A jury has returned a verdict of accidental death after an inquest heard how an experienced cyclist, who raised thousands of euro for Cork charities, struck a parked jeep after its driver pulled into the hard shoulder of a dual carriageway to ask him for directions.
Cork City Coroner’s Court was told yesterday that retired CIT lecturer Paddy Cadogan, 78, from Bishopstown, died in Cork University Hospital (CUH) on June 11, 2016, arising from injuries sustained in the accident on the N22 Ballincollig bypass just days earlier.
The driver of the jeep, Andrew O’Dea, 81, from Kildorrery, told the inquest he had planned to visit a friend in Marymount Hospice, off the N22, on the afternoon of June 7 but took a wrong exit and ended up driving westbound on the bypass.
Mr O’Dea said he saw Mr Cadogan cycling slowly in the hard shoulder, and drove about 200m past him, pulled in, and parked in the hard shoulder with a view to stopping him to ask for directions.
The inquest was told it is not an offence to park or cycle in the hard shoulder of this stretch of road, which, although built to motorway standard, does not have designated motorway status.
Mr O’Dea said he put his hazard lights on, got out, and walked about 20-25 yards back towards Mr Cadogan to flag him down.
“I called out ‘excuse me sir’ but he didn’t hear me. I called out again louder, but he had his head down, and went straight past me and into the back of my jeep,” he said.
Frank McCarthy, who was also driving west, said Mr Cadogan was in a head-down racing position on his racing bike, and it appeared as if he just didn’t see the parked jeep.
“It was surreal. I’m a cyclist myself so it made it all the more surreal. He made no attempt to brake,” he said.
Mr Cadogan was rushed by ambulance to CUH but he suffered several cardiac arrests as a result of the fall from his bike, and died from his injuries four days later.
His son, David, said his father was an experienced cyclist who was on a 30km training cycle to Ovens at the time — a route he had done hundreds of times. He said his father was very safety conscious, was wearing a helmet, hi-vis vest, and flashing armbands, and would have had his head down to scan the road for debris.
“He wasn’t just out for a Sunday cycle. He knew what he was doing, he had all the proper safety gear, and he was absolutely safety conscious,” he said.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
Coroner Philip Comyn expressed sympathies to the Cadogan family.
“He was clearly a fit and active man who enjoyed life to the full. It’s just an unfortunate accident,” he said.
Mr Cadogan was one of 10 cyclists to die on Irish roads last year.
Seven cyclists have died on the roads already this year.
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