Driver v cyclist conflict reaches shameful low

JANE BOWRON
Last updated 05:54 28/04/2014

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Jane Bowron

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OPINION: If you think the actions of some people shameless, get a load of what a Canadian driver of a SUV has done after hitting and killing one of three teenagers she collided with on their bikes.

Mother-of-three Sharlene Simon, 42, has had the unmitigated gall to sue the dead teenager for the emotional trauma she claims to have suffered, and is also suing the two other boys involved in the accident, as well as the dead boy's parents and his brother who has since died.

Oh, and she is also suing the County of Simcoe (Toronto) where the tragedy took place, for their failure to maintain the road.

On October 28, 2012, 17-year-old Brandon Majewski was killed after being struck from behind by a SUV while his friend Richard McLean, 16, sustained serious injuries and his other mate, Jake Roberts, 16, was knocked from his bike receiving only scratches.

About 1.30am on a dark, rainy night the three boys decided to ride out for takeaways on their bikes. The dead boy's father, Derek Majewski, admits it was late to be out cycling but insists the reflectors on the boys' bikes would have been visible, and says that because it was a dark and drizzly night, the SUV driver, who was doing 90kmh in a 80kmh zone on a two-lane road, should have driven slower because of the conditions.

No charges were laid against the driver, who maintains she did not see the orange-red pedal reflectors, and a report says no breathalyser test was performed as no alcohol was suspected.

Interestingly, Simon's husband, who is a police officer, was driving behind his wife and is hardly mentioned in the police report, even though he witnessed the accident and drove his wife home a short while after the collision.

Obviously the boys' parents are reeling with shock and are justifiably incredulous that Simon is claiming an eye-watering $1.5 million in damages against them due to her psychological suffering, post-traumatic stress, depression, irritability and anxiety. Simon lays the blame for the tragedy at the boys' doors, claiming they were negligent "incompetent bicyclists" whose crime was that "they didn't apply their brakes properly".

Brandon's mother is devastated and cannot believe Simon's shameless fiscal desire to seek profit from killing her child.

"She's in pain? Tell her to look inside my head and she will see pain, she will see panic, she will see nightmares."

There was more pain to come for the Majewskis when their other son, Devon, 23, just after graduating as a paralegal, died of an accidental overdose of pills and alcohol six months after his brother's death.

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The family's lawyer has now counter-sued Simon for medical and funeral costs for the boys and their families, and is alleging the driver may have been drunk and talking on her cellphone.

As anyone who rides a bike knows, even in broad daylight riding close to a SUV is like being a minnow in a swimming pool lane having to contend with a whale.

But without getting into the debate over the cyclists' rights to the road and the perils of pedalling alongside the petrol heads, this story of unbridled opportunism in the face of terrible tragedy, demonstrates how far some people will go to deflect blame away from themselves.

- The Press

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