London

Cyclist who lost a leg in crash condemns lorry driver's fine

Julie Dinsdale Image copyright PA
Image caption Ms Dinsdale completed the Three Peaks Cyclocross event in Yorkshire a week before the crash

A woman who lost a leg when a truck ran over her while cycling in central London has criticised the £625 fine handed to the driver.

Julie Dinsdale, 53, of Brixton, was hit on 4 October last year on Old Street in Clerkenwell, when the lorry overtook her and turned left across her path.

Florin Oprea admitted driving without due care and attention and was given five points on his licence and fined.

Ms Dinsdale said cyclists are treated as "second class citizens".

The NHS midwife's right leg was amputated by the front nearside wheel of the Tesco truck in the crash - as her partner, bike pioneer Keith Bontrager, was riding behind her.

Blackfriars Crown Court was told last week at a hearing that Oprea, who had mainly worked in Italy, had only been driving in the UK for four months and had been working for the supermarket for four days when the accident happened.

'Life remains difficult'

He struck Ms Dinsdale the first day he had worked alone. Days before the crash he had been told to use his nearside mirrors more during a driving assessment.

The 53-year-old was a keen runner and cyclist and had taken part in events across the world, including winning the 2013 San Francisco Marathon for the over-50s women's class and completing the Three Peaks Cyclocross event in Yorkshire a week before the life-changing crash.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The midwife lost her right leg and now uses a prosthetic and carries a stick

She said: "Every aspect of my life remains difficult and my inability to return to work or pursue my sporting and active lifestyle is an immense loss to me and causes me great distress."

About the sentence, she said: "I am hugely disappointed by the decision of the court which finds that, despite the evidence that I was visible to the driver, he should not be handed a more substantial sentence given the impact his actions have had on my life.

Despite the success of cycling as a sports in the Olympics, and "the growing popularity of cycling as a means of transport in London, cyclists remain second class citizens on the roads in the UK", she said.

The driver will continue driving with a new company.

Her lawyer Sally Moore, said: "We will now be taking civil legal action against Mr Oprea and Tesco."

A Tesco spokesman said: "We were deeply saddened to hear of this incident. All our drivers receive thorough and recurrent training both to ensure and maintain those standards."

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