Motorcyclist who almost lost leg in horror crash hits out after elderly driver is given six-month ban

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John Michaels may never walk again after his horror crash (Picture: SWNS)
John Michaels may never walk again after his horror crash (Picture: SWNS)

A motorcyclist who sustained life-changing injuries when he was hit by an elderly driver has spoken of his anger after it was revealed that the pensioner will be back on the road later this year.

John Michaels, 44, may never walk again after he was thrown from his bike on a country lane – shattering his left leg from the knee down.

He was hit by 83-year-old Brian Leahey, after the elderly driver pulled out of his driveway without properly checking.

John has since been told that it is unlikely that he would have survived the crash if he hadn’t been wearing protective clothing.

He was at serious risk of losing a leg (Picture: SWNS)
He was at serious risk of losing a leg (Picture: SWNS)

But he has now hit out after Leahey was handed just a £200 fine and a six-month driving ban at Chelmsford Magistrates Court.

Leahey was also ordered to pay £90 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to driving without due care and attention.

John said: ‘I don’t hold malice against this man and I am sure it was an accident but he is 85 and you have to question whether he should be allowed to drive again.

‘I don’t know about his health or eyesight but I’ve been told he only drove his 20-year-old car a couple of miles a week to go and pick up a paper.

He is largely restricted to a wheelchair after the incident (Picture: SWNS)
He is largely restricted to a wheelchair after the incident (Picture: SWNS)

‘You pass your test at 17 and you’re not tested ever again. That’s despite being allowed behind the wheel of a lethal weapon that weighs two tonnes and can do 100mph.’

He added: ‘In any other field you are regularly tested to check you’re fit, especially if something goes wrong.

‘It shouldn’t be down to a doctor to tell you if you’re fit to drive, it should be a driving examiner who can determine if you’re safe to be on the road.’

John, who has never had an accident in his 25 years of riding motorbikes, previously commuted from his home in Great Dunmow, Essex, into central London – where he worked as a project manager.

But he was forced to give up work when he was hit on the main road close to his home on August 25 last year.

Michael was heading to work at the time of the horror smash (Picture: SWNS)
Michael was heading to work at the time of the horror smash (Picture: SWNS)

He said: ‘It was a pretty rural area with fairly straight roads. I was about ten minutes away from home on my way to work.

‘I was a clear sunny day and I’ve been told I was doing no more than 30mph on a 40mph road which leads into a 60mph zone.

‘He came to the end of his driveway which joined the road I was on but instead of stopping, he pulled out.

‘It was either a mistake or poor judgement but he could not have hit me better, it was square on.’

Pensioner Brian Leahey was reversing from his home when the incident occurred (Picture: SWNS)
Pensioner Brian Leahey was reversing from his home when the incident occurred (Picture: SWNS)

As a result of the crash, he broke his femur, tibia, fibia and left ankle.

John said: “I remember absolutely none of it. There was an air ambulance there in no time and they rushed me to hospital but I have no recollection of what happened.’

After arriving at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, doctors fitted John with temporary splints before they carried out a number of scans and X-rays.

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In a desperate bid to repair his leg, doctors have fitted a metal cage which is drilled through his bones and muscles.

They have also removed three inches of bone above his ankle and the frame will move the bone down as it tightens each day.

John said: ‘It’s had such a huge impact on my life. My wife and I had planned to have children this year but I’m not even strong enough to carry a bag of shopping, let alone a baby.’

Now, he is calling for drivers to be formally tested at regular intervals to ensure they are safe on the road.

It is unclear whether Mr Leahey plans to continue driving once the ban is lifted, but he has refused to talk to press.