A MAN died after his mobility scooter was hit by a car as he travelled home from the pub in the dark, an inquest has heard.

Steven Berry, 62, was riding his class 3 scooter, which had a top speed of around 8mph, along the A49 in Much Birch when he was hit at around 8.30pm on September 16 last year.

Leanne Pogson and her husband, Christopher, were travelling in the same direction as Mr Berry as they made their way home to Lea, near Ross-on-Wye, before their Hyundai i35 was in collision with the mobility scooter.

The inquest heard that Mr Berry, who was living in temporary housing in Much Birch, had visited the Axe and Cleaver pub and was returning to his accommodation along the unlit stretch of road when the crash happened.

An ambulance was called and Mr Berry was given emergency treatment at the roadside before being taken to Hereford County Hospital, where he died later that evening.

A post mortem revealed that he had suffered multiple injuries while his blood alcohol level was found to be below the legal driving limit.

Driver Mrs Pogson told the inquest that she had not seen Mr Berry's mobility scooter in the road until the 'split-second' before she hit him.

"He had no lights and he wasn't visible. He was just a dark object in the pitch black," she said.

Forensic crash scene investigator PC Nicholas Stafford said that rain earlier in the evening had left the road surface damp and conditions were very dark and overcast that night.

The pavement was wide enough to accommodate the mobility scooter, but gouge marks in the recently resurfaced road proved that Mr Berry had been centrally positioned in the southbound carriageway of the A49 at the time of the crash.

Mr Berry was not wearing reflective clothing, and although it was not possible to confirm whether or not the mobility scooter's lights had been working at the time of the impact, a crash reconstruction had revealed that they were not substantial enough to be seen.

Herefordshire coroner Mark Bricknell concluded that Mr Berry had died from multiple, unsurvivable injuries sustained in the crash.

"We do not know if the lights on the scooter were illuminated, but even if they were, they appear to be inadequate," he said.

"From the findings of PC Stafford, it is reasonable to assume that Mrs Pogson did not see the scooter.

"Users of these scooters must be aware that they are travelling at a very low speed and they must be very clearly identified with adequate lighting and bright clothing.

"Without, a tragic accident is a very real possibility."