A CYCLIST died on her way home from work after a driver did not see her in the dark, an inquest has heard.

Pauline Heather Towell, of Church Croft, Fownhope, died after her electric bicycle was hit by a car on the B4224 near Fownhope on September 28 last year.

Herefordshire coroner Mark Bricknell was told the 56-year-old Morrisons cashier was cycling home on her usual route at 7.43pm when she was hit from behind by driver Harry Sturgess.

Miss Towell was thrown from her bike, suffering major internal injuries, and despite the efforts of medics, she was confirmed dead at the scene.

Her brother, Michael Towell, said she regularly cycled to and from work in Hereford as the bus service in the area did not cater for her late finishes.

She had lights fitted to her bike, but the rear light had started “playing up a little”, sometimes turning off by itself, he said.

Supervisor Samantha Holford told the inquest that Miss Towell’s lights had been working when she had left the supermarket at 6.30pm, but the rear light did not seem to be working when she was later seen by off-duty constable Alan Conway in Mordiford.

PC Conway said he had considered stopping to speak to her, but had been unable to safely do so at the time due to traffic.

Several witnesses told the coroner that Miss Towell was wearing dark grey and black clothing with no high-viz jacket and limited lights at the time of the crash.

Nathan Jennings, who was travelling in the opposite direction, said the driver of the blue Ford Fiesta would not have been able to avoid the crash.

“It was never going to stop in time, and was not able to swerve out of the way as it would have collided with cars on the other side of the road,” he said.

Mr Sturgess said he had not seen the cyclist in the dark, only becoming aware of her when his passenger shouted a warning, but by that time it was too late.

Passenger Daniel Williams said he had not seen the cyclist until they were just metres behind her.

A crash investigator concluded that Miss Towell would have been very difficult to see due to a combination of factors, including her dark clothing and oncoming headlights.

Mr Bricknell concluded that Miss Towell died of major internal injuries following the crash.