An Irish pensioner was killed while cycling by a car driven by his own son in what a coroner described as a "tragic and freak accident," with the jury returning a verdict of accidental death.
Emmanuel ‘Manzor’ Thackaberry, aged 70, died at Tallaght hospital in July last year more than a fortnight after being struck by the car, being driven by his son Micheál, reports the Irish Times.
The pair had both left a family birthday celebration shortly beforehand, leaving by separate routes prior to their paths crossing with fatal consequences at a crossroads in Nurney, County Kildare. There was no mention in reports of whether alcohol was a factor.
The accident was also witnessed by the victim’s daughter, Rose Thackaberry, who was being driven to work by her brother, and her daughter, Michaela, was also a passenger in the car.
Ms Thackaberry spotted her father approaching the junction, told the inquest yesterday: “It looked like he was going to stop… I could just see the car hit the back wheel of his bike and then I saw his face on the windscreen."
“I just covered my face with my hands then. I remember Michaela screaming and I looked over and he was on the ground,” she added.
The victim’s son described his view of the accident, saying: “As I approached the crossroads I could see him cycle to the left … I started to brake then and he swerved out to the right. It happened so fast.”
Damien Forristal, a driver who witnessed the accident, told the inquest that it seemed as though Mr Thackaberry had been unable to stop in time due to being “wobbly” on his bicycle.
County Dublin Coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty said that the incident was "an awful experience" for the Thackaberry family.
Gardai Sergeant Donal Prendergast, who attended the accident, noted that Mr Thackaberry was not wearing a helmet and also said the fact that he was wearing cycling shoes with clipless pedals may have contributed to the accident, saying, “I would believe he wasn’t able to get them [his feet] out quick enough. I believe it was a contributory factor.”
He added that a hedgerow by the junction, which has since been cut, had restricted both parties’ lines of sight, giving them “less than a one second view of each other. They hadn’t sufficient time to brake and avoid the collision.”
Sergeant Prendergast expressed agreement with the coroner’s opinion that Mr Thackaberry should have halted at a stop sign at the junction, and in a rather sweeping, not to mention inaccurate, statement said: “These professional cyclists seem to put their heads down and just go for it. I believe he wasn’t aware of the junction and was cycling straight on.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.