Cyclist hit with £2,500 bill after bicycle trail car crash

PUBLISHED: 07:58 17 July 2013 | UPDATED: 07:58 17 July 2013

Zoe Mack from St Johns Road with her cycle helmet that was heavily damaged following a collison with a car in Exton last year. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 3797-28-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Photo Orders.

Zoe Mack from St Johns Road with her cycle helmet that was heavily damaged following a collison with a car in Exton last year. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 3797-28-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Photo Orders.

Archant

A teenage cyclist, who has to pay £2,500 in damages after a collision involving a car on the Exe Estuary Cycle Trail, has called for safety improvements on the route.

Zoe Mack, 19, from St Johns Road, was taken to Exeter County Court last week and ordered to pay for the damage caused to the car following the accident last August along the Exton section of the trail.

The cycle trail joins the road at Exton, instead of following a separate route alongside the estuary, eventually turning back to the riverside trail.

Zoe had been returning from work in Topsham, but as she emerged at the Exton Lane junction with Station Road, there was a collision.

The impact caused her to roll over the car bonnet – she suffered bruising and cracked her helmet as she hit the road.

Zoe, an artist who also teaches music to youngsters, said: “Many cyclists who are not confident on the roads use the trail because it is supposed to be safer.”

She called the junction ‘dangerous’ because a hedge blocks the view of traffic coming from the right.

“It should have a stop sign and a green area on the road reserved for cyclists to wait at the junction until it is clear,” she added.

“What kind of message does this give? You can use the cycle path, but there is a danger you could have an accident and then get sued for damages.”

Adrian Toole, of XCycle, which campaigns for more people to use the route and for a new cycle facility in Exmouth, said: “It should be made clear to both cyclists and drivers it is a dangerous junction.”

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: “There are some sections where trail users rejoin the highway shared with other local traffic.

“It is the responsibility for all highway users to pay attention for one another and abide by the Highway Code.”

A spokesman for Sustrans, which promotes cycling and cyclepaths, said: “The Exe Estuary Trail is a popular cycling and walking route which runs partly on quiet roads. It is important that these roads - in particular the junctions - are designed to encourage cycling and be as safe as possible.

“The roads are shared spaces so the needs of cyclists and motorised vehicles are considered equally in planning, but all users need to be aware that they are in a shared space and behave accordingly, looking out for each other and keeping speeds down to a sensible and legal level.

“With all these things happening, quiet roads are perfectly safe places to ride your bike.”

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