Driver had no time to react before hitting Shildon cyclist, inquest hears (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Driver had no time to react before hitting Shildon cyclist, inquest hears
A DRIVER who hit a cyclist while travelling on an unlit road in the early hours in the morning would have had seconds to react, an inquest has heard.
A post mortem examination found that Mr Little, of Kilburn Street, Shildon, had a blood alcohol reading of 198mg in 100ml of blood, more than twice the legal driving limit of 80mg.
Mr Duffin, 24, who was driving to his job at a newsagent to start work at 5.30am, gave evidence at the hearing and said he caught sight of Mr Little, who was travelling in the same direction, seconds before the collision.
He said: “I came off the roundabout at the top of the hill and dipped my headlights because there were cars coming in the opposite direction.
“I started to accelerate down the hill and there was suddenly a cyclist in my field of vision. I swerved to the right but hit him. I had no more than a second or two between seeing him and the collision.”
PC Michael Baxter, from Durham Police’s collisions investigation unit, told the court that Mr Little was riding a bike without lights or reflectors on a road without street lights.
He estimated that Mr Duffin was travelling at less than 52mph on a road with a 60mph speed limit and that his reaction times, driving in the dark with dipped headlights, would not have given him chance to avoid Mr Little.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Andrew Tweddle said: “Mr Duffin was travelling downhill on a dark road, with headlights from cars coming in the opposite direction.
“We can presume that a driver would not expect to see an unlit pedal cycle at 5am. All these factors converge together to make it very difficult for a driver to see an unlit pedal cyclist at that time and that place.”
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