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Hay bale strike leads to cyclist's brain damage

The bale seriously injured a cyclist (courtesy: Devon and Cornwall Police)

Driver guilty of dangerous drving

A farm worker has been convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving after failing to secure a load of straw bales which fell on to a cyclist causing him brain damage from which he’ll never recover.

Matthew Shapcott, 40, from Silverton, pleaded guilty to the offence at Exeter Crown Court and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He must also undertake 140 hours of unpaid work.

On 2 August 2 2019, Mr Shapcott loaded a trailer with huge straw bales, but didn't secure them to the trailer, even though he had ratchet straps in the vehicle. While driving along a road in Netherexe, near Exeter, a bale fell off and hit a passing cyclist who suffered significant, life changing injuries as a result.

The 69-year-old man had a bleed on the brain and was in a coma for 13 days. He also received numerous other injuries, including two fractures to his spine. He will never recover from the brain damage which has caused partial blindness.

Motor patrol constable Hamilton-Schaschke, said: “This devastating incident was all entirely avoidable if Shapcott had simply secured the load.

“The victim’s quality of life and independence has been severely impaired. Shapcott’s lax attitude to what was a simple but essential safety measure has had a catastrophic impact upon the victim who has been robbed of what should have been a relaxing retirement.

“This incident should serve as a reminder to motorists to ensure they secure their loads, whatever it is they are transporting, wherever they are going, when travelling on public roads, so tragedies such as this are avoided.”

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