A cyclist seriously injured when travelling to work has issued a road safety warning ahead of an expected surge in the number of people commuting by bike.
Father-of-two Darius Kravitz was cycling down Knight’s Hill Road, West Norwood, Lambeth, when a car turned across his path as the driver attempted to turn into Cheviot Road.
Darius, 48 from West Norwood, suffered multiple life-changing injuries, including spinal and rib fractures, a fractured chest bone, a broken left leg as well as a fractured and dislocated right hip.
He spent around two months in Kings College Hospital, where he received life-saving treatment, before being transferred to the Pulross Centre to continue his rehabilitation.
Following the collision, Darius instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him access the specialist rehabilitation and therapies he requires. Darius’ legal team at Irwin Mitchell has secured him a five-figure interim payment to help fund his ongoing rehabilitation.
Using these funds, Darius was able to secure specialist rehabilitation at The Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital, enabling him to be discharged home in early 2021.
Darius, who runs The Legends Barbershop in Holborn and the Strand with his wife, Adrianna, age 42, is now urging people to take care on the roads.
It comes after the driver involved in the collision pleaded guilty to a charge of driving without due care and attention when they appeared at Bromley Magistrates’ Court. The driver received six points on his licence and was fined £394 and ordered to pay court costs of £139.
A survey of 2,000 GB adults commissioned by Irwin Mitchell also found that cycling rates are set to more than double because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Peter Lorence, the expert serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Darius, said after the hearing: “The last few months and how life has changed has been incredibly difficult for Darius and his family. Before the crash he was very active and independent but is now reliant on others and has yet been able to return to work.
“While through early access to rehabilitation Darius has made great progress he still faces many challenges ahead to overcome the serious injuries he suffered.
“We will continue to support Darius and his family so he can make the best recovery possible. In the meantime we join him in urging people to take care on the roads.”
Before the crash, which happened on 11 September last year, Darius’ business had won awards, including the Barber of the Year category at the 2019 London Hair and Beauty Awards.
The couple were eyeing expanding the number of branches they had as well as their online business. However, this has been put on hold because of Darius’s injuries. He said: “The crash is all a bit of a blur. One minute I was cycling to work and the next moment I remember being hit by the car and coming off my bike.
“Ever since then life has completely changed. I loved keeping fit and active and we threw everything into expanding our business. Now that has all changed.
“I’m unable to do things people take for granted, such as picking up my children, and am a lot more reliant on Adrianna. All our plans for the business are on hold while I try and recover.
“I’ve always been determined and that determination is keeping me focused on making the best recovery I can. Getting back to work would be a huge boost and that is my number one aim.
“I just hope that by speaking out people realise the hurt and pain they can cause others and how important it is to take care on the roads.”
Adrianna added: “When I heard Darius had been involved in a collision my heart sank. I immediately thought the worst and seeing him in hospital was absolutely horrible. “Since the crash our lives have been turned upside down. We’re a strong family and a hard-working couple, but now we no longer feel safe. We live in constant insecurity of not knowing what’s going to happen next.
“The collision not just affected our family physically, but also emotionally, socially and financially from a business perspective.
“We can’t thank enough everyone for the help and support they have given our family since. We’re so grateful to all the emergency services, the medical staff and those who saw the collision and came to Darius’ help in the aftermath.
“Despite his challenges we’re so proud of the courage Darius shows each day to make the best recovery.”
The survey commissioned by Irwin Mitchell found people’s transport habits are expected to change as restrictions continue to be eased.
While only six per cent of GB adults said they cycled to work before the first coronavirus lockdown in March 2020, when asked which modes of transport commuters would use after lockdown this figure jumped to 13 per cent, making it the third most popular mode of transport behind personal car at 58 per cent and walking at 26 per cent.
The survey commissioned and released last summer found that before Covid-19, personal car and walking at 39 per cent and 17 per cent respectively were the two most popular ways of getting to work. Catching the bus was third at 11 per cent, followed by catching the overground train at eight per cent and cycling at six per cent.
Following the first lockdown, 58 per cent and 26 per cent respectively of those who commuted to work before restrictions were introduced plan on using a personal car or walking, with 13 per cent planning on cycling. The survey also found that there had been an increase in households taking up cycling. A total of 12 per cent of British households took up cycling during lockdown. Thirty one per cent of 18-24-year-olds had taken up cycling, as had 30 per cent of students surveyed.
Of those questioned just over one in four – 26 per cent – said they were likely to continue cycling post Covid-19. Too much traffic on the roads – 33 per cent – followed by a lack of designated and segregated cycle lanes – 21 per cent – were the biggest factors preventing people from cycling.
A personal lack of cycling experience put off 12 per cent, while eight per cent said a lack of facilities in the workplace such as showers and changing rooms were also a barrier to cycling.
Peter Lorence added: “There are real benefits to cycling – both from a physical and mental health aspect – and we don’t want to put people off from getting on their bikes.
“With businesses hopefully continuing to reopen and employees commuting by bike and car we need people to watch out for each other; to drive and ride sensibly, at the right speeds. Sadly, we see all too often the life-changing impact road injuries have on innocent individuals and their families.”