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Slower speed may have saved cyclist

PUBLISHED: 13:33 01 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:30 11 May 2010

A KEEN cyclist died instantly after she was struck by a car being driven a 20mph above the spend limit, an inquest has heard.

Peta Durrant, 43, is thought to have been trying to make a right hand turn when she pulled in front of a car being driven by 22-year-old Lee Cutler, from Lowestoft.

A KEEN cyclist died instantly after she was struck by a car being driven a 20mph above the spend limit, an inquest has heard.

Peta Durrant, 43, is thought to have been trying to make a right hand turn when she pulled in front of a car being driven by 22-year-old Lee Cutler, from Lowestoft.

A hearing yesterday was told that Mr Cutler was estimated to be driving at 60mph on the B1074 Herringfleet Road at St Olaves when the collision happened at about 6.25am on December 12, last year.

Shop assistant Ms Durrant of Lowestoft Road, Gorleston, who regularly cycled around the area, suffered fractures to her neck and skull, and suffered severe internal injuries.

Mr Cutler was driving his Fiat Punto to work at Graffham Water, in Cambridgeshire, when he saw Ms Durrant from a distance of about 200 yards.

He told the inquest at Yarmouth Magistrates' Court that he did not realise he had entered a 40mph zone close to the junction with Blocka Road.

He added: “I saw the cyclist on my left side. I came up to her and pulled into the right hand lane to overtake her and just as I hit the junction she swerved in front of me. She was pretty much right beside me and hit the left hand side of the car. I wasn't expecting her to turn in front of me.”

Mr Cutler pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention at Yarmouth Magistrates' Court earlier this year and was banned from driving for a year. He also received a substantial fine.

Crash investigator PC Simon Hall said investigations confirmed Mr Cutler was breaking the speed limit and had also committed an offence by overtaking at a junction. He added that Ms Durrant could have survived if the car had been driving within the speed limit.

He added that Ms Durrant's lights had been working, although she had been wearing dark clothing, and that she may have been listening to the radio at the time of the crash because she was found wearing headphones.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Keith Dowding said: “What does appear to have happened is, tragically, the vehicle was travelling from behind it and was catching her up towards the junction.

“Mr Cutler was driving his vehicle at a speed which he fully admits was 60mph. It ought to have been no more than 40mph.”

While there was no evidence Mr Cutler failed to see Ms Durrant, Mr Dowding urged cyclists to wearing bright clothing in dark conditions.


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