A coroner’s inquest has heard that a speeding motorist in Manchester who struck and killed a cyclist as she was negotiating a pedestrian crossing escaped prosecution because signs notifying a change in the speed limit had been put in the wrong place.
Michael Campbell, aged 40, was travelling at between 41 and 49mph in his Seat Leon when he hit 44-year-old Jaye Bloomfield in August last year, reports the Manchester Evening News.
She died as a result of severe head and chest injuries shortly after the collision on a slip road leadinhg to the Mancunian Way. The location where the crash happened has a speed limit of 30mph, but the inquest was told that contractors had put signs in the wrong place.
Police Constable Ian Beaumont told the coroner: “The Mancunian Way is classed as a motorway, and when a motorway ends there should be appropriate signage of the speed limit.
“There should be a sign indicating the speed limit but this was incorrectly placed by the contractors.
“Improvements are being made to the signage so it is at the start of the slip road. A 30mph sign will be brought in next to the end of the motorway.”
According to witnesses, immediately before the collision, the cyclist was straddling her bike, using her feet to push herself forward.
The police officer added: “The pedestrian crossing is placed essentially in the middle of the motorway. It’s not meant for cyclists, but for the movement of pedestrians.”
The motorist was arrested following the fatal incident, but no charges were brought due to prosecutors deciding that in the absence of correctly positioned signs telling drivers of the change in the speed limit, he would not have been aware that he needed to slow down.
Giving evidence at the inquest, Mr Campbell said: “The traffic lights were green so I accelerated towards the Mancunian Way. I heard something hit the car and thought it had come from above.
“I stopped immediately in the middle of the road and looked to the left and saw someone in the road.
“I ran to the person. I was so confused. Two cars stopped and they called the police and ambulance.”
Returning a narrative verdict, the coroner, Fiona Borrill, said: “I shall be writing a letter to Manchester City Council to find out when the signs will be in place.”
Ms Bloomfield had entered into a civil partnership with Gemma Godden, her partner of eight and a half years, just under 12 months before her death and the pair were preparing to celebrate their anniversary.
In a statement issued through her solicitor, Ms Godden said: “I am grateful for the Coroner’s investigation in to the circumstances surrounding the accident that killed Jaye.
“I have lost the partner I loved and wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
"I miss her every day as do her family and friends. We both loved cycling but this terrible accident once again highlights the dangers cyclists face from motorists driving at speed.
"I urge drivers to respect the speed limit. If the driver who hit Jaye had been driving at 30mph or below as he should have been, he would almost certainly have seen her and been able to stop.
"I want police to clamp down on speeding drivers and I want drivers to realise that cyclists are all someone’s loved one. Please look out for cyclists and give them space on the roads.”
Her solicitor, Carol Jackson, added: “We are advising Gemma as to the possibility of a civil action against the driver of the car."
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.