A pedal cyclist on his way to work was mown down by a lorry driver, who inexplicably had been “avoidably distracted.”

A court heard yesterday that the victim - also a hgv driver - suffered multiple broken bones and is still off work nine months later.

Anthony O’Rourke had been cycling along a deserted straight road wearing all the appropriate reflective clothing, when the lorry driven by Alun Tarr came up behind and ploughed straight into him.

“It is simply inexplicable as to how Mr Tarr did not see him,” said Damian Nolan, prosecuting.

“The vehicle has simply driven into and over the bike causing Mr O’Rourke to become dislodged and he ended up on the side of the road where he was found by the emergency services.”

The 42-year-old victim suffered a broken collar bone, five fractured ribs, two fractures to his neck and several cracked vertebrae, one of them “completely crushed,” and three broken teeth.

While the fractures have healed he is awaiting physiotherapy for his spinal injuries, still suffers nightmares and panic attacks and has not yet been able to cope with having necessary dental work.

Although he lives in the Anfield area of Liverpool, his children live in Dublin with his ex-partner and he is upset at not having been able to see them since the accident.

Tarr, a father-of-six, of The Avenue, Leigh, Greater Manchester, had been due to face trial for causing serious injury by dangerous driving but changed his plea to guilty.

He admitted the offence on the basis he had become “avoidably distracted” and after the crash called the emergency services and meanwhile gave what help he could to the victim.

Mr Nolan said that there was no evidence that Tarr, 34, who had been driving a lorry for XPO Logistics from Doncaster to Liverpool docks with goods for B & Q, had been exceeding the 40 mph speed limit, been using a mobile phone or affected by drink or drugs.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the incident happened at 4.45 am on February 17 this year on Queens Drive, Walton, as the lorry and cyclist were both in the inside lane heading north west and there were no other vehicles around. There was no sign that Tarr had braked before the impact and there was a large dent to the front offside of his vehicle.

Mr O’Rourke, who spent four days in hospital and was housebound for some time after his discharge, told how he has been unable to return to work until his phsyiotherapy is finished and he has suffered financially.

He has also changed from being a “relaxed laid back person so one who is anxious and anxious and it has adversely affected his relationship with his partner.”

Fit and healthy he used to cycle to and from work and as a hobby but now feels unable to even go walking with his dogs and cycling makes him anxious, said Mr Nolan.

“I am still terrified about whether I will return to the way I was, both physically and mentally,” stated Mr O’Rourke.

Osman Munir, defending, said that the defendant, has no previous convictions and has been a hgv driver for four years.

“He has been dismissed and is unlikely to secure any similar employment given the gravity of the offence. He is receiving job seekers allowance.”

He said that Tarr, who has 11-week-old twins, one of whom has kidney failure, is “extremely remorseful” for the incident and he takes full responsibility for it.

Asked by the judge why he had become avoidably distracted Mr Munir said Tarr had “no explanation. He failed to see the cyclist in the road.”

Imposing a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years the judge, Recorder Andrew McLoughlin said that Tarr appeared to have had a “significant lapse of concentration.”

He told Tarr, “I seriously considered sending you to prison today and the fact you have six children does not allow you to escape a custodial sentence.”

But he added that he had decided on balance to suspend the sentence. He also banned him from driving for three years, ordered him to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and pay £390 costs.