THE death of a teenage cyclist on her way to school was described as a tragic accident.

Sarah Waterhouse, 17, of Orchard Way, Marcham, died instantly after being involved in a collision with a Tappins school bus while crossing Colwell Drive, Abingdon, on the morning of Monday, October 6.

At an inquest into the Larkmead School student’s death yesterday, Oxfordshire coroner Nicholas Gardiner said it was impossible to tell whether a problem with Sarah’s bicycle slowed her down while crossing the road.

He also said that the teenager could have misjudged which way the coach was going.

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Coach driver Andrew Sale, who has worked for bus company Tappins for eight years, said he saw a cyclist near McDonald’s on the footpath in Colwell Drive when he approached the Marcham Road roundabout.

He said: “There was a young girl and she was heading towards the drop kerb.”

He said he could not remember if he had indicated to turn left into Colwell Drive. He said that he heard a “thud” shortly after turning into the road.

Passers-by and officers from the nearby Thames Valley police station rushed to help.

The 35 Abingdon School pupils on the coach were taken to the nearby Red Cross Centre.

Jonathan Weir, who was going through the McDonald’s ‘drive-thru’ at the time, said he could not tell if Sarah was riding her cycle or not when she started crossing the road.

PC Martin Boyden, of the roads policing department, read out statements from two boys aged 11 and 16 who were on the coach and saw the collision.

Summing up, Mr Gardiner said: “It would be very easy to speculate what happened. But I can’t really do that.

“It is possible that the chain came off, which slowed her down. It was possible that she thought the coach was going straight on, but, unfortunately, it was going into Colwell Drive.

“She crossed Colwell Drive in front of a coach which struck her and she received fatal injuries. That was clearly an accidental event.”

After the inquest, Sgt Peter Jell, of the roads policing department, said: “The incident was subject to a very in-depth police investigation and was examined by the Crown Prosecution Service to make sure it was done correctly and ultimately that there was no criminal case. It was just a very tragic accident.”