Thursday 22 March 2018

Inquest seeks review of 'blind spots' on trucks

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

AN INQUEST jury has called for the haulage industry to reassess "blind spots" for lorry drivers following the death of a young Spanish cyclist under the wheels of an articulated lorry.

Maria Sonia Jimenez Martinez (28), who had been living in Ireland for more than a year, was killed instantly when her bicycle collided with an articulated truck at the junction of the Malahide Road and Griffith Avenue in Dublin on January 28 of this year.

Her father and sister travelled from Spain to Dublin yesterday to attend the inquest.

The driver of the Scania truck, Seamus McCrann, testified at Dublin City Coroner's Court that on no occasion did he see Ms Jimenez on his left-hand side, despite repeatedly checking his three mirrors prior to making the turn left onto Griffith Avenue, Dublin.

The inquest heard that drivers of high-sided vehicles can have as many as three "blind spots", at the front and at each side of the vehicle, and that a driver would not have seen Ms Jimenez as she was not up high enough from the ground.

The jury of four men and two women also recommended that amber indicator lights be provided along the side of trucks so cyclists can recognise when they intend to turn. They also called on Dublin City Council to review the junction in question and move the cycling lane at the junction to the footpath to improve cyclists' safety.

Ms Jimenez was swept under the front right-hand side wheels of the lorry's cab and was killed instantly. She was removed to the Mater Hospital where her friend and housemate, Marina Arellano, identified her through a silver watch and ring.

Pathologist Dr Niall Mulligan said Ms Jimenez died from multiple injuries but in particular severe head injuries. The jury recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell extended his sympathy to the Jimenez and McCrann families.

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