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Neil Blood was using clipless pedals for first time during trip to Jersey - his father says he'd told son they were dangerous...

A coroner’s inquest has said that a British cyclist’s inability to unclip from his pedals led to him being killed after he lost his balance and was hit by a van while on holiday on Jersey in the Channel Islands. The coroner says he will be writing to Shimano, the manufacturers of the pedals, to raise his concerns.

Neil Blood, aged 42 and from Stoke-on-Trent, had not used clipless pedals prior to his holiday in July last year, where he was riding a new bike fitted with them.

Mr Blood was cycling with his cousin, Ruth, in St Helier and after turning to look at her, he hit a lamp post, causing him to lose his balance and fall under a passing van, reports the BBC.

His father, Geoff Blood, told the inquest that shortly before his son departed on his holiday he had urged him not to use clipless pedals, which he believes are dangerous.

“What happens with those cleats is you can’t pull your foot in and out,” he said, quoted in the Stoke Sentinel.

“You have to do a motion and when Neil or anybody is involved in an accident you don’t think logically.

“Your brain becomes a bit scrambled and to get your foot out of cleats you have got to think clearly.”

Mr Blood, a father of three who ran his own engineering business, received medical treatment at the scene but died in hospital shortly afterwards.

According to Home Office pathologist Dr Amanda Jeffrey, he sustained “extremely severe” injuries to his chest after being run over by the van.

The inquest heard that there was nothing the vehicle’s driver could have done to avoid hitting the cyclist.

Deputy Viscount Advocate Mark Harris said that Mr Blood’s death was a “tragic accident,” adding that he intended to write to Shimano to “bring this verdict to their attention.”

We have contacted both Shimano and UK distributor Madison for their reaction and will let you know their response.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

69 comments

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KiwiMike [1160 posts] 2 years ago
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no. No. NO. N-O.

"...causing him to lose his balance and fall under a passing van"

He did NOT 'fall under a passing van'. You cannot 'fall under' something. You fall over, then IT runs OVER you.

The van driver was following too close, did not react to another road user in front of him, and RAN HIM OVER.

Had the van driver been travelling at a safe distance behind, or been passing with 1.5m of space, or passing at an appropriate speed, then he would not have ran him over.

That's it. End of.

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aslongasicycle [382 posts] 2 years ago
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Horrible things happen. But we don't always need to find someone or something to blame.

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McDuff73 [78 posts] 2 years ago
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funny I came right out of my spds' when I go hit by a car without any problem at all, they were shimano too.

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Richard1982 [48 posts] 2 years ago
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"we don't always need to find someone or something to blame."

+1

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 2 years ago
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Sure Shimano are going to listen. Yes there are risks using clipless pedals but any shop selling them, along with the instructions should identify: -
-the risks,
-the correct method of fitting them including the release pressure adjustment.
-suggestions on practising before venturing out.

A 'light action' pedal my have been more suitable on this occasion.
I've fallen off stationary just once due to being clipped in.

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Angelfishsolo [132 posts] 2 years ago
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Using SPD's for the first time on a road is a dangerous thing to do. I would always recommend practice in a quiet area first.

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McDuff73 [78 posts] 2 years ago
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and the van manufacturer after all it would seem it did the most damage.

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Tom Amos [236 posts] 2 years ago
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I hope the coroner writes to the manufacturer of the lamp post as well to warn of the danger of installing street lights.  39

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timfearn [33 posts] 2 years ago
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I think there are two morals to this story.

1. If you're going to ride clipless, practice somewhere nice and quiet until you get comfortable getting in and out of them, and make sure you set the tension low to start with.

2. Concentrate on the road ahead if turning around to look at things makes you lose your balance and veer into lampposts.

Tragic accident? Yes. Shimano's fault? No.

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Chris James [372 posts] 2 years ago
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“Your brain becomes a bit scrambled and to get your foot out of cleats you have got to think clearly.”

I've come off a few times and my feet come out of SPDs easily, without doing anything at all. And I have them at pretty much the highest tension.

Toe clips and straps in the old days were a different matter ...

I am sure it is well meaning but the deceased's dad and the coroner simply don't have a clue what they are on about.

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sponican [88 posts] 2 years ago
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KiwiMike wrote:

no. No. NO. N-O.

"...causing him to lose his balance and fall under a passing van"

He did NOT 'fall under a passing van'. You cannot 'fall under' something. You fall over, then IT runs OVER you.

The van driver was following too close, did not react to another road user in front of him, and RAN HIM OVER.

Had the van driver been travelling at a safe distance behind, or been passing with 1.5m of space, or passing at an appropriate speed, then he would not have ran him over.

That's it. End of.

Let's not be too quick to apportion blame. We don't know that the van was travelling in the same direction or the width of the road. It could be that he fell on a narrow road as the van was passing in the opposite direction.

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bici1977 [40 posts] 2 years ago
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What has Shimano to do with this? If you ride a bike you better damn make sure that you don't hit something when you turn your head!

You also dont just set off with a bike that is brand new and assume it will be like 'every other bike you have ever ridden'. Especially if you are a newbie to clipless pedals.

Tragic accident - but in total he has only himself to blame.

Thoughts are with the family!

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Gkam84 [9080 posts] 2 years ago
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How can you agree with KiwiMike.....READ THE BLOODY THING

He hit a lamp post, causing him to lose his balance and fall under a PASSING van.....i.e. A van that was on the OTHER side of the road, passing him in the opposite direction.

If the van was "passing" him (overtaking) that would have been made clear. He was not being overtaken, he fell into a van travelling the other way, so in this case, there was NOTHING the van driver could do.

In fact, if you go to the BBC site, it also states that Mr Blood fell between the front and rear wheels of the van. So it must have been in line with him, when he fell, give the van driver, not even a second to avoid anything.

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WolfieSmith [1313 posts] 2 years ago
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Did Shimano own the van then; or just force the poor man to use the pedals before he was ready for busy roads?

A horrible thing to happen but hardly Shimano's responsibility.

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Gizmo_ [1381 posts] 2 years ago
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there was nothing the vehicle’s driver could have done to avoid hitting the cyclist.

Highway Code Rule 126: "Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear."

If we're banning adverts because the person pictured in them was not following recommendations in the Highway Code, we should be prosecuting drivers for not following the recommendations.

PS: I don't work for Shimano.

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thereverent [398 posts] 2 years ago
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Mr Blood was cycling with his cousin, Ruth, in St Helier and after turning to look at her, he hit a lamp post, causing him to lose his balance and fall under a passing van

So not looking where he was going and hitting the lampost caused the fall.
I agree with KiwiMike that it sounds like the van was too close.

The incident has nothing to do with clipless pedals.

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pmr [196 posts] 2 years ago
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You have to say that if this was in the same direction part of the road a van has hit another road user form behind- therefore van at fault. If a car stopped suddenly for whatever reason, the car following would be responsible if it didn't stop in time. Collisions from behind are almost 100% the following drivers fault. If this was in effect a collision from behind resulting from the cyclist stopping due to falling over - then its just wrong on every level possible and more victim blaming.
But that said we don't have the full facts here do we.

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jstreetley [63 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

If the van was "passing" him (overtaking) that would have been made clear. He was not being overtaken, he fell into a van travelling the other way, so in this case, there was NOTHING the van driver could do.

Passing doesn't imply a direction at all, so from what's written there is no way of knowing.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
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i do sympathise with Mr Blood and his family, but I have to say best of luck with Shimano, he is going to need it.

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Gizmo_ [1381 posts] 2 years ago
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sponican wrote:

Let's not be too quick to apportion blame. We don't know that the van was travelling in the same direction or the width of the road. It could be that he fell on a narrow road as the van was passing in the opposite direction.

You're right, and it's an idea that hadn't occurred to me. However, as a cyclist, if you know there's a van coming the other way on a narrow road you keep your eye on it. Or maybe even stop. Not turn around, ride into a lamppost and go down like a sack of spuds.

It's a tragedy however it happened, but you simply can't blame the pedals, that's like blaming Nike if I walk out in front of a bus.

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sean1 [175 posts] 2 years ago
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It seems to me the main cause of this tragic accident was colliding with a lamp post and hence losing balance, falling over and being hit by a van.

I am not sure the type of pedal would make much difference in this instance.

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mrmo [2064 posts] 2 years ago
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I asked elsewhere about the lamppost and it was suggested he was riding on the pavement. That the van happened to drive past at the wrong moment.

Which then raises the question of would he have had an accident if he had actually been doing as he was meant to and riding on the road, or was this a "cycle path" with furniture blocking it, in which case does the council have to accept some blame?

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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Richard1982 wrote:

"we don't always need to find someone or something to blame."

+1

I really wish more people would take this to heart

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JonD [393 posts] 2 years ago
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jstreetley wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:

If the van was "passing" him (overtaking) that would have been made clear. He was not being overtaken, he fell into a van travelling the other way, so in this case, there was NOTHING the van driver could do.

Passing doesn't imply a direction at all, so from what's written there is no way of knowing.

In fact, there is - one of the links in the BBC report is to:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-23523790

- the van shown in the photo is going the *same* direction as the cyclist would have been going.

A better clue is the location of the lampost - on the furthest side of the pavement from the road, again the wall (see streetview) and
"He turned to look at his cousin and struck a lamp post, which caused him to lose his balance and fall off his bike into the road under the wheels of a passing van."

Which sounds rather like he was cycling on the pavement, hit the lampost, and fell towards/into the road where the van was travelling along in the same direction.

Looks like it was the northgoing side of the A16 a short way south of the south pier turning:
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=la+collette+jersey&ie=UTF-8&ei=JxLpUtLm...

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oozaveared [936 posts] 2 years ago
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KiwiMike wrote:

no. No. NO. N-O.

"...causing him to lose his balance and fall under a passing van"

He did NOT 'fall under a passing van'. You cannot 'fall under' something. You fall over, then IT runs OVER you.

The van driver was following too close, did not react to another road user in front of him, and RAN HIM OVER.

Had the van driver been travelling at a safe distance behind, or been passing with 1.5m of space, or passing at an appropriate speed, then he would not have ran him over.

That's it. End of.

Yep I was just going to say the same using this quote as a starter

"The inquest heard that there was nothing the vehicle’s driver could have done to avoid hitting the cyclist."

and I was about to say that the driver could have complied with the Highway code for starters. I don't know how fast he was driving so can't comment on that but he was going so fast that he was unable to stop in time.

Rule 163 of the Highway Code states:

"give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car (see Rules 211 to 213 and 214 to 215)."

And if the van driver had complied with the Highway code then he would have avoided the collision.

Another numpty Coroner.

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AyBee [85 posts] 2 years ago
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KiwiMike wrote:

no. No. NO. N-O.

"...causing him to lose his balance and fall under a passing van"

He did NOT 'fall under a passing van'. You cannot 'fall under' something. You fall over, then IT runs OVER you.

The van driver was following too close, did not react to another road user in front of him, and RAN HIM OVER.

Had the van driver been travelling at a safe distance behind, or been passing with 1.5m of space, or passing at an appropriate speed, then he would not have ran him over.

That's it. End of.

F*cking hell, are you being deliberately stupid or does it come naturally? I'm suprised you manage to do anything with that much anger! At no point does the article state that the van was travelling in the same direction, in fact it states that the van driver could do nothing to avoid the cyclist.

It's a sad story but Shimano aren't to blame - a guy using their product for the first time (with little or no practice of what it's like to be clipped in), gets distracted, loses his balance and falls off his bike infront of a van which can't then avoid him. Accidents happen and unfortunately this one proved costly where the same sequence at other times wouldn't have done. RIP.

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bobbypuk [37 posts] 2 years ago
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I find this story very worrying. Lawyers have already ensured that my quick releases are no longer quick to release. Am I now going to have to ride flat pedals as well?

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mrmo [2064 posts] 2 years ago
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jarredscycling wrote:
Richard1982 wrote:

"we don't always need to find someone or something to blame."

+1

I really wish more people would take this to heart

I respect the sentiment, but there is usually a reason why these things happen, and if only to avoid it happening again it makes sense to understand that reason. To, if possible, learn and avoid it happening again.

In this case, why was he riding where he could hit a lamp-post.

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JonD [393 posts] 2 years ago
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AyBee wrote:

At no point does the article state that the van was travelling in the same direction, in fact it states that the van driver could do nothing to avoid the cyclist.

Which I'm inclined to agree with - but see my post above re direction..

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spatuluk [27 posts] 2 years ago
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How did he manage to hit a lamp post if he was cycling in the road?

Considering the area, I suspect he was having a nice slow pavement cycle, hit a lamp post, got confused by the pedals, and fell over into the road. It could happen to anyone, really.

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