A motorcyclist who crashed into a pedestrian who was crossing the road in Carrick-on-Shannon was convicted of careless driving at the local District Court.
Vytautus Zasytis, 1 Kilboderry, Summerhill, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim was driving his motorbike on June 21, 2019 when his motorbike collided with Katie Galin as she crossed the N4.
Ms Galin, speaking through a Polish interpreter, told the court that she left her house at about 8pm that day to walk to Tesco.
She walked up the left hand side of the bypass road and began to cross at the Shannon roundabout. She checked to see if anything was coming and crossed to the island in the middle of the road.
She checked again and then went to cross the remainder of the road. She said she had one foot on the path when she saw a motorbike coming. She saw the rider’s face and he reacted like he had only just seen her at that moment.
She said he started to wobble and slid sideways on the road and the side of the bike came into contact with her. Her left leg was broken in three places and she underwent an operation the following day.
Solicitor, Peter Collins, said the defendant was driving a large BMW 1200GS and it was very loud. He was coming from the Circular Road and he could see her even before he reached the roundabout. He said she was stopped on the island and not moving,
Ms Galin said in her opinion he didn’t notice her at all. She said her right foot was on the footpath and her left foot was on the road, it was her left foot that was broken.
Garda Sinead McHale said she attended the scene of the accident at 8.10pm on that date. The driver of the motorbike was breathalysed and passed.
She said that in his statement, Mr Zasytis said he was going to visit his friend. He said he looked and saw no cars coming. He saw the woman on the island, she was stopped and he thought she was letting him go through so he kept going.
He said she crossed into the middle of the road and the only way he could avoid hitting her was to slide the bike on the road, that was the quickest way to stop. He said he dislocated his thumb.
Garda McHale said the injured lady was lying on the road, very close to the footpath, and the motorbike was on its side a short distance from her.
Mr Zasytis, in his evidence, said he saw her before he came to the roundabout, he looked left out towards Tesco to see if any cars were coming. There wasn’t any and he kept driving and then he saw her in the middle of the road.
He said he has been driving motorbikes since he was 13 and he jammed his brakes. He said he doesn’t know how she didn’t see him, or hear him as he has a loud exhaust. He said he also has an extra light on the front of the bike as well.
Inspector Emmet Treacy said he has experience of riding motorcycles and said to the defendant that sliding a bike on the road was reckless and careless and meant that he had given up on braking. He said the best way to stop a bike on the road was by use of the brakes.
Judge Kevin Kilrane said the motorcyclist was completely at fault in this accident.
He said he approached the roundabout and the lady was on the island on the other side.
He knew he was going straight through and he should have anticipated that the lady would cross the road, the judge said.
Judge Kilrane said she wouldn’t have known which direction he was taking and thought it quite safe to cross the road to the footpath to take her out to Tesco.
He said the motorcyclist said he saw her before he reached the roundabout and didn’t see her again until she was in the middle of the road.
“He panicked, he knew he couldn’t stop and the bike went out of control,” Judge Kilrane said.
He said he owns a motorcycle himself and he said he has never heard of throwing yourself to one side to avoid something and said it made absolutely no sense.
Judge Kilrane said the reality was the motorbike went out of control because he saw the lady at the last second in front of him on the road.
“The defendant is utterly responsible for the accident, I can’t see what she did wrong,” he said.
The court heard Mr Zasytis had no previous convictions.
He said it was an accident and accidents can happen but he didn’t see a pedestrian on the road and that was “a cardinal sin”
He said he had to convict. He fined him €200, allowing four months to pay. Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal.