A coroner’s inquest has been told that Bristol City Council identified a location in the city’s harbour as being dangerous for cyclists nearly a decade before a man lost control of his bike and drowned there – and that a more recent report had warned that “it is a matter of time before an incident occurs."
Avon Coroner’s Court also heard that 40-year-old Sean Phillips may have been thrown into the harbour after the wheels of his mountain bike got stuck in rails close to the M Shed museum on Prince's Wharf in March last year, reports BBC News.
Although two passers-by jumped into the water to try and rescue the father-of-two, who was in training for a 200-mile charity ride from Kent to Amsterdam, they were unable save his life.
Safety concerns due to railway and crane tracks were first expressed in a risk assessment carried out by the council in May 2003, which highlighted that incidents involving cyclists, some of them “quite serious,” were happening in the area.
The next risk assessment was carried out in May 2011 with a further one following in November of that year, and the report making a recommendation for safety barriers to be installed.
A separate, independent report was released in April 2012 and again said that safety barriers should be erected, but the council rejected the recommendation.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Avon Coroner Maria Voisin said: “It appears Mr Phillips was unconscious from the time he came off his bike. Despite the heroic efforts of members of the public in their attempts to resuscitate him, he sadly died."
She said that following his death, steps had been taken to make the harbourside safer for cyclists.
Following the inquest, Mr Phillips partner, Hayley Liddle, said: "Although nothing can bring Sean back we want to ensure that his death was not in vain and others do not suffer in future."
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.