Motorbike pensioner fights to get licence back after crash

Eric Carlson of Myrella Crescent, Sunderland, who has had his driving licence revoked by the DVLA
Eric Carlson of Myrella Crescent, Sunderland, who has had his driving licence revoked by the DVLA
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A MOTORBIKE-mad pensioner is fighting to get back on the road after the DVLA put the brakes on his hobby.

Eric Carlson, 77, was left devastated when his driving licence was revoked after an accident.

Now he is fighting the decision in court in a bid to get back on his bike.

He said: “My whole life revolves around going to shows, rallies and car boot sales.

“I’m not interested in football or anything like that.

“My whole life has been on hold because that is my life.

“I do all the work myself. It’s just devastated my life.”

Mr Carlson was told he was no longer safe to drive after failing a driving appraisal following his accident 18 months ago while he was riding his 1957 Chinese military Chang Jiang bike to a rally.

Losing control on a roundabout, his sidecar clipped an oncoming vehicle, throwing him over the bike’s handlebars.

The father of two broke his collarbone and had to have metal plates inserted in his shoulder.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency told him to have a medical and, shortly before Christmas last year, he underwent an appraisal of his driving skills in a car rather than a motorbike.

Mr Carlson said he was “a bag of nerves” driving a car, something he had to do as the agency had no facilities for conducting the test on a motorbike.

In February, he was told his licence had been revoked by the DVLA because of his health.

The Chang Jiang bike is standing unused in his garage along with his other four bikes, including a 1937 BSA M20, the oldest-known example in the UK.

Mr Carlson had hip and knee replacements seven years ago, but he claims they don’t affect his ability to drive at all, and he says he has only mild arthritis in the other knee. He had been riding motorbikes since he was a teenager.

So far, the retired welder, who lives with wife of 57 years, Ruth, 79, in Sunderland, has spent hundreds of pounds fighting the ban and will appear in court later this month.

“I was told that if I don’t appeal within six months, I could lose my licence altogether, and that would be the end of it.”

A DVLA spokeswoman said “We can confirm that Mr Carlson’s licence was revoked because his driving assessment showed that he wasn’t able to safely drive a vehicle at all times.”