THE friends and family of a young man who died after being knocked off his bike on the A6 have spoken of the “gaping hole” he has left in their lives.
Anthony McDermott, 25, was struck by a car as he cycled home from an evening in the Crofters Hotel, Garstang, with best friend Matthew Brown.
Matthew, 23, says he feels lost without his best friend, adding: “I love you and miss you mate.”
During an inquest at Preston Coroner’s Court, Matthew spoke of his final moments with Anthony, as they played pool and planned Matthew’s birthday celebrations.
He said: “It was during the week and we were just going for a few pints so we went on our bikes because it is quick to get home.
“We had a couple of drinks and a couple of games of pool. Anthony was just leaving when another of my friends arrived so I decided to stay.
“I wasn’t going to see him again till Saturday morning. We went outside, he gave me a cigarette and shook my hand and said: “I’m going now”. And he went.”
As Matthew walked back towards the pub he heard a loud bang and saw Anthony thrown from his bike into the air.
Accident investigators from Lancashire Constabulary said Anthony, of Hillfield Croft, Garstang, had been wearing dark clothing and did not have any bike lights or helmet.
He may not have been clearly visible to driver Christine Waters as she approached the area in her Honda Civic at around 10pm on September 27.
Mrs Waters called the emergency services while Matthew tried to keep his friend awake and contact his family.
However, Anthony, a former Garstang High School pupil, suffered catastrophic head and abdominal injuries and died later that evening in Royal Preston Hospital.
His heartbroken mother, Karen Norris, said: “I just keep thinking ‘Why did he get on his bike? Why didn’t he just walk?’
“He has left a massive big hole in lots of people’s lives.
“We had only been talking to Anthony a week or two before about using his lights. He had taken them off his bike when it was lighter but he had them in his bedroom drawer and they worked.
“Anthony was just a normal lad - he liked a drink and playing on his X-box. I know he went for a few pints but he didn’t deserve to die for it.
“There is no-one to blame and I just can’t get my head around it.”
Karen urged all cyclists to use lights and wear a helmet.
Deputy coroner Sarah Sutherland ruled: “Mr McDermott came about his death by way of a road traffic collision.”