Cyclist left with life-long brain damage after being hit with loose bales near Exeter

The 69-year-old cyclist suffered numerous injuries including brain damage and a fractured spine. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

A farm worker has been convicted after not securing straw bales to his trailer which fell on a cyclist causing him life-long brain damage.

The 69-year-old victim suffered a bleed on the brain and was in a coma for 13 days.

The man faced numerous other injuries including two fractures to his spine and will never recover fully from the brain damage which has caused partial blindness.

Matthew Shapcott from Silverton has been convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving after pleading guilty at Exeter Crown Court. He has been sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 140 hours unpaid work.

In August 2019, the 39-year-old loaded a trailer with huge straw bales and failed to secure them to the trailer, despite having ratchet straps in the vehicle.

While driving along a road in Netherexe, near Exeter, one of the bales fell from the trailer striking a passing male cyclist who suffered significant, life changing injuries as a result.

Motor Patrol Constable Hamilton-Schaschke said the devastating incident was entirely avoidable.

He said “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."

Police are warning people to make sure they properly secure their loads when they are driving, whatever the load may be, to avoid tragedies like this.