Wheelie cyclist ordered to repay couple after crash

A TEENAGE cyclist who seriously injured a woman after he knocked over a couple riding a tandem has been ordered to pay compensation.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 8th April 2015, 4:15 pm
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard Luke Horne did a wheelie and crashed into the tandem. Picture: Greg Macvean
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard Luke Horne did a wheelie and crashed into the tandem. Picture: Greg Macvean

Luke Horne had just ridden his bike through a pedestrian crossing on one wheel when he collided with the double-seated bicycle in June last year.

The collision left tandem rider Kay Boulton with serious head injuries including a fractured skull, a fractured hip and loss of hearing. The tandem’s pilot Chris Laughton, 50, fortunately escaped with minor injuries.

After cycling through the crossing’s red light in Gullane, East Lothian, the 16-year-old made an unexpected right turn leading Mr Laughton to clip the teenager’s back wheel sending both him and Ms Boulton sprawling onto the pavement.

The teen had previously pleaded guilty to riding a bicycle dangerously by riding through a red light at a pedestrian crossing while on one wheel and causing a collision with the tandem on 14 June 2014 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC told Horne his cycling that day had “extremely serious consequences” for 54-year-old Ms Boulton.

Sheriff Welsh said: “Your cycling that day fell far below the standard of that of a competent cyclist.

“The consequences of your dangerous cycling were extremely serious for Kay Boulton.

“However, you have accepted your responsibility and have pled guilty at an early stage and I have to take into account you are only 16.

“I also take into account this type of dangerous conduct is out of character for you.”

Sheriff Welsh ordered Horne, from Gullane, to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and told him he must pay £500 in compensation.

Defending solicitor Alistair Cameron told the court recent press coverage of the case had put Horne’s employment at risk.

Mr Cameron also said the family had been “vilified and ostracised” in their local community due to the ongoing proceedings.

The solicitor also revealed Ms Boulton is currently pursuing civil claims against Horne and the tandem’s pilot Mr Laughton.

Previously, fiscal depute Rosanna Chapman had told the court witnesses had spotted the teenager riding along the village’s main street while on one wheel.

Ms Chapman said: “The complainers were riding a tandem bicycle and approached a traffic signal. The accused came from behind and rode through a red light while doing a wheelie.

“The complainers decided to stay back as his riding was erratic and unpredictable.”

Ms Chapman added Horne then suddenly turned right into the village’s Stanley Street without signalling leading Mr Laughton to crash into the teen’s back wheel.

Both tandem riders subsequently crashed to the pavement with Ms Boulton suffering the more serious injuries as her head smashed into the pavement.

Passers-by rushed to the aid of the two tandem riders while Horne also stopped to assist following the collision.

The court also heard Ms Boulton, from Edinburgh, spent two days in a high dependency unit and two weeks in hospital overall after suffering a fracture to the base of her skull, a fractured hip and a loss of hearing. It was said Ms Boulton now suffers a lack of short term memory which may never be regained.

Ms Chapman added Ms Boulton had recently completed a PHD but the accident will have far-reaching “consequences for both her personal and working life”.