Inquest hears differing accounts of how cyclist went under wheel of large trailer on Ring of Kerry

File photo of the Ring of Kerry.

A cyclist planning to take part in the annual Ring of Kerry charity cycle died after she went under the wheel of a large agricultural trailer, on the N22 Killarney bypass, an inquest has heard.

Annette Mannix (aged 48) of St Brendan's Place, Killarney, died on May 10, 2017, due to severe traumatic injuries in the accident at the Lewis Road junction on the bypass.

Ms Mannix was described as a slow but steady cyclist and was behind others in the Ring of Kerry mentoring programme for around 20 riders set up by the Killarney Cycling club. Behind her were two club mentors.

There had been a cycle lane until the junction. As the three-person tail group merged onto the roadway, they were overtaken by a tractor and trailer also going in the Killorglin/Tralee direction.

Expert witness Garda PSV inspector Garda James O’Brien said it was “not clear” what caused Ms Mannix to come off her bike and be rolled over by the back wheel of the large hay turner agricultural trailer, drawn by a John Deere tractor.

It was a clear bright evening shortly after 7pm, and the group had set out from the nearby sports centre on their 25 km run, the inquest was also told.

The junction was “a cumbersome process” for cyclists, as they had to leave the cycling lane and use a shared space, and return again to the cycle lane, Garda O’Brien also said.

The agricultural tractor with 1.5 metre high back wheels, and “brand new” hay turner trailer were in good condition and the driver had a good view of the road and good mirror system. Excessive speed was not involved, Garda O’Brien said.

“A gap" had appeared between Ms Mannix and the other cyclists in the convoy. She was the last in the group and behind her were two club mentors.

Accounts to the inquest of what happened differed.

Paul O’Raw of the Killarney Cycle club, one of the mentors at the rear, said they went single file at the junction, and she did not stray onto the road. The tractor had moved gradually to the left and the rear wheel had knocked her off her bike, and the trailer then rolled over her, he said.

Tractor driver Dean Taylor told gardaí Ms Mannix had gone up onto the footpath and had come off suddenly as he passed. He was experienced with tractor driving and had not moved to his left.

A lorry driver said the cyclist had sped up while being passed by the tractor, made contact with the left wheel of the tractor, lost control and wobbled.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

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