Helmet "would have saved" 85-year old killed by careless driver

Motorist receives community service order and driving ban

by Mark Appleton   January 26, 2011  

road.cc news

A coroner's inquest in Blackpool has heard how a cyclist would probably have survived being struck by a car had she been wearing a helmet, the Fleetwood Weekly News reports.

The coroner heard from the consultant pathologist who conducted the post-mortem into the death of 85-year old Barbara Taylor from Norbreck, that she died from an intra-cranial haemorrhage but that “there was every likelihood she would have survived" had she been wearing a helmet.

The widow was struck by a car driven by 24-year-old David Kilgallon, who previously had admitted causing death by careless driving and was sentenced to 100 hours of community work and banned from driving for a year by a judge at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

The inquest heard how the pensioner was knocked off her bike in Cleveleys near Blackpool at 3pm on February 26 last year, when Mr Kilgallon turned left out of a side street, Conway Avenue, into the main road, Kelso Avenue, along which Mrs Taylor was cycling.

Accident investigation officer, PC Richard Roberts, provided evidence that there were no defects to the car and that on approaching the junction Mr Kilgallon had slowed down.

Mr Kilgallon said: “I’ve not stopped thinking about what happened. It’s been traumatic. I’d like to re-affirm the need for head gear. I’m a cyclist myself, and when I see people around without helmets I want to jump off and tell them.”

In recording a verdict of accidental death Christopher Beverley, Blackpool’s assistant deputy coroner, said: “Very often, sitting in this position, we have to express concern about young people not wearing suitable head gear when using a bike.

“In this case I believe the call should go out for our senior citizens who may be active and fit. Everyone accepts that while these are life-saving accessories, they can be quite glamorous. I’m sure there is suitable head gear for those of a more senior age.”

18 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I’d like to re-affirm the need for head gear. I’m a cyclist myself, and when I see people around without helmets I want to jump off and tell them

I'd like to re-affirm the need to look where you're ***** going.

posted by piedwagtail [11 posts]
26th January 2011 - 17:58


So if he'd run over a pedestrian in the road who he hadn't seen, would he be affirming the need for head gear?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1449 posts]
26th January 2011 - 18:20


I also suspect that not being hit by a car in the first place may have saved her life Thinking

(in other words, prevent the accident in the first place, driver education, etc... the car driver has a responsibility to not hit other roads users).

posted by spaceyjase [53 posts]
26th January 2011 - 18:26


This story has made me rant a lot. Gah.

I think all previous comments have echoed my thoughts on this.

Chutzpah's picture

posted by Chutzpah [72 posts]
26th January 2011 - 18:33



no excuse, your driving the car, look, look and look again.

When will we see the law treat driving accidents seriously!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1892 posts]
26th January 2011 - 18:36


Ditto - the victim is the guilty one for not protecting themselves.

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [495 posts]
26th January 2011 - 18:41


If the car had been made of sponge cake, she'd probably not have died, so will he be switching to sponge now?

Switch to sponge now! Or don't you care about safety?

posted by a.jumper [833 posts]
26th January 2011 - 19:08


Mr Kilgallon, Mr Beverley. You are bellends. Both.

Really, though?

posted by workhard [393 posts]
26th January 2011 - 19:26


Echo all of the above + At 24yrs old he has been driving for a max of 7yrs. So gets his licence back at age 25 and has how many yrs driving in front of him? Divide by 7 and how many more times will he be careless? 1 year loss of licence for causing death by careless (what a joke the use of the term careless in these incidents is) driving is grossly offensive.

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [264 posts]
26th January 2011 - 20:05


A stupid comment by the coroner and a minimal sentence for the driver.


posted by OldRidgeback [2586 posts]
26th January 2011 - 22:15


I just hope I only get 100hrs of community service if I ever accidently shoot someone and they weren't wearing a bullet proof vest.

Sound about time we realise that cars are dangerous things.

posted by davekinkead [4 posts]
26th January 2011 - 23:44


cars ... dangerous ... gosh I hadn't realised !

Yet another travisty, wonder if the sentence would have
been different had it been the judge's granny ????

And as for being a cyclist himself - WTF didn't he see
her as he, of all people, should know how vulnerable
we are .... grrrrr - ar53hole

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [925 posts]
27th January 2011 - 9:13


How many cycle helmet manufacturers claim protection from motor vehicles? Could you put in a claim if you were injured from a motor vehicle collsion whilst wearing one?

posted by DNAse [24 posts]
27th January 2011 - 10:20


Another moronic medical person who knows exactly what would have happened if the person would have been wearing a helmet. Despite the fact that bicycle helmets work only in very specific circumstances (certain speeds and when hit from certain angles). Also, an 85 year old is always going to be quite fragile, so any significant accident may be fatal, even when mitigated by a helmet.

posted by Aapje [237 posts]
27th January 2011 - 10:25


I give up, it just gets worse!


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
27th January 2011 - 11:31


Once again ALL the responsibility for this collision seems to have been passed onto the victim by the accused, the coroner, the pathologist and to a lesser extent the police. When will this car-centric culture end?

nilling's picture

posted by nilling [11 posts]
27th January 2011 - 12:30


'Suitable head gear' - How do these people live with themselves? Unless they are incredibly cynical and void of empathy I really fail to see their perspective.
You drove into a person and killed her!!! The first rule of driving I learned is not to drive into people or things. It's not hard to understand. If you can't stop within the space you can see, you need to go slower. Sometimes, god forbid, you may even need to stop.
I don't wish prison on anyone, but a driving ban for just a year? When has driving become a basic human right. If you kill people, you don't drive, full stop.


posted by plodalong [4 posts]
28th January 2011 - 12:36


The coroner felt the need to "express concern" about people cycling without helmets - but not about the car or the driver?

The car was not defective, and he "slowed down" at the junction - but he still emerged onto a main road, failing to yield? So the poor woman pays for his carelessness, with her life.

We must all have experienced this one - cars pulling out into us from side streets. I've had many near misses so far.

It keeps me practising vehicular cycling, as a survival strategy. But it's enough to make you think we need segregated facilities, if we're ever to have the "cycling revolution" the government promises from time to time.

I can just about handle vehicular cycling - as a 20-something male with my wits about me. And I've survived so far. But when i have kids, even i can't imagine letting them cycle on our roads, given the status quo. My parents and grandparents can't contemplate it either. And I can't say i blame them.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [602 posts]
29th January 2011 - 14:08