Inquest into the death of David Andrew Sidebottom (2013) H&FLR 2015-20
Coroners’ Court of Victoria
18 October 2013
Coram: Coroner Saines
Appearing for Ms Connor: Mr Brendan James (solicitor)
Catchwords: Victoria – Coroner – cyclist – distracted driver – death – funding
Facts: The deceased was aged 53 years and an experienced cyclist. On 2 January 2011 he was riding west on Murradoc Road at Drysdale. He was approached from behind by a Honda CRV driven by a Ms Connor. The front left corner of the Honda struck the bicycle and caused the deceased to be thrown off and suffer fatal injuries.
Both at the time of the accident and subsequently the driver was not able to say how the accident occurred (the Court was satisfied that this was not intentional or evasive). No charges were laid against her. The driver was not affected by alcohol, speeding or using a mobile phone. There was some evidence that she may have been distracted. There was also evidence that the deceased may have deviated suddenly into the path of Connor’s vehicle.
Held: 1. It was likely that the deceased had deviated into the path of Ms Connor’s car in circumstances where she may have neither anticipated nor seen the deviation.
2. Decisions as to the spending of public money was not generally appropriate for a recommendation under §67 of the Coroners Act. That said, a significant increase in cyclist numbers could support a special case for priority funding in order to enhance community health and safety and reduce the risk of death or injury to cyclists.
The Court’s judgment is available here.