An inquest has heard that a taxi passenger ‘couldn’t see’ a cyclist before she opened the vehicle’s door in his path. Sam Boulton died in hospital on July 27 2016 from injuries sustained when he was then struck by a van travelling in the same direction.
In March, the taxi passenger involved, Mandy Chapple, was fined £80 after she admitted causing Boulton’s death.
The taxi driver, Farook Yusuf Bhikhu, pleaded not guilty to the offence of opening a car door, or causing or permitting it to be opened so as to cause injury and his case will be heard at Loughborough Magistrates Court on June 5.
Also in March, the van driver, Nigel Ingram, was given a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to failing to stop at the scene and driving while over the legal limit for alcohol. Ingram, who described himself as “a chronic alcoholic,” was also banned from driving for 28 months.
Speaking at an inquest at Leicester Town Hall on Tuesday, Chapple said: "I opened the door slightly to see if anything was coming but I couldn't see anything. Then I felt a bump on the door. When I looked up I saw Sam was on the floor. I just thought he'd fallen off his bike."
The Leicester Mercury reports that Boulton’s injuries were then sustained by being "run over" by Ingram’s van, rather than by falling to the ground from his bike.
Pathologist Professor Guy Rutty said Boulton died due to ‘unsurvivable’ injuries to his head and chest and said he had been rendered unconscious immediately.
Pharmacist Anita Bagga, who witnessed the crash, said: "I saw the taxi and the white van travelling towards it. Sam was just in front of the van when he went off balance.
“I didn't see the taxi door open. But I saw Sam wobble and fall. The front wheel went over his head and the rear wheel his chest. I screamed."
Ingram said: "I moved over to give the cyclist room. I didn't expect the taxi door to open. I didn't have a chance to react. I heard the impact but was hoping I'd run over the bike. I was just in shock."
Accident investigator PC Martin Broughton said that Ingram wouldn’t have had time to react even without the influence of alcohol. He also said that a helmet would not have saved Boulton.
In October last year, Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby said that the city was considering introducing parking protected cycle lanes to the city after learning at a conference in the United States how they had helped reduce the number of cyclist being doored in places where they had been deployed.
Assistant coroner Lydia Brown said: "I am satisfied that Leicester City Council are doing what they can and preventing future deaths such as Sam's is very much at the forefront of their considerations and their planning.”