Langar bike rider thrown through window calls for new test
A MOTORCYCLIST who was thrown through a van window at 40mph when the vehicle cut across him has spoken of the battle to rebuild his life.
Meyrick Wilkie broke his ribs, arms and neck and lost sensation in one hand.
He is calling for stricter driving licence rules after it emerged in court that the van driver was found to need glasses to drive during a test after the accident.
Mr Wilkie, of Barnstone, near Langar, said: "There's no legislation that forces drivers to have their eyes tested – it's something you do voluntarily when you think you might need to.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"When your car gets older, you have to have it tested but there's nothing saying as a driver you should be tested as you get older. This was an accident waiting to happen and was preventable."
It happened on March 28 as Mr Wilkie rode towards Lowdham on the A612. He hit the van as it turned into a driveway.
The 27-year-old has no memory of the impact and woke up in the Queen's Medical Centre, where he spent two months.
He missed out on taking up a job as a centre manager for an outdoor activity company and is still unable to work while he recovers from his injuries.
Mr Wilkie added: "It was many months, after skin grafts and numerous operations, until I regained just minimal hand movement and I am still undergoing extensive physiotherapy."
He is unsure whether he will be able to ride a motorbike again. The van driver was arrested and charged with driving without due care and attention. At Nottingham Magistrates' Court earlier this month the man, who is in his 50s, was fined £220 and ordered to pay £35 costs and a £15 victim surcharge after he admitted the offence.
Road safety charity Brake yesterday backed Mr Wilkie's call. Spokesman Nick Batty said it wanted the Government to make it compulsory for drivers to have an eyesight test with a professional at the start of their driving career.
They should then have to have a re-test at least every 10 years and at the same time as renewing photo-card licences.
Mr Batty added: "Being able to see clearly what's in front and around you is fundamental to safe driving.
"Violent and devastating casualties on our roads could be prevented through simple eye examinations.
"All drivers can help make our roads safer by getting their eyes tested at least every two years, even if they think their vision is perfect, or straight away if they notice a problem."
Licence rules say drivers must be able to read a car number plate from 20 metres – with glasses or contact lenses if necessary. But there is no official check to ensure they can do this, other than when someone takes their test.
A spokesman for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency said there were no plans to introduce regular mandatory eye tests connected with driving licences.
"Britain has some of the safest roads in the world and licensing rules have an important role in maintaining this position," he said. "All drivers are required by law to meet the appropriate eyesight standard at all times while driving.
"We remind drivers of the ongoing requirement to meet the eyesight standard and that failure to meet the standard is an offence – this is also included in the Highway Code.
"The number plate test is a simple and effective assessment of vision and can be reproduced regularly by motorists to check whether they meet the standards themselves and by police at the roadside."