AN inquest into the death of a cyclist in west Cork has heard he had purchased his electric-assisted bike just two months before the accident.
Artist Robert Ian Ball of Cains House, Lissaclarig, Ballydehob, Co Cork, died on April 29, 201, after being in collision with a car at Lissanoohig, Skibbereen, eight days earlier.
The inquest at Cork City Coroner’s Court heard the 64-year-old was airlifted from the scene of the accident to CUH with severe head injuries, as well as spinal injuries. He had been tended to at the scene by paramedics, an off-duty first responder, and Dr Jason van der Velde, of West Cork Rapid Response.
The driver of the car, 74-year-old Michael McCarthy, was on his way home from Skibbereen with fencing in a car trailer when Mr Ball and Mr McCarthy’s car were in collision at around 11.45am on April 21, 2017.
Mr McCarthy told gardaí that he saw a bicycle coming “straight at me” before the collision, which occurred at a junction. He said the cyclist was elevated onto the bonnet of his car and he smashed the windscreen on the driver’s side.
He said he got out of his car and saw the cyclist, Mr Ball, lying on the road next to the driver’s door. His bicycle was a short distance away. A woman who came on the scene alerted the emergency services.
The inquest heard that Mr Ball was cycling an orange Gazelle Pedelec bicycle, with a battery fitted to it. The bicycle had been bought in February 2017 and cost €2,800. The coroner, Philip Comyn, was told that the bicycle was not classified as a mechanically propelled vehicle and did not require insurance.
He was cycling downhill at the time of the accident. PSV inspector Garda Thomas Brosnan of Bandon Garda Station said the bicycle could have been travelling at up to 30km per hour at the time of impact with the car.
He said the car and the bicycle were both in a roadworthy condition before the collision but said there was damage done to both in the impact.
Sergeant Jim Delea told the court that Mr Ball should have yielded at the junction, but did not. Sgt Delea added that Mr Ball was on the wrong side of the road at the time of impact and was cutting the corner. He also said there was no attempt to brake.
The jury was told by Mr Comyn that Mr McCarthy was travelling slowly on the right side of the road.
Dr Margaret Bolster told the inquest that Mr Ball suffered a traumatic brain injury and a severe upper spinal injury. He was not wearing a helmet at the time. But Dr Bolster said: “Wearing a helmet probably would not have made a difference at a high speed.” She said he would have lapsed into a coma.
In concluding the inquest, Mr Comyn said that Mr Ball was a well-known artist, particularly in the UK, in the area of printography. Addressing Michael McCarthy, he said it was difficult for him to have to recall the accident for the inquest.
Mr Ball is survived by his daughter Rebecca and two grandchildren. No family members were in court.