Moped rider in car door tragedy

A 20-year-old moped rider died after her scooter was in collision with the open door of a parked vehicle and she slid into the path of an oncoming Mercedes. An inquest in Huntingdon was told the accident happened last December near the One-Stop shop in Be

A 20-year-old moped rider died after her scooter was in collision with the open door of a parked vehicle and she slid into the path of an oncoming Mercedes.

An inquest in Huntingdon was told the accident happened last December near the One-Stop shop in Berkley Street, Eynesbury, as secretary Samantha Lorraine Bull, of Pepys Road, Eynesbury rode by on her 49cc Aprilla.

She died instantly in the collision after being thrown from her machine when the handlebar collided with the car door, Coroner David Morris was told.

It was unfortunate, he said, that there had been no independent witnesses to the accident.


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The Mercedes driver, Tracey Luff, from St Neots, had been driving her daughter to St Neots Community College, when she saw the scooter coming in the opposite direction.

She saw the door of a small dark car open and a foot emerge from the vehicle immediately before the accident. Although she had been driving at below the 30mph speed limit and had braked hard, she had been unable to avoid the impact.

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"When I saw the driver's door open, I immediately screamed," she told the inquest. "I was braking as hard as I could, but the rider fell to the ground and under my car. The motorcycle had been so close to the car that a collision was inevitable.

"Afterwards, the car driver who had opened his door stood in shock with his head in his hands."

Benjamin Dominic Bardell, 26, of Hardwicke Road, Eynesbury, said he had parked his Renault Clio car near the shop to get a drink on his way to collect a pizza. He had been in no hurry.

He said he had looked in his rear view and door mirrors and looked over his shoulder before getting out of the car.

He was standing by the car with the door fully open when he heard the machine approaching. He saw the door move and looked round to see scooter and rider sliding in different directions, he told the coroner.

"I can't estimate what speed it was doing. I didn't see it until it literally went past me," he said. "There was nothing the other driver could have done."

Traffic examiner PC John Blood said the damage to the vehicles was consistent with a collision with a partly-open door. The scooter's maximum speed was 30mph, so it would have been visible for a minimum of 2.3 seconds before the first impact.

He calculated that both rider and moped had slid across the road into the path of the approaching Mercedes. "There is no evidence that the Mercedes was driven in anything other than a proper manner. Either the moped rider failed to react or the door was opened into her path," he added.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, the coroner said no fault lay with the dead woman, and no blame was attached to Mrs Luff.

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