Friday 21 October 2016

Drunk dad-of-six killed after cycling across three lanes of motorway traffic


A drunk father-of-six was fatally injured when he cycled into oncoming traffic on a motorway, an inquest has heard.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard Patrick Hutchinson (50) cycled across three lanes in front of oncoming traffic before being struck.

The driver of the vehicle that struck the father-of-six said he did not see him. "A split second, a blurry figure came on the passenger side and bang," said Derek Canning.

The court heard Mr Hutchinson had called his sister, Sandra, shortly beforehand and told her he was "confused" and did not know how he made it on to the M1 motorway.

Witness Niamh O'Connor said she was in the middle lane of the motorway when she saw him "veer" across from the hard shoulder on the bike before being struck by a car in the overtaking lane.

"It looked like he was thrown about 12 feet into the air," she said. Her husband had to swerve to avoid Mr Hutchinson as he landed in front of their car in the middle lane.


The inquest heard Mr Hutchinson was "heavily intoxicated" at the time and a sign indicating that cyclists should not enter the motorway had been removed during road works.

Mr Hutchinson, from Ballymun in north Dublin, died in Beaumont Hospital hours after being struck by the car on July 27 last year.

Forensic collision investigator Garda Edward Davin said traffic would have made it difficult for Mr Canning to see the cyclist. The car was travelling at least 97 kph when the accident happened.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said Mr Hutchinson, who was conscious but disorientated at the scene, died on the operating table at Beaumont Hospital. The pathologist gave the cause of death as multiple injuries. The toxicology screen found a "very high" level of alcohol in his system, which the pathologist described as "toxic".

Mr Hutchinson is believed to have entered the M1 at junction 4, where works were then being carried out. A sign indicating cyclists were prohibited from entering the motorway may have been temporarily removed, Garda Davin said. "Most people would be aware of the fact that cyclists are prohibited from using motorways," he said.

Issues were raised about signage at the junction four slip-road onto the motorway where cyclists and pedestrians are directed to use a tunnel underneath the road.

The deceased's son, Daniel Hutchinson, said gardai "should have been patrolling the motorway" and taken his father off it.

The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure and recommended that Fingal County Council review signage at junction four on the motorway.

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