Driver killed avoiding cyclist

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A MAN died tragically in a head-on car smash after swerving to avoid a cyclist, an inquest heard yesterday.

A MAN died tragically in a head-on car smash after swerving to avoid a cyclist, an inquest heard yesterday.Motorist Keith Minett (60), of Drybread Road, Whittlesey, died of multiple injuries in the collision, which happened on a dark evening on the B1040 between Thorney and Whittlesey, at about 5.30pm, on February 4.

An inquest in Peterborough yesterday was told that Mr Minett had been driving home after a day’s at work as a machine operator in Spalding when he was seen to overtake two cars.

Graham Cook, of Lady Margaret’s Avenue, in Market Deeping, was driving an Audi A4, which was in collision with Mr Minett’s car, with his son in the passenger seat.

He told the inquest: “I knew the moment he pulled back into his own lane that there was going to be a big problem. I could see he hadn’t seen the cyclist.

“When the car hit me I was knocked unconscious. It all happened so fast.”

He said it was a dark evening and the road conditions were good.

Driver Douglas Brackenbury, of Tower Close, Whittlesey, said: “I saw him overtake me, and as he pulled back in front of me, I noticed a cyclist was there and I saw him swerve to miss the cyclist.

“He swerved into the path of an oncoming vehicle. It was a head- on collision.”

The bicycle was being ridden by a 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

A transcript taken from his interview with police Sergeant Nigel Jennings after the collision was read out during the inquest.

In it, the teenager admitted riding his bicycle without lights, but said he had reflectors on his wheels and pedals.

Dr Dalibor Stratil, a pathologist at Peterborough District Hospital, gave the cause of Mr Minett’s death as multiple injuries.

After recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Gordon Ryall said: “There’s no doubt that the presence on the road of an unlit cycle did play a significant part in the incident which led to the death of Mr Minett.

“It is an offence to ride a cycle at night without lights. I hope that this sends out a strong message to cyclists and makes them aware of the dangers.”