Inquest: Garstang cyclist had no lights and no helmet when hit by car

Crofters Hotel, Garstang.
Crofters Hotel, Garstang.

A cyclist who was killed after being knocked off his bike may not have been visible to the car driver who hit him, an inquest heard.

Anthony McDermott, 25, was struck as he cycled home from an evening at the Crofters Hotel, Garstang, with best friend Matthew Brown.

The pair had played pool and planned Mr Brown’s birthday celebrations, the inquest at Preston Coroners’ Court heard.

Mr Brown, 23, told the hearing: “It was during the week and we were just going for a few pints so we went on our bikes because it is quick to get home.

“We had a couple of drinks and a couple of games of pool. Anthony was just leaving when another of my friends arrived so I decided to stay.

“I wasn’t going to see him again until Saturday morning. We went outside, he gave me a cigarette and shook my hand and said: ‘I’m going now’ and he went.”

As Mr Brown walked back to the pub, he described hearing a loud bang and seeing Mr McDermott thrown from his bike and into the air.

Accident investigators from Lancashire Police said Mr McDermott, who lived at Hillfield Croft, Garstang, was wearing dark clothing and did not have any bike lights or helmet.

They said he may not have been clearly visible to driver Christine Waters as she approached the area in her Honda Civic at around 10pm on September 27 last year.

Mrs Waters called the emergency services while Mr McDermott tried to keep his friend awake and contact his family.

But the former Garstang High School pupil suffered catastrophic head and abdominal injuries and died later that evening at Royal Preston Hospital.

Deputy coroner Sarah Sutherland recorded a verdict that Mr McDermott died as a result of a road traffic collision.

His heartbroken mother, Karen Norris, urged all bike riders to use lights and wear a helmet.

She said: “I just keep thinking: ‘Why did he get on his bike? Why didn’t he just walk?’

“He has left a massive big hole in lots of people’s lives.

“We had only been talking to Anthony a week or two before about using his lights. He had taken them off his bike when it was lighter but he had them in his bedroom drawer and they worked.

“Anthony was just a normal lad - he liked a drink and playing on his X-box. I know he went for a few pints but he didn’t deserve to die for it.

“There is no-one to blame and I just can’t get my head around it.”

Mr Brown said he felt lost without his best friend, adding: “I love you and miss you mate.”