Feb 6 2010 by Alan Weston, Liverpool Echo
A TEENAGE cyclist died after riding his bike directly into the path of an oncoming car, an inquest heard.
Lewis Walsh, 16, was not wearing a helmet and may have been distracted by loud music on his headphones when he was involved in the fatal collision on the High Street, Woolton Village, last September.
The inquest was told that the car, a Renault Clio, was being driven nearly 10mph over the speed limit when it hit Lewis on a pedestrian crossing.
But the coroner, Martin Fleming, was told this was not a contributing factor to the tragedy as the driver would have had no time to avoid hitting Lewis even if the car had been travelling at a lower speed.
The inquest at Liverpool coroners’ court heard that the Renault Clio was being driven by Thomas Dillon, with Nyall Jones as a front-seat passenger.
They had been at Wavertree leisure centre for a football match and were driving back home shortly after 10pm.
Mr Dillon said the traffic lights on the pedestrian crossing, at the junction of the High Street and Woolton Street, were on green as he approached.
He told the inquest: “I couldn’t be certain about my speed, but it was not excessive.
“I was just driving through the lights, when in a split second there was a bike in front of the car.”
Mr Dillon said he swerved the car in an attempt to avoid the cyclist and ended up hitting the front wall of a nearby shop.
James Bradshaw, a bus driver who witnessed the collision, said the car had overtaken his stationary bus on the road as it approached the pedestrian crossing.
He said: “I didn’t see the cyclist look left or right, he came straight across the carriageway without stopping.
“I didn’t see any lights and he was not wearing a helmet.”
Mr Bradshaw said the traffic lights changed from green to amber just as the cyclist was crossing the carriageway.
He said: “The driver swerved to his left but there was no time to do anything else.
“He was driving slightly too quickly, but not at excessive speed.”
Mr Bradshaw said he always approached the crossing with extra care because the lay-out of the central reservation meant pedestrians had a restricted view of the road.
Accident investigation officer PC Simon Richards said the cyclist should have dismounted on both the central reservation and pedestrian crossing.
He said Lewis had been riding his bike in a “careless, inappropriate and unlawful way”, which was compounded by his not wearing a helmet and possibly not hearing approaching vehicles because of his headphones.
Questioned by Lewis’s mum, Jackie, PC Richards said the speed of the vehicle was not a contributory factor.
He added: “The collision would still have been inevitable at a lower speed.”
Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Fleming said the collision had led to the loss of a “very promising young life.”
He said Lewis had “done everything you shouldn’t do” when riding a bike by crossing the road when it was unsafe to do so, not having a helmet and being distracted by his headphones.
The inquest was attended by Lewis’s mum Jackie, his girlfriend Grace, and other family members and friends.
Lewis, of Childwall Priory Road, Childwall, attended St Francis Xavier College.