Death of cyclist following head-on collision with van in Abergavenny race an accident, says coroner
Ben Carroll's father urges review of event safety rules to prevent similar tragedies in future
A finding of accidental death has been recorded in connection with the death of a cyclist who died following a head-on collision with a van while taking part in a race in Abergavenny. The victim's father has urged that event safety rules be changed to prevent similar tragedies.
Ben Carroll, aged 26 and from Cardiff, died in hospital the day after the crash which happened during a race forming part of the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling in July last year.
The Cardiff Ajax rider was among riders contesting the finish on the A40 of the 45-mile Abergavenny Road Race on the evening of 9 July, reports the Free Press.
Mr Carroll, with several other riders, had crossed over to the right-hand side of the two-lane road, putting them into the path of oncoming traffic, the inquest was told.
Deputy coroner for Gwent Wendy James found that there was nothing at fault with the driving of Tobias John Wilding, who had been travelling in the opposite direction when he collided with the cyclists.
He told the inquest: “I tried to slow down and veered on the grassy verge to the side to try and avoid them, but in a split second Ben collided with the front side.”
The inquest also heard that between eight and ten other riders came down in the crash, one suffering minor injuries.
Recording her conclusion, Ms James said: “It is commendable that people indulge their passion for cycling, but the safety of themselves and other road users must be paramount.
“Ben was a talented young man with a promising future ahead of him, but his life was snuffed out which is nothing short of a tragedy.
“I find myself fortunate today not to be conducting inquests into multiple deaths caused by the accident.”
Mr Carroll's family attended the inquest and afterwards his father urged that road racing rules by changed to prevent others meeting the same fate as his son.
He said: “Why was the road not closed for the final mile of the race?
"We have no issue with race protocols which were followed on the day, but we suggest that may be they should be changed in future.”
Following Mr Carroll's death, a spokesperson for British Cycling said: “Fortunately, this kind of incident is rare.
"British Cycling takes rider safety extremely serious and it remains the most important priority at any event."