A SLIP of the foot caused the 'tragic' death of a keen cyclist as she rode into Oxford, an inquest heard today.

Much-loved student Claudia Comberti, 31, was killed after falling into the path of a bus in Botley Road on May 9th. 

The 31-year-old, who was studying a DPhil in geography at Oxford University, was remembered by friends earlier this year for her infectious 'zest for life'. 

Following an inquest at Oxford Coroner's Court, her father Sebastian Comberti told the Oxford Mail: "This was a tragic accident with no-one at fault.

"The sad fact is that cyclists should not have to share road space with other vehicles.  

"If there is now increased momentum in the campaign to create more cycle-only paths around Oxford, then that can only be for the good."

The court heard Miss Comberti was cycling from a lecture in Wytham Woods into the city centre, to take a presentation about her research. 

She travelled along West Way and stopped at red traffic lights at the McDonald's junction, in front of the 4B bus.

Oxford Mail:

Images from the bus camera were shown in court, picturing the junction with Miss Comberti in front

As the lights turned green, she pushed off on her right pedal but her foot slipped, causing her to lose control and veer right, colliding with the bus.

The court heard how the Oxford Bus Company driver had no time to act before they crashed, though he tried to steer right to avoid her.

Driver Leslie Otto, who has been with the company for almost three years, told the court: "I've been to that junction hundreds of times and there are always cyclists.

"The lights changed and as she pulled away, she started to wobble. 

"What was totally unnatural was the way she fell off - it was such an unnatural angle. I couldn't have predicted it."

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter clarified that Miss Comberti kept hold of the handlebars as she fell, and the bike twisted at such an angle that it travelled more than two metres before impact. 

Visibly shaken as he remembered the crash, Mr Otto added: "I am so sorry for what happened. It all happened so very quickly."

According to police reports read to the court, he would have likely had less than one second to act upon seeing her wobble. 

Miss Comberti, of Cumberland Road in Oxford, had been riding a red racing bike with 'clipless' pedals, which allow cyclists to 'clip in' special shoes to lock their feet in position.

She was not wearing the special shoes therefore had not 'clipped in'. 

PC Adrian White, of Thames Valley Police's forensic collision unit, told the court: "It may have been a contributory factor to why she lost control.

"Most likely, as Claudia started to drive the pedal forwards, her right foot lost traction on the pedal and slipped.

"It's the danger of having SPD [clipless] pedals. Quite often [with my own bike] first thing in the morning, with a bit of dew under my feet, it will slip."

A chain on Miss Comberti's bike was also broken, but police could not determine whether this happened before or after the crash. 

Miss Comberti suffered fatal head trauma and was not wearing a helmet.

An expert statement read to the court concluded her injuries were 'not survivable' whether she had worn one or not. 

Evidence read from Alexandra Avery paid tribute to Miss Comberti, who she described as a close friend and housemate.

Her statement said: "She was incredible. She was an incredibly strong cyclist, runner and swimmer."

She explained how they had discussed their plans after breakfast that morning and agreed it would be a 'good day'.

Mr Salter offered condolences to Miss Comberti's loved ones for the 'tragic circumstances' in which she died, concluding death by road traffic collision. 

The crash happened just after 2.30pm and was witnessed by several people, several of whom rushed to offer help and call 999. 

Both the 4B and bike were sharing the bus lane due to there being no cycle lane, and Mr Otto said he was likely moving to overtake Miss Comberti when she fell.

Police reports said this was 'reasonable' owing to the width of the road at that point. 

Mr Salter said he had been contacted by several cyclists raising concerns about the safety of Botley Road for riders. 

PC White noted cyclists travelling from West Way are 'forced from what might be considered the relative safety of the pavement into the road', as the cycle path stops just before the junction. 

Mr Salter agreed to raised concerns with Oxfordshire County Council, which announced earlier this week it had gained funding to better segregate buses and cyclists on Botley Road.