A cyclist who suffered horrific leg injuries following the actions of a careless driver has called on all road users to be mindful of others.
Factory worker Mark Kitchin was left with life-changing injuries to his left leg after being hit by a car on a snowy day on October 2, 2021. Mark was cycling home from work when, at the roundabout at the junction of the A195 and Station Road in Washington, he was hit by a Vauxhall Astra. Despite wearing reflective clothing and having lights on his bike and helmet, the driver claimed he had failed to see Mark. He stayed at the scene as paramedics arrived but later left without giving his full details.
Following an investigation from Northumbria Police, officers managed to track down the driver who was duly arrested and later convicted at court. The collision saw Mark suffer a fractured ankle in four places and a broken leg and has been left in agonising pain since the incident. Despite multiple surgeries he is currently unable to work and has been for the past year.
Speaking from his home in Birtley as he continues his recovery, the 51-year-old said: “I think sadly there is still a negative attitude generally towards cyclists, but they are just like anyone else, trying to get from A to B. I’ve cycled on that road for years so I knew the traffic patterns well and I was visible with the reflective clothing I was wearing and the lights on my bike. I’ve now been off work for a year with my injuries. Hopefully I’ll be getting the cage off my leg soon and I can try to get back to normal.”
On June 21, the driver pleaded guilty to careless driving and driving without a valid MOT. He was subsequently handed five penalty points and a £714 fine by magistrates in South Tyneside. He was also ordered to pay £85 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £71.
After seeing the driver convicted at court, Mark also praised Northumbria Police’s officers for their work on the case. “They’ve been amazing,” he said. “I wasn’t looking for revenge, only justice and the Force has helped get me that.”
PC Kevin Atkinson, of Northumbria Police, said: “We know the long-lasting impact that serious or fatal road traffic collisions can have on victims and their families. That’s why we all have a responsibility to make sure we drive in a safe and careful manner, and ensure we protect all road users as much as possible. I would like to thank Mark for his cooperation and patience throughout this case, and hope his story sends out a strong reminder to everyone – please be vigilant and respect other road users.
“Please make sure your vehicles are road worthy at all times and that your vehicle’s windows are clear. This can be a particular issue during bad weather and can increase the risk of collisions. By working together, we can all help to reduce the number of serious or fatal collisions across our region and ensure our roads are a safe place for all.”