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"If she was wearing a helmet she would still be alive" said grieving husband of Carmen Greenway...

A woman who died falling from her bicycle seconds after taking a selfie suffered a heart attack as a rare complication of a head injury, a court has heard.

 New Zealand born Carmen Greenway was cycling home from a pub in west London last August with her mother Sherry Bennett and two friends when her bike hit a “rough” patch in the road.

The mother of two had drunk two cocktails and four glasses of wine.

Her husband, Rufus, said: “She’d been taking selfies and had one hand on the bars. It was bumpy and she just jack-knifed the bars, threw herself off the bike and fractured her skull. It wasn’t the cycling that killed her, it was a tragic mistake. She was close to home, relaxed and having a lovely time.”

As we reported at the time, she was rushed to intensive care at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington where she died six days later after going into cardiac arrest. Her funeral was held last month.

Southwark Coroner’s Court was told her head injury caused her to suffer an epileptic seizure and heart attack in hospital.

Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said: "A CT scan confirmed the injuries. She had two fractures and significant contusion and bruising to the right side, affecting the temporal and frontal lobe.”

As reported by Stuff, she added: "At the end of the day we have to come down to the view that the death of Carmen Greenway was as a result of a tragic accident.

"The fact that she sustained a fall from her bike on August 18, that it caused a brain injury and she has suffered a complication, a very rare complication, of that injury, which is an epileptic seizure.”

Her husband has repeatedly made the point that had she been wearing a helmet, Carmen might have survived the fall.

Rufus said: "She had been taking some selfies on the main road, she did that regularly. She was not taking it at the moment of the accident.

"She was 100 metres from our house, one hand on the bars, quite relaxed, and probably had had a drink.

"She cycled that way every weekend and perhaps it was familiarity breeding contempt.

"It's unfortunately an unfortunate accident. If she was wearing a helmet she would still be alive."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

43 comments

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Woldsman [180 posts] 4 weeks ago
15 likes

All very sad. I suppose it's perfectly natural for a grieving husband to want to blame the cause of his wife's death on something she didn't choose to do, rather than something she actually did. 

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ChairRDRF [361 posts] 4 weeks ago
14 likes

My experience of people whose loved ones have died in road crashes is that , as human  beings with desperate psychological needs for an answer, they often want to focus on a simplistic "solution" to how their loved one died.

Not (a) consuming alcohol or (b) using one hand to steer on a bumpy off-road track. Nor the recognition that there was a very rare complication.

No, once again it is the big red herring of our times.

But like so many things that appear simple, I believe it is simplistic and doesn't really take us forward.

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don simon [1309 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

RIP sister.

Quote:

Her husband has repeatedly made the point that had she been wearing a helmet, Carmen might have survived the fall.

Rufus said: "She had been taking some selfies on the main road, she did that regularly. She was not taking it at the moment of the accident.

"She was 100 metres from our house, one hand on the bars, quite relaxed, and probably had had a drink.

One day it'll all make sense. You have my sympathies.

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ChairRDRF [361 posts] 4 weeks ago
4 likes

Just in case that seems callous, I should point out that I have nothing but sympathy for the people - I have met too many of them - who have been so traumatically bereaved.

Sometimes victim families can campaign hard for moves which do take us forward toa decent and civilised aproach to the danger leading to road deaths and injuries.

Someimes I worry that their focus takes us up blind alleys.

I would advocate that anybody who has lost a loved one in a road crash contacts the excellent national road crash victims' charity RoadPeace 
http://www.road-peace.org.uk and that the rest of us donate to support its work.

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check12 [134 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

Sorry for your loss, he says a helmet may have saved her life, it may have. It doesn't say he's campaigning or similar for helmets in any way in this article which may be a good thing, let her go and be at peace with the world. 

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wycombewheeler [1201 posts] 4 weeks ago
9 likes
check12 wrote:

Sorry for your loss, he says a helmet may have saved her life, it may have. It doesn't say he's campaigning or similar for helmets in any way in this article which may be a good thing, let her go and be at peace with the world. 

He isn't but others are and it would be naive to think they won't use his comments.

Better by far not to fall off than to fall off wearing a helmet.

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beezus fufoon [862 posts] 4 weeks ago
8 likes

had she been wearing a helmet she wouldn't have been taking selfies - the argument is perfectly circular!

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Yorkshire wallet [1426 posts] 4 weeks ago
11 likes

So the lesson is - if you must drink and drive whilst endulging in phone use - wear a helmet.

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madcarew [447 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like
wycombewheeler wrote:
check12 wrote:

Sorry for your loss, he says a helmet may have saved her life, it may have. It doesn't say he's campaigning or similar for helmets in any way in this article which may be a good thing, let her go and be at peace with the world. 

He isn't but others are and it would be naive to think they won't use his comments. Better by far not to fall off than to fall off wearing a helmet.

Yes, but if you are going to fall off whilst travelling slowly, far better to do it with a helmet on than without. 

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cyclisto [274 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

I can really feel the loss that her loved ones face, but I am not very sure that there are many drunk selfies taking cyclists who wear helmet. But yes, her life could have been saved had she been wearing a helmet.

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maviczap [84 posts] 4 weeks ago
5 likes

Think there needs to be a campaign to stop taking pointless selfies

Sorry for his loss, but if she'd walked off a cliff taking a selfie. It would have be death by misadventure.

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Hypoxic [51 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

Obviously a textbook of what not to do on a bike but of course who can say they've never done anything silly and dangerous before that they wish they could press the replay button on? Yep... a tragic accident indeed. Sorry to the family on their loss.

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hawkinspeter [945 posts] 4 weeks ago
2 likes

I think he's right, but had the focus wrong. What we need is a nationwide campaign to force compulsory helmet wearing for taking selfies. People aren't paying attention to their surroundings whilst taking selfies and need the extra protection. The fact that she was cycling is irrelevant as she could just as easily have fallen over whilst trying to strike a pose.

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wellsprop [373 posts] 4 weeks ago
9 likes

"The mother of two had drunk two cocktails and four glasses of wine"

"She’d been taking selfies and had one hand on the bars. It was bumpy and she just jack-knifed the bars"

Yeah, not wearing a helmet was the issue here.

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handlebarcam [1043 posts] 4 weeks ago
5 likes

People who are drunk and taking selfies while riding a bike should definitely wear helmets. I'd even go as far as supporting the introduction of legislation requiring it for those particular set of circumstances. Just like I'd support a law compelling people wandering around the African savannah alone having smeared themselves with gazelle blood to carry a tranquillizer gun. Or people playing hopscotch on broken glass while barefoot... not doing that.

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craigstitt [73 posts] 4 weeks ago
8 likes

As much as I have sympathy for the families loss..... the cause of death was not the lack of a helmet.  It was the stupidity of the cyclist.... and you can't legislate for stupidity.

Legislating for the effects of an accident is not dealing with the cause.  The cause was recklessness and stupidity on behalf of the cyclist which is what should be being addressed.

If this had been "Drink driver crashed their car into a tree whilst taking selfie, and dies of a heart attack brought on by their head injury" what would the husband say?  That car drivers should wear helmets too?

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OldRidgeback [2799 posts] 4 weeks ago
4 likes

If she'd not been under the influence of alcohol, she perhaps would've had more sense than to take a selfie while cycling. I can understand he's traumatised by her death, but he's looking at this incident from the wrong perspective. Does he assume it's ok to be under the influence of alcohol while cycling along taking selfies?

 

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clayfit [101 posts] 4 weeks ago
4 likes

She died:

- as a result of head injuries 

- as a result of losing control of her bike while riding distracted and one-handed

- as a result of impaired judgement after consuming alcohol

- while riding along a badly-maintained road

Take away any one of these nested root causes and the victim does not die.  

That's how safety (e.g. in factories) works, by having multiple layers of protection, so that one or more can fail without injuring or killing someone.  In industry, the only acceptable rate of accidents is zero.

At the bottom of this was the poor road surface.  We accept terrible infrastructure in the UK.  A helmet is not the answer- it just mitigates the result of an incident that has already happened and that  could/should have been prevented.

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Alan Williams [14 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Very sad and tragic event, perhaps a learning for some reading the article, my sincere thoughts to the family xx

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Zebulebu [70 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like
clayfit wrote:

She died:

- as a result of head injuries 

- as a result of losing control of her bike while riding distracted and one-handed

- as a result of impaired judgement after consuming alcohol

- while riding along a badly-maintained road

Take away any one of these nested root causes and the victim does not die.  

That's how safety (e.g. in factories) works, by having multiple layers of protection, so that one or more can fail without injuring or killing someone.  In industry, the only acceptable rate of accidents is zero.

At the bottom of this was the poor road surface.  We accept terrible infrastructure in the UK.  A helmet is not the answer- it just mitigates the result of an incident that has already happened and that  could/should have been prevented.

Probably not the appropriate place to make this comment, but that's a pretty silly response. You list some (probably not all) of the contributing factors, state (correctly) that they all combined to result in her death, then seek to single out one of those factors as the root cause? You might as well say that at the bottom of it was the fact she wasn't wearing a helmet (slow speed crash, she might not have died if the helmet took the brunt of the impact), or that she was drunk (imparied response to an unexpected event) or she was taking selfies (lack of concentration on operating the bike) etc etc

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hawkinspeter [945 posts] 4 weeks ago
3 likes
Zebulebu wrote:
clayfit wrote:

She died:

- as a result of head injuries 

- as a result of losing control of her bike while riding distracted and one-handed

- as a result of impaired judgement after consuming alcohol

- while riding along a badly-maintained road

Take away any one of these nested root causes and the victim does not die.  

That's how safety (e.g. in factories) works, by having multiple layers of protection, so that one or more can fail without injuring or killing someone.  In industry, the only acceptable rate of accidents is zero.

At the bottom of this was the poor road surface.  We accept terrible infrastructure in the UK.  A helmet is not the answer- it just mitigates the result of an incident that has already happened and that  could/should have been prevented.

Probably not the appropriate place to make this comment, but that's a pretty silly response. You list some (probably not all) of the contributing factors, state (correctly) that they all combined to result in her death, then seek to single out one of those factors as the root cause? You might as well say that at the bottom of it was the fact she wasn't wearing a helmet (slow speed crash, she might not have died if the helmet took the brunt of the impact), or that she was drunk (imparied response to an unexpected event) or she was taking selfies (lack of concentration on operating the bike) etc etc

I fail to see how not wearing a helmet had any bearing on whether or not the accident happened - it just possibly had an effect on the results of the accident.

I agree that the poor road surface isn't the root cause - I'd be more likely to assign that to a cyclist not being fully in control of their bike whilst also not paying attention to controlling it. That's what caused the accident and unfortunately was completely preventable. (I doubt that alcohol made much difference to her ability to control the bike, but it probably was instrumental in the bad choices she made).

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Yorkshire wallet [1426 posts] 4 weeks ago
3 likes

I can never understand the logic of the 'pub' bike. Unless you're off to the pub to NOT drink, then don't bother taking your bike unless you plan to leave it there.

We don't need drunk drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians or cyclists on the roads.

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stonojnr [12 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

I can never understand the logic of the 'pub' bike. Unless you're off to the pub to NOT drink, then don't bother taking your bike unless you plan to leave it there.

We don't need drunk drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians or cyclists on the roads.

The logic of a pub bike is its less desirable for those that might want to steal it,pubs rarely provide decent or secure cycle parking facilities. so take a tattier bike and you are happy to leave it out of sight,overnight if need be,though pubs are just social hubs for meeting people, you aren't required to drink alcohol at all, let alone to excess.

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goggy [157 posts] 4 weeks ago
1 like

Funny how this article appeared over a year after the accident. The funeral was also over a year ago.

I suspect Rufus is trying to say, simply "no matter what the cause, wearing a helmet if you hit your head on the pavement may make a difference."

In Carmen's case, she wouldn't have fractured her skull, and as a result, the injury would not have been fatal.

It's not a debate on whether taking selfies is a good idea (it's not) and whether a helmet should be mandatory (it's not and down to choice - it's saved me a few times with 2 backwards falls onto the road, and 1 sideways one).

As said earlier in the comments, a number of contributing factors casued her tragic death. The most avoidable one is riding with one hand on the bars, whatever the reasons for doing that. Many of us have done this, and if you're on a club run, will do it frequently when signalling for holes etc.

Take this in the way it's intended. It's not politics.

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Zebulebu [70 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
Zebulebu wrote:
clayfit wrote:

She died:

- as a result of head injuries 

- as a result of losing control of her bike while riding distracted and one-handed

- as a result of impaired judgement after consuming alcohol

- while riding along a badly-maintained road

Take away any one of these nested root causes and the victim does not die.  

That's how safety (e.g. in factories) works, by having multiple layers of protection, so that one or more can fail without injuring or killing someone.  In industry, the only acceptable rate of accidents is zero.

At the bottom of this was the poor road surface.  We accept terrible infrastructure in the UK.  A helmet is not the answer- it just mitigates the result of an incident that has already happened and that  could/should have been prevented.

Probably not the appropriate place to make this comment, but that's a pretty silly response. You list some (probably not all) of the contributing factors, state (correctly) that they all combined to result in her death, then seek to single out one of those factors as the root cause? You might as well say that at the bottom of it was the fact she wasn't wearing a helmet (slow speed crash, she might not have died if the helmet took the brunt of the impact), or that she was drunk (imparied response to an unexpected event) or she was taking selfies (lack of concentration on operating the bike) etc etc

I fail to see how not wearing a helmet had any bearing on whether or not the accident happened - it just possibly had an effect on the results of the accident.

I agree that the poor road surface isn't the root cause - I'd be more likely to assign that to a cyclist not being fully in control of their bike whilst also not paying attention to controlling it. That's what caused the accident and unfortunately was completely preventable. (I doubt that alcohol made much difference to her ability to control the bike, but it probably was instrumental in the bad choices she made).

Pay attention. I said 'combined to result in her death', not 'combined to cause the accident'. There's no way to know that wearing a helmet, specifically, would have prevented her death. But it's left in there for illustrative purposes - same as leaving in the bit about road surface, her being inebriated and her taking selfies is. The whole sad tale isn't an argument for or against the mandatory use of helmets (though, in true Road.cc style, it inevitably will become so in the comments section). It's a cautionary warning that lots and lots of things combined can lead to an increased risk of either an accident, or a more serious injury arising as a result of said accident. My post was highlighting the incompatibility between making a statement that alludes to this combination being responsible, then completely disregarding that logical statement in favour of (what is presumably) the poster's own particular bugbear.

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burtthebike [1110 posts] 4 weeks ago
8 likes

The most interesting thing about this case is that none of the msm reports correctly assign the cause; two cocktails and four glasses of wine.  None of them mention that she would have been too intoxicated to drive, but all of them repeat the husband's assertion that lack of a helmet was the cause of her death.

You might expect this extraordinary failure of logic in the Star or the Sun, but all the msm say the same thing.  It isn't as if the cause is anything hidden or difficult to divine, it's there staring them in the face, but like the herd of wooly mammoths in the corner of the room, it is ignored.  This isn't journalism, it's just repeating the views of the bereaved, who may be entitled to their opinions, but the media's job is to report the facts.

After the Alliston case, I'm seriously thinking of campaining for a law preventing relatives commenting on deaths.

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davel [1678 posts] 4 weeks ago
5 likes
burtthebike wrote:

The most interesting thing about this case is that none of the msm reports correctly assign the cause; two cocktails and four glasses of wine.  None of them mention that she would have been too intoxicated to drive, but all of them repeat the husband's assertion that lack of a helmet was the cause of her death.

You might expect this extraordinary failure of logic in the Star or the Sun, but all the msm say the same thing.  It isn't as if the cause is anything hidden or difficult to divine, it's there staring them in the face, but like the herd of wooly mammoths in the corner of the room, it is ignored.  This isn't journalism, it's just repeating the views of the bereaved, who may be entitled to their opinions, but the media's job is to report the facts.

After the Alliston case, I'm seriously thinking of campaining for a law preventing relatives commenting on deaths.

Hear, hear.

Helmets are pushed and accepted as cycling gear primarily because cycling is seen as dangerous. It really isn't any more dangerous than countless activities that don't have any association with PPE.

Bias and ignorance perpetuate that association.

If she'd fallen over while walking home it would have been seen as what it is: a tragic accident with SFA to do with helmets.

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Ush [988 posts] 4 weeks ago
7 likes
goggy wrote:

In Carmen's case, she wouldn't have fractured her skull, and as a result, the injury would not have been fatal.

Says who on either count?

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Karbon Kev [690 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

I don't understand why anyone would want to take a selfie after drinking and whilst riding a bike, but very sad RIP ..

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Bluebug [116 posts] 4 weeks ago
2 likes
Ush wrote:
goggy wrote:

In Carmen's case, she wouldn't have fractured her skull, and as a result, the injury would not have been fatal.

Says who on either count?

Quite - she would have still hit her head while wearing one and instead of dying ended up with permanent serious brain damage. 

The message of the sorry tale is don't cycle drunk.  It is not only a criminal offence,  but you could end up with a serious injury or at worst dead.

 

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