Senior cycled into vehicle’s path

A North Side senior was killed when he cycled into the path of a Jeep Cherokee in front of Chisholms Supermarket, a coroner’s jury heard. 

Austin Rivers, 73, died from head injuries when he was struck by the vehicle on 21 April, 2011. 

The driver tried to swerve to the left but Mr. Rivers’ bicycle struck the front right wheel of the Jeep and he was thrown over the handlebars. 

An accident investigator reported that Mr. Rivers, who had no lights on his bicycle, had exited the junction of Hutland and North Side roads without stopping.  

The report, prepared by Lenford Butler, indicated the driver would have had little time to react and concluded the cyclist was the ‘sole cause’ of the accident. 

The jury recorded a verdict of death by misadventure. All the witness statements were read into evidence by Queen’s Coroner Eileen Nervik at the inquest on Friday. 

Carla Lau, the driver of the Jeep Cherokee, told police she had been returning from a Red Sail sunset cruise with friends in the North Sound at around 7.20pm, when the accident happened. 

She said the first she had seen of the cyclist was when her headlights reflected off the bike tyres as she neared Chisholms. 

“I swerved to avoid hitting him. I heard an impact, I pulled over and stopped. I jumped out of the car to see how he was doing. He was lying on the ground and I called 911.” 

Her friend Rebecca Barr, a teacher who was visiting from Pennsylvania in the US, said she had suddenly seen the cyclist coming from the right side, into the path of the vehicle. 

“I heard a bang and Carla brought the vehicle to a stop, then I saw her standing over the man crying ‘oh my God’.” 

She said the victim appeared to have a serious cut on his head. 

North Side resident Jessica Dixon said she had been about to step out of the supermarket when she heard a noise and saw the brake lights of the Jeep. She said she had recognized the victim as Mr. Rivers and had assisted the driver of the vehicle in giving directions to police. 

Rhoda Ebanks, the owner of Chisholms, said she had known Mr. Rivers all her life. She said he would ride to her store every day at around 7.30pm. Mr. Rivers was rushed to George Town hospital where doctors fought to save him, but he died from his injuries the following day. 

A pathologist’s report gave the cause of death as multiple blunt impact traumas to the head and chest caused by a motor vehicle accident. 

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