn’t realise they had caused injury.
“At the time I didn’t think I was badly injured myself. I was aware I had taken a hefty blow to the head, but I just thought my helmet had done its job. I was actually more concerned about the pain in my elbow and legs as I walked home.”
Eyesight began to worsen when cyclist returned home and called police
When the woman retuned home she began to feel unwell and rang the police. Officers called an ambulance for her and she had a CT scan at Pinderfields Hospital.
“My sight started to go blurred in my left eye but the hospital said it was likely to be concussion,” said the woman.
“However, it didn’t get any better and actually started to get worse. It was then that I went to see an optician and as soon as they looked they said I had a serious problem.”
The woman was told she had suffered nerve damage to her eye, causing her to suffer from double vision and headaches.
She has now been told it will not be known for at least another six months whether the sight in her left eye will recover, and if so, to what extent.
The accident happened at around 7am on January 22nd on the A61 roundabout (opposite the Wilko store) after she had cycled along Kirkgate, Wakefield.
“I know the roundabout well and have had people cut me up on it before when I have been going around it,” she said.
“Ironically, I had specifically chosen to go into one of the middle lanes to protect myself as I approached it, as I was thinking about the times I had been cut across. Then, as I went around the roundabout the car, which I am certain was driven by a young lad, overtook me and cut across me. That is when he clipped my wheel.
“I can remember shouting ‘what are you doing’ and then the next thing I was on the floor. I am certain he knew he had hit me.”
Hudgell Solicitors provides support through injury claim to Motor Insurance Bureau
Whilst the failure to trace the driver has meant nobody has yet been held responsible for the injuries caused, it has also left the cyclist in a difficult situation with regards to making an insurance claim.
She is, however, now being supported by personal injury specialists Hudgell Solicitors, who say they will pursue a claim to the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) on her behalf.
Karen Smith, Senior Litigation Executive and Personal Injury Manager at the firm’s Leeds office, said: “Sadly there are many people left in a similar situation to this when they are involved in accidents with untraced or uninsured drivers.
“Not only does it leave them struggling to recover the costs of the accident with regards the damage to vehicles or cycles, it more importantly means they are unable to pursue damages for injuries suffered, and to recover loss of earnings through insurers.
“Our client has suffered significantly. She had to have two months off work, and reduce her hours on her recent return. She has not yet returned to her teaching role.
“She suffered injuries to her elbow and hip and the eye injury which has caused loss of sight for a period which is yet unknown. Her work and life has been severely affected by this and she has suffered psychological symptoms as a direct consequence.
“Given the circumstances, we will be looking to secure compensation through the Motor Insurance Bureau to help her secure rehabilitation support to help her towards her recovery, and recover losses from her time off work.
“Thankfully, this course of action is available in such cases, and is used to assist the thousands of people who are injured, and the families of those killed, by uninsured and untraced drivers.”