A pharmaceutical industry consultant has been cleared of causing death by careless driving after she hit a cyclist while overtaking on a bend.
Dr Helen Measures, 51, was overtaking two other cyclists and on the wrong side of the road when she hit Denisa Perinova, 21 on the A415 near Henley-on-Thames on July 15 last year.
The court heard that Ms Perinova was riding with her boyfriend, Ben Pontin, and lost control of her bike when she saw Dr Measures’ Mini heading toward them.
Dr Measures’ car hit Ms Perinova at up to 50mph, flinging her 15 yards into the entrance of a nearby field.
Mr Pontin said he saw Dr Measures make a “stupid manoeuvre” on a curve in the road, leaving him just a “tiny gap”. He felt his girlfriend’s wheels touch his bike and when he looked round she had been hurled into the entrance of a field.
“I just couldn’t believe the person driving had overtaken at that point,” he said.
Ms Perinova’s helmet was smashed. She was taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and later transferred to a specialist neurological unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. She died a week later from her injuries.
It was her first ride on a bike that Mr Pontin had recently bought her.
"I would expect cyclists to remain upright"
During the trial Dr Measures claimed that Ms Perinova had fallen into her path. Sandra Beck, prosecuting asked her, “You are relying on other road users avoiding you when you are on their side of the road?”
“I can’t help it if a cyclist, with all due respect, falls over as I’m approaching them and comes into my line of travel,” Dr Measures said. “I would expect cyclists to generally remain upright as the first cyclist did.
“You do not make a manoeuvre if you don’t think it is safe to do so. Had everyone stayed upright, there would not have been an issue,” she said.
Dr Measures admitted she had not seen the oncoming riders as she decided there was “sufficient room” to slow down and pass.
She said she was “surprised” to see Mr Pontin and Ms Perinova coming toward her as came round the bend at 40 to 50mph, but felt they had room to get past.
“I had to make a decision of what to do. I felt the safest decision was to continue straight ahead because they were in single file. If I had been concerned, I would have stopped suddenly.”
The jury deliberated for three hours before returning a ‘not guilty’ verdict.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.