A cyclist is suing an investment banker for £50,000 over a bicycle crash he claims was caused by her dog.
David Crane, 70, was riding to work across a park on his morning commute when Carina Read’s cocker spaniel ran into his path while chasing a ball.
The publishing executive says he was left brain-damaged after it caused him to brake hard, sending him flying over the handlebars.
He claims the incident in March 2016, on Acton Green Common, in London, has affected his ability to work and that he can no longer drive or enjoy his hobby of skiing.
He alleges Ms Read, an Irish financier and entrepreneur, negligently failed to keep her pet under control while exercising him on the common.
But Ms Read, 48, claims Mr Crane should not have been cycling in the park, that her dog Felix was fully under control and the incident was merely a ‘freak occurrence’.
Left, Dog owner Carina Read outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Right, Ms Read is being sued by cyclist David Crane (right outside court), who says he was left brain-damaged after her dog caused him to brake hard, sending him flying over the handlebars
Mr Crane is also suing Ms Read under the 1972 Animals Act, but her lawyers say the Act only relates to damage done by a dangerous animal and that Felix (pictured) was not remotely dangerous
In documents filed at Central London County Court she argues cycling across the park’s path was barred by a local borough bye-law.
The businesswoman had been using a ‘thrower’ to cast a ball for Felix and was standing around ten metres from the path at the time.
‘She threw the ball parallel to the path and at the time she did so it was clear,’ her barrister, Nigel Lewers, said.
‘Felix went after the ball and it bounced off his head, deflecting to the left towards the path.
‘At that point she became aware of Mr Crane cycling at speed with his head down.
‘She tried to warn him, but Felix chased the ball across the path and was struck by the front wheel of his bicycle.’
The accident was not ‘foreseeable’, Mr Lewers told the court, adding: ‘Acton Green Common was a public space enjoyed by adults and children alike – including those exercising their dogs.
‘Cycling was not permitted. Ms Read submits that it is not fair, just and reasonable to impose a duty of care on a lawful user of the common in favour of one who should not have been there.
‘She was doing what she and no doubt many others had done in the same or similar areas of the common – throwing a ball for her dog down an open strip of grass and not in the direction of the path.
‘The chance of Felix deflecting the ball beyond the daffodils and across the path must have been remote.’
But Mr Crane denied claims that he was hurrying to get to work on time and that he failed to keep a proper look out and cycled too fast along the path.
He said he had gone back home to get his helmet, which he had forgotten, but was still well on time when he set out across the common.
In documents filed at Central London County Court, Ms Read (left) argues cycling across the park’s path was barred by a local borough bye-law
Mr Crane denied claims he had ‘sped’ down the path to get to work on time and failed to keep a proper look out. He insists he had no time to avoid the spaniel (pictured), despite riding at no more than 5mph
He insists he had no time to avoid the spaniel, despite riding at no more than 5mph.
He told the court: ‘The first time I was aware of the dog was when it was right in front of me. It happened in a split second.’
He also insisted riding too fast would have been impossible for him as he was overweight.
He said: ‘I was very overweight and cycling fast was not something I did. I was 18 stone at the time.’
The publishing executive, who had been wearing a helmet but suffered a brain haemorrhage after coming off, also denied having struck Felix with his wheel, telling the judge: ‘I don’t believe I hit the dog.’
He is demanding thousands in compensation. He is also suing Ms Read under the 1972 Animals Act, but her lawyers say the Act only relates to damage done by a dangerous animal and that Felix was not remotely dangerous.
Mr Lewers told the court: ‘Felix was not dangerous. He was running to catch a ball which he momentarily knocked off course into Mr Crane’s path. It was a one-off, freak occurrence.’
The case was adjourned to a date yet to be fixed for the barristers’ final submissions.