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Rebecca Scott may not have been able to squeeze the brakes due to hand pain and numbness, inquest suggests

A cyclist who was killed on a downhill when she careered into a house may have been suffering from ‘Cyclist’s Palsy’, an inquest has found.

Cyclist's palsy, also known as handlebars palsy, is a numbing of the nerves in the hands after cycling in the same position for a extended period of time.

Rebecca Scott, 24, was in training for a 100 mile ride when she hit a wall while travelling down a hill in Branscombe, Devon.

Her father Alan was cycling behind her and heard the "bang" as she crashed into the wall. She suffered multiple injuries.

There were no mechanical faults with Rebecca’s bike and she was an experienced triathlete and a competent rider, the inquest at Devon County Hall heard, before recording a conclusion of accidental death.

"Nothing I have heard today suggests this was anything other than a perfectly sensible, well organised, family cycle," Mr Cox said, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

"I accept there is nothing from a mechanical perspective to explain what has gone on here, which means we are at something of a loss to find anything as the cause.

"The issue of cyclist's palsy, which I have not come across before, has been raised. It is speculation and there is nothing a pathologist could find at post mortem.

"It is, I think, the best explanation for what has happened, but I cannot say for definite that it did happen."

The pair had gone on what they called a ‘social ride’ of about an hour on August 3 last year before attempting the steep downhill into Branscombe.

Rebecca had mentioned along the ride said she would ask her brother Matthew to "tweak" her brakes later, but didn’t mention any major fault, her father said.

"Rebecca was never reckless with the downhill speed," he added. "We weren't racing at all, there was nothing like that going on.

"I was in front, I rode with my fingers on the brakes all the way down. Then, near the bottom she went past me, which was unexpected.

"She was making a noise. I knew she wasn't happy. At that point, I released my brakes to chase and catch up with her.

"She went past me, around the corner out of sight. I then heard a bang and that was it - no time at all. I was there seconds later."

Paramedics were called but Rebecca was pronounced dead at the scene.

She had hit the wall of a house at the bottom of the hill and suffered "multiple injuries", pathologist Dr Paul McCullagh said.

Pc Rod Lomas, of Devon and Cornwall Police, suggested cyclist's palsy could be to blame for the tragedy.

He said that the condition, caused when cyclists do not change their hand position over the caourse of a long ride, can cause tingling, fatigue and numbness.

"It is just a possibility to try to explain why Rebecca has lost control and has been unable to control the speed at which she has descended," he said.

"It is something that is rectified by changing the position of the hands,” which, he acknowledged, was difficult on a long and fast descent, making it hard to squeeze the brakes.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.