Non-stop charity ride from Manchester to Gibraltar abandoned after van hits two riders in Kent

Pedals for Medals ride for Help for Heroes curtailed - but injured rider tells road.cc it could have been much worse

by Simon_MacMichael   May 4, 2014  

Matt Lavery, Pedals for Medals (source PedalsforMedals on Twitter)

A non-stop ride from Manchester to Gibraltar being undertaken by four cyclists to raise funds for the charity Help for Heroes has been abandoned after two of the riders were hospitalised after being hit by a van travelling at an estimated 60 miles an hour in Kent early on Friday morning.

The quartet were undertaking the 1,583-mile ride as a relay, with pairs of riders riding for four hours at a time. They had left the Imperial War Museum, Manchester, at 11am on Thursday morning and aimed to reach Gibraltar early one Tuesday morning.

Former Royal Marine Matt Lavery and ex-Royal Engineer Dave Dickinson had been riding for around an hour following the last changeover when they were hit by the van shortly after leaving Maisdstone, heading towards Dover on the A249.

Matt, who suffered several cracked ribs and a punctured lung and is currently recovering at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Pembury, told road.cc that with daylight starting to appear, and Dave riding a few yards ahead of him, the pair were hit from behind by a van.

It wasn’t a direct hit from behind, more a glancing blow from the passenger side, something that Matt believes meant the consequences of the collision were much less serious for the pair than they might otherwise have been.

Both riders were catapulted beyond the grass verge and into the bushes, rather than hitting the road surface. Matt told us that the driver did not stop immediately, but returned to the scene shortly afterwards to discover that he had hit the two cyclists. Police attended the incident, and we will be following up with them on what action is being taken.

Outwardly at least, Dave’s injuries looked more severe – Matt said that he suffered cuts, bruises, scrapes and had some skin missing, and that his helmet had been smashed. Initially, it was feared that he had a broken jaw, but that turned out not to be the case and following a CT scan he has been allowed to return home to continue his recovery.

Matt said: “Initially as soon as I got hit, I was trying to work out what happened, Dave was screaming, I was screaming, you think the worst, so that was scary.”

The ride has been abandoned, although initially there was a split between the crew involved about whether the two other riders – Jo Cadwallider and Gaz Davies – should attempt to carry on.

“We had two riders that were still up for it, but the wind had been taken out of the sails,” explained Matt.

“We’d just got up to the speed with the changeover routines, we had the momentum, everyone was feeling good.

“There was a bit of debate once they knew we were in hospital with non-life threatening injuries, but with two riders the dynamics change, there are other risks involved.

“So we’ll regroup and have a look at having another crack,” he added.

You can find out more about the Pedals for Medals ride on its website here, which includes a link to make donations as well as links to the team’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Matt acknowledged that the outcome of the collision for himself and Dave could have been much worse, and several stories here on road.cc in recent months have highlighted the dangers that those cycling for charity can face.

In March, also in Kent, Christian Smith was killed while undertaking a 24-hour ride in which he aimed to raise £1,000 for the charity MIND. Donations from well-wishers since his death now exceed £80,000, and his widow aims to finish the ride.

It’s not just cyclists who can face hazards from traffic while trying to raise money for good causes.

On Friday, a man attempting to break the record for running from Land’s End to John O’Groats was forced to abandon his attempt after he fell into a ditch when a lorry passed too close to the cyclist accompanying him, sending the rider crashing into the runner.

According to the Barnsley Chronicle, Gavin Felton, who was also aiming to raise money for Barnsley Hospice, tore calf muscles and damaged nerves in his left leg.

The 44-year-old from Barnsley said: "I was running with a cyclist from my support team, who was at the side of me nearest to the road, and we were both lit up like Christmas trees.

"A lorry passed and came within about a foot or so of the cyclist and as it passed it blew him in to the side of me.

"I had to swerve and ended up in a steep ditch. The lorry never stopped."

He now plans to attempt to break the record in August 2015.

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Hope the boys can give this another shot. Incidents like this are becoming way too commonplace but I'm relieved this one hadn't worse consequences. I hope the driver gets the book thrown at them - unbelievable that they didn't stop immediately.

YorkshireMike's picture

posted by YorkshireMike [68 posts]
4th May 2014 - 18:55

like this
Like (24)

When the lads try again I am sure those of us in Kent can lead them a better route to Dover, the A249 is a horrible road to ride on.

Fixedwheelnut's picture

posted by Fixedwheelnut [16 posts]
4th May 2014 - 21:48

like this
Like (21)

I did a 200 mile charity ride this weekend and thankfully we all made it safely to the finish. Nevertheless, we experienced 3 road rage incidents where 2 cars and one van deliberately passed extremely close and then cut in aggressively at the front. All 3 were on B roads to the east of Oxford. We also saw 2 very near head on incidents where aggressive overtaking caused those oncoming to swerve into the verge. In balance though, around 2000 motorists passed us safely and with courtesy.

flashpeddler's picture

posted by flashpeddler [1 posts]
5th May 2014 - 13:10

like this
Like (16)

It's a shame that this sort of thing is becoming the norm, so much so that Jo Average will interpret it as yet another confirmation of the "good sense" in avoiding cycling at all times.
Members of the public will think this way, rather than reacting to the whole episode with dismay and urging all in authority to build roads suitable for all road users, not just the mightiest.

I predict that the driver will not get the book thrown at them, but will experience at most a few points on a licence (3 probably, same as speeding) and maybe either a small fine (in value less than equal to one year car insurance premium) or possibly the reward of a driver training course.

Of course, it is entirely possible that the police will contact them after a statutory period and say that the event will not be investigated further and that no prosecutions will follow.

This is also now the norm.

posted by severs1966 [70 posts]
5th May 2014 - 13:29

like this
Like (24)

flashpeddler wrote:

I did a 200 mile charity ride this weekend and thankfully we all made it safely to the finish. Nevertheless, we experienced 3 road rage incidents where 2 cars and one van deliberately passed extremely close and then cut in aggressively at the front. All 3 were on B roads to the east of Oxford. We also saw 2 very near head on incidents where aggressive overtaking caused those oncoming to swerve into the verge. In balance though, around 2000 motorists passed us safely and with courtesy.

Aye, < 1% of people are psychopaths. That is in line with what I experience on my daily commute. Still doesn't make those < 1% any less scary, sadly.

Work harder. Buy a tank.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [273 posts]
5th May 2014 - 14:35

like this
Like (16)

These events aren't the norm, but they are very disturbing. You'd hope when a prat runs into you that they'd at least stop, even if just to try to tell you it's your fault. Some drivers sense of entitlement is too great, they need to be cut down to size.

posted by drmatthewhardy [303 posts]
6th May 2014 - 15:21

like this
Like (13)

Just a simple get well soon to the cyclists in this story.
I hope they aren't too badly hurt.

Rupert's picture

posted by Rupert [83 posts]
6th May 2014 - 16:51

like this
Like (10)

flashpeddler wrote:
In balance though, around 2000 motorists passed us safely and with courtesy.

Aye, it's always good to keep it in perspective. I've been criticised before for mentioning that most drivers are fine.

The number who are seriously dangerous is tiny, which is a cause of much frustration that the Police are so bad at dealing with them. Imagine how much safer the roads would be if the very worst 1% all lost their licence.

posted by bikebot [485 posts]
6th May 2014 - 20:54

like this
Like (7)

In 2010 I was hit head on by a driver turning into a side road, the impact caused 6 severed tendons in my arm a 10inch laceration a broken shoulder and cracked ribs, the most important thing i did was to wear a helmet which broke apart but meant I had no head injury, the driver got 3 points and a £200 fine.

MrLeffe's picture

posted by MrLeffe [6 posts]
6th May 2014 - 21:38

like this
Like (9)