Cyclist sues cyclist over crash damages

Potentially worrying precedent for group rides?

Crashing in a group is not uncommon

In a case that might have far-reaching implications for cyclists riding in organised groups, a Scottish cyclist is seeking damages from a fellow rider after being seriously injured in a crash.


According to a report on the BBC, John Telfer and Gordon Macpherson were part of a group who regularly rode together. Telfer was seriously injured during a ride with the group on 15 June 2003 and is claiming £370,000 compensation from Macpherson.

A jury at Edinburgh Court of Session will decide whether Macpherson was responsible for the crash. The court was told on Tuesday that damages had been agreed at £370,000 but what was in dispute was liability for the crash itself.

Telfer told the court that when the crash occurred he was part of a group of nine riders travelling at about 25mph. He said Macpherson and his son Colin were at the front of the group, and had started sprinting.

“I saw Gordon Macpherson do this movement from left to right across the road,” said Telfer. “I remember seeing his hands go down to the side of the handlebars.

“I got a clear view of when his hands came down and effectively lost control of the bike,” he said.

Telfer said that MacPherson lost control of his bike and fell off, as did other riders in the group. Although he had time to take evasive action, doing so put him in the verge where he went over the handlebars.

“I just remember an almighty crunch at the back of my neck and I lost consciousness for a period of time. I regained consciousness and was unable to move,” he said. 

Telfer suffered temporary paralysis and had to undergo an operation to his spine. He was subsequently retired from his job at the Scottish Prison Service on medical grounds.

Telfer’s junior counsel, Lisa Henderson told the court that it was agreed Macpherson had lost control of his bike when he rode over a manhole cover. But she claimed that Macpherson was holding his hands in such a way that he did not have proper control over his bike at the time, and so his hands slipped off the handlebars and he lost control.


The case continues to be heard in the Court of Session today.