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Young cyclist killed in two-car collision

Cambridgeshire police have named the young cyclist killed in a collision with two cars on Wednesday night as Elizabeth Helen Byrne-McDermott.

Cambridge News reports that her college principal, Christine Sherwin, described her as “a very creative young person with brilliant ideas”.

Beth McDermott was attended by ambulance crews and taken to Addenbrooke’s hospital after the crash between Milton Road and Birch Close, Cambridge just before 7pm.

She died of her injuries during the night.

Ms Sherwin said that Beth's classmates and college staff were struggling to come to terms with what had happened. 

She said: “She was a very creative young person with brilliant ideas and was able to demonstrate an independent approach to her studies very early on in the courses.

“She was committed to her studies and always willing to put in the extra effort to achieve her very best.

“She was a popular student who got on really well with everyone in lessons.

“Staff and students at the college were very upset and are still coming to terms with this devastating news and our sympathies go out to her parents and all those who knew her.”

 

Witnesses reported a bobble hat circled with chalk in the middle of the road outside the Milton Arms pub. On the adjacent grass verge was bike with a front wicker basket, bent back on itself.

The cars involved are reported to be a yellow Peugeot 307 and a grey Audi A3 TDI. Nobody from the cars was injured. The Peugeot had a smashed windscreen.

Police have asked that anyone who saw the crash should call 101.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

47 comments

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caaad10 [187 posts] 3 years ago
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Tragic, how sad

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Stumps [3456 posts] 3 years ago
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Agree, very sad.

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CameronB [10 posts] 3 years ago
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 2

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pepita1 [176 posts] 3 years ago
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Tragic indeed. My heart goes out to her family and friends. Extremely sad news.

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 3 years ago
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Oh jeez, so sad especially at this time of year.
Bobble hats are no helmet!

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tourdelound [167 posts] 3 years ago
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RIP fellow cyclist.

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oozaveared [934 posts] 3 years ago
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Guyz2010 wrote:

Oh jeez, so sad especially at this time of year.
Bobble hats are no helmet!

Yeah it is sad. But where does it say she died of head injuries that would have been prevented by a cycle helmet. At more than a 15mph impact they are no more use than a bobble hat. There is almost no difference between the KSI rates for cyclists and pedestrians and that's because if you get whacked hard by a car the fact that you are wearing some laminated polystyrene on your head is neither here nor there. You are usually going to dies of what most blunt trauma RTC victims die of and that is massive internal injuries to major organs only one which is the brain.

Cycle helmets protect your head from minor contusions from falls at lower speeds. Introduce any significant mass even into that equation such as a motor vehicle and the energy transferred is way beyond a cycle helmet.

Wear one if you like I do for MTB and when I have to for certain events. I won't do you any harm nor will a St Christopher medal. But please don't go thinking it's a life saver that means you won't die if you get hit hard by a car. Neither the helmet and the St Christopher has any real magic powers. That's just voodoo physics.

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Huw Watkins [129 posts] 3 years ago
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Oh, get over yourself. She's barely cold and you're picking a fight about helmets

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William Black [193 posts] 3 years ago
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Huw Watkins wrote:

Oh, get over yourself. She's barely cold and you're picking a fight about helmets

This, a million times over.

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Kim [249 posts] 3 years ago
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Would a plastic hat have stopped her from being hit? Lets deal with the real issue and stop blaming the victims!

We need to make the roads safer for all, we need to adopt a Sustainable Safety approach.

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oozaveared [934 posts] 3 years ago
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Kim wrote:

Would a plastic hat have stopped her from being hit? Lets deal with the real issue and stop blaming the victims!

We need to make the roads safer for all, we need to adopt a Sustainable Safety approach.

You are damned right about victim blaming. "witnesses report a bobble hat lying in the road "
is code for

"... just so you know readers, it was her own fault because she wasn't wearing a helmet."

What's worse is that posters here also read that and understood and instead of asking whether it was relevant or had any bearing on the injuries sustained immediately commented that a bobble hat was no substitute for a helmet.

Agreed that this may seem an unseemly spat about helmets so quickly after this tragedy, but allowing victim blaming to go unanswered in the hope that there will be some point at which it will be appropriate to counter it, is naive. This is how the myths and assumptions are propagated.

I saw that comment about the bobble hat for what it was. A not so cryptic reference to the fact that the girls was somehow an irresponsible negligent cyclist.

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Michael Healey [7 posts] 3 years ago
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Huw Watkins wrote:

Oh, get over yourself. She's barely cold and you're picking a fight about helmets

 41 41

Here Here!

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yenrod [106 posts] 3 years ago
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Sick to the back teeth with people referring to helmet ?

I've rode since 16 now im 41 ive wore a helmet for all of those years - ive cracked a few and ive been thankfull for them even though they 'cost a few bob - but they're cheaper now!

In this country, like we all know, car drivers look for each other NOT cyclists, yet the popularity gains in strength, to which the majority couldn't give a toss about.

Its the fact of not being expected that could have led to this girl being hit.

That mentality soo needs to change - or one serious reminder of the law !

I can never understand why a jogger is seen as being more socially acceptable than a cyclist in lycra - how can society have such a problem, are they bothered more in' about paying taxes to use the roads ? paying for petrol ? or just 'getting in the way'...

Something needs to alter.

Respects to the family of this young girl (cause someone was too busy being comfortable, warm) and DIDNT/WASNT aware/travelling TOO - enough, in there car.

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dave atkinson [6290 posts] 3 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

I saw that comment about the bobble hat for what it was. A not so cryptic reference to the fact that the girls was somehow an irresponsible negligent cyclist.

yes, i'm sure you've previously noticed road.cc's staunchly pro-helmet stance on numerous occasions.

 22

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oozaveared [934 posts] 3 years ago
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Michael Healey wrote:
Huw Watkins wrote:

Oh, get over yourself. She's barely cold and you're picking a fight about helmets

 41 41

Here Here!

I understand the point you are making. I acknowledged it. But let me ask you what the point was in the report of mentioning the "bobble hat"? I'm interested to learn what you thought was going on there?

The way I see it, for your reference, is that mention of the bobble hat was to make sure the victim was painted as someone who was a bit reckless.

A bit like when victims of other sorts of crimes have the length of their skirt mentioned as if that was relevant to someone else's actions and they were sort of "asking for it."

and the inclusion of that sort of comment is specifically designed to undermine the victim. ie "short skirt" or "no helmet" I mean.. well, what did she expect?

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OldRidgeback [2726 posts] 3 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:
Michael Healey wrote:
Huw Watkins wrote:

Oh, get over yourself. She's barely cold and you're picking a fight about helmets

 41 41

Here Here!

I understand the point you are making. I acknowledged it. But let me ask you what the point was in the report of mentioning the "bobble hat"? I'm interested to learn what you thought was going on there?

The way I see it, for your reference, is that mention of the bobble hat was to make sure the victim was painted as someone who was a bit reckless.

A bit like when victims of other sorts of crimes have the length of their skirt mentioned as if that was relevant to someone else's actions and they were sort of "asking for it."

and the inclusion of that sort of comment is specifically designed to undermine the victim. ie "short skirt" or "no helmet" I mean.. well, what did she expect?

Well that's your opinion. I took it as underlining the poignancy of the situation, that a young girl lost her life.

My sympathies are for her family.

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Caroline Dodgson [25 posts] 3 years ago
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The whole bobble hat thing is drawn from the local news reporting of the death, note how a wicker basket is also mentioned. I think it underlines just how it could have been your daughter, or mine.

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Velo_Alex [73 posts] 3 years ago
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A child died for crying out loud.

That either side of the helmet debate would use this tragedy to score points is disgusting.

Thoughts with family and friends of the young girl, especially hard to lose someone at this time of year.

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 3 years ago
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To 'oozaveard'
No it doesn't say she died of head injuries but it does say the Peugeot had a broken windscreen. Just my best guess at what might have happened. Who the f#*k do you think you are captain no-all.

Just saying IF she wasn't wearing a helmet and HAD been hit around the head then her chances of being injured are significantly increased. You don't need statistics to prove a helmet might help, common sense should prevail. Feel free to wear one or not.

Hope the poor girl rests in peace.

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wwfcb [83 posts] 3 years ago
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Velo_Alex wrote:

A child died for crying out loud.

That either side of the helmet debate would use this tragedy to score points is disgusting.

Thoughts with family and friends of the young girl, especially hard to lose someone at this time of year.

I fully agree.

This is not the time or place for a debate/argument over the use of helmets.

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Lord Fishface [26 posts] 3 years ago
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Caroline Dodgson wrote:

The whole bobble hat thing is drawn from the local news reporting of the death, note how a wicker basket is also mentioned. I think it underlines just how it could have been your daughter, or mine.

This. If the mention - in what we should remember is a local newspaper, not a cycling journal - of a cyclist's bobble hat and basket at the site of an accident is intended to invite any inference on the part of the reader, it's to underline that the victim was an ordinary person riding their bike as a means of transport, not to invite a debate about helmets.

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Ush [858 posts] 3 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:
oozaveared wrote:

I saw that comment about the bobble hat for what it was. A not so cryptic reference to the fact that the girls was somehow an irresponsible negligent cyclist.

yes, i'm sure you've previously noticed road.cc's staunchly pro-helmet stance on numerous occasions.

 22

If you look, you'll see that oozaveered's post is a response to Guyz2100's comment that "a bobble hat is no helmet".

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Ush [858 posts] 3 years ago
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wwfcb wrote:
Velo_Alex wrote:

A child died for crying out loud.

That either side of the helmet debate would use this tragedy to score points is disgusting.

Thoughts with family and friends of the young girl, especially hard to lose someone at this time of year.

I fully agree.

This is not the time or place for a debate/argument over the use of helmets.

Which is why the first mention of helmets by guyz2010 "a bobble hat is no helmet" is inappropriate.

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 3 years ago
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I don't really see it as being inappropriate to be honest. Opinions and comments are allowed. I've expressed my sadness over the accident.

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mooleur [537 posts] 3 years ago
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Velo_Alex wrote:

A child died for crying out loud.

That either side of the helmet debate would use this tragedy to score points is disgusting.

Thoughts with family and friends of the young girl, especially hard to lose someone at this time of year.

This.

Thoughts with all who knew her.  2

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Legin [118 posts] 3 years ago
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As seen on many public forums threads about the death of a person often descend in to the gutter. There is a time and a place for debate.

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giff77 [1260 posts] 3 years ago
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There is no indication as yet to how Beth so tragically died. Until that information becomes public we cannot assume that it was through head injury insinuated by the noting of the hat circled with chalk. There are numerous scenarios to the cause of her fatal injuries and also to the damage to the vehicles.

Until the government wakes up and starts sorting out infrastructure and behaviour towards vulnerable road users by motorists the better. Be it better training, sentencing, whatever only then will our roads become safer.

Thoughts are with her family and friends at this time. RIP Beth

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mrmo [2090 posts] 3 years ago
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RIP

At this time we know nothing, she may have ridden off the pavement and been hit by a car, that two cars are involved, maybe they were drag racing? Maybe she crashed because of the greasy roads, maybe she was on the receiving end of a punishment pass, did she have lights, was she wearing hi viz, did she have pedal reflectors, did she have a fit, was the driver on the phone, applying makeup, drinking, smoking. Maybe a helmet would have helped or maybe she died of internal injuries where it wouldn't.

All we can say with any reasonable certainty, she was hit by a car and is dead, we can't even say for certain the car is why she is dead.

Can we leave the debate about the hows and whys until we actually know them.

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oozaveared [934 posts] 3 years ago
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Guyz2010 wrote:

To 'oozaveard'
No it doesn't say she died of head injuries but it does say the Peugeot had a broken windscreen. Just my best guess at what might have happened. Who the f#*k do you think you are captain no-all.

Point one (what else but a head breaks a windscreen)

as it happens in 1977 I hit the front nearside and went through the windscreen of an oncoming right turning car. The windscreen was broken. I was on my back with my head on the passenger seat and my bike, still attached by the toe clips was on the front bonnet. I had a very bruised knee. No head injury at all. Heads are but one thing that might break windscreens.

Point two (a helmet offers some worthwhile protection)

Helmets offer protection in a range of between 40 and 100 Joules. British Standard (BS 6863) and American National Standards Institute ANSI 90.4 both specify impact protection at 50 Joules. To quantify what that is useful for, we can calculate the Joules in an impact with a basic physics equation, KE = mv2/2 ie mass times velocity squared over two.

That sort of protection is useful for this. Me at 80kg going 15mph (15mph is 6.7m/s.) So that's 80 x (6.7 squared) over 2. or 89.78 Joules. A helmet is good for that. If I were lighter by a few kilos then better still. Just remember the scale of that number.

Right lets add a car. Not a heavy one. Let's go for a nice little Smart Car at 730kg. Now re work that equation still at 15mph.

If that hits you the impact is at 16,384 joules or roughly 163 times more impact than your helmet will protect you against. If the Smart Car is going 30mph, it isn't just double because its exponential. Now the impact will be 65,539 Joules or 650 times more energy transfer more than the best brand new cycle helmet will protect your skull against.

That's just a smart car. Make it at the other end of the car spectrum, say a Range Rover at 2,230 Kg. Say that's doing 45mph and hits you from behind and you are doing 15mph. Impact speed is still 30. But now the energy transfer is 200,209 Joules. That's 2000 times more than the benefit of your helmet.

So your statement that it is just common sense that a helmet gives you a bit of protection that's worth having is just superstition. It's voo-doo physics.

Now why is this important? It is important because some legislators, and motoring organisations and others think that the solution or even a partial answer to preventing or mitigating cyclist deaths and serious injuries is to focus on helmet wearing, encouraging and sometimes mandating. And the problem with that is not just one of personal freedom ( I don't buy that argument anyway we don't accept it for seat belts etc) it's one of framing the possible solution. If the notion is abroad that the answer to KSI rates are that cyclists wear helmets, but won't or don't then that means that cyclists will appear to refusing to protect themselves against vehicle impacts when they could. But they can't.

The easiest, laziest, route of least resistance, for politicians looking to be seen to do something about KSIs amongst cyclists is to bat on about helmets as if helmets made a big difference. The beauty of this is that the cyclists themselves pay for this and they don't need to do much else and because a helmet is a visible symbol of protection. However, the basic physics of it is that helmet protection is out matched by vehicle impacts, not just by a little bit or in all but excessive speeds or by large vehicles. It's totally and utterly out matched as a meaningful protection by at least many hundreds of times and sometimes by many thousands of times and that goes for impacts even by small cars and even at lower speeds.

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Stumps [3456 posts] 3 years ago
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For gods sake will you two please give it a rest, no one is interested in it. A young girl has very sadly passed away and all we are getting is cheap shots from you both. Have a bit of respect please.

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