Man dies after 15mph crash in Richmond Park

Helmeted rider hit gravel on bend, according to eyewitness

by John Stevenson   August 26, 2014  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

In what is being described as a freak accident, a 40-year-old man died on Sunday after falling off his bike on a descent in Richmond Park, Surrey.

Police were called to the crash which occurred just before 09:30 on Sunday morning. The man, who has not yet been named, was taken by London's Air Ambulance to the Royal London Hospital in a critical condition, but later died from his injuries.

The rider is reported to have crashed as a result of hitting gravel while descending Broomfield Hill/Dark Hill, near the park's south-eastern edge.

The man was put into the recovery position by a passing doctor. He was wearing a helmet and is thought to have been travelling at about 15 mph. The speed limit in Richmond Park is 20mph.

Oliver Prior, who was riding up the hill as the man came down it, told Mary Isokariari of the Evening Standard: "The man was coming down on the outside of the bend where the road has the most amount of gravel. He bike slipped from underneath him and he fell and hit his head.

“There was a doctor, who just happened to be cycling and he organised for three people to help move the man into the recovery position. My friend was one of them."

The Metropolitan Police said that the deceased's next of kin had been notified and that the MPS Royal Parks Command Unit is now investigating.

No one else was involved in the incident.

34 user comments

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Love the hypocrisy - anytime someone not wearing a helmet dies, that's totally allowed as ammunition for an argument. At least nobody seems to complain.

But evidence this logic is wrong is not.

If you object to turning someone's death into an argument, do so on both sides please.

RIP. Sorry but I didn't start this trend.

posted by nuclear coffee [181 posts]
26th August 2014 - 10:41

57 Likes

I blame the gravel on the side of the road... Sad

posted by Paul_C [277 posts]
26th August 2014 - 10:52

34 Likes

Comments normally disabled on fatality stories surely?

posted by vbvb [343 posts]
26th August 2014 - 10:55

30 Likes

vbvb wrote:
Comments normally disabled on fatality stories surely?

Comments are closed if they would interfere with a prosecution, but this is a tragic accident with no other party involved.

Some news sites will close comments due to trolling and abuse. I expect everyone using road.cc is far removed from such behaviour.

posted by bikebot [949 posts]
26th August 2014 - 11:02

26 Likes

Maybe just ones where it looks like there will be a legal prosecution?

posted by Beatnik69 [162 posts]
26th August 2014 - 11:06

21 Likes

As already said... you just never know when its your turn to go!

RIP

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [429 posts]
26th August 2014 - 11:10

25 Likes

My sympathies to the family.

Angelfishsolo's picture

posted by Angelfishsolo [116 posts]
26th August 2014 - 11:32

35 Likes

Perhaps We can see the use of gravel as a top dressing eliminated in Richmond Park now?

Tragic as this is, if the local authority don't act, then a decent lawyer will be able to argue that they are liable for all and any injuries attributed to loose gravel.

posted by alexb [56 posts]
26th August 2014 - 11:49

37 Likes

@ Nuclearcoffee: brave post. Chapeau. I agree totally. Guaranteed it would have been a shitstorm of 'Tragic But...' 'Terrible for the family But...' 'Some of my best friends don't wear helmets But...'

In discussing population-level issues (which helmet promotion let alone legislation is) *every* evidence point is a personal tragedy for those concerned. Discussion of the wider issue does not subtract from that or our compassion for those suffering a life-changing loss. We should acknowledge this for what it is: proof positive that 160gm of coffee-cup material full of holes will not save your life, even at low speed, on a flat surface, with no other vehicle involved. Do not rely on it. Putting aside libertarian views on personal risk, responsibility and the state's interference or lack thereof: If you ride faster, further or take more risk wearing one you have been fooled by an industry selling a comfort blanket that just doesn't work.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [677 posts]
26th August 2014 - 12:01

45 Likes

Wearing a helmet does not guarantee safety in the event of an accident, not wearing a helmet does not guarantee injury. It merely shifts the odds. We don't know the cause of death, just that he fell and hit his head. There are a multitude of factors that play towards the tragic outcome.

Let it rest.

Commiserations to the family and friends of the deceased.

posted by truffy [577 posts]
26th August 2014 - 13:14

37 Likes

@KiwiMike

Firstly, my condolences to his family. I was there on Sunday and at the time it was clearly serious.

Secondly, I don't wish to turn this into an argument after someone has died, but please don't use one incident as evidence helmets are pointless, or even dangerous. Yes, in this case, it appears the helmet did not save his life. However, no-one knows all the factors involved here.

Full studies of incidents involving head injuries, or simulations of, should be the only evidence into account. Yes, this one incident would or could form part of that, but a single incident is never evidence on its own.

If you personally feel helmets are unnecessary or inadequate, feel free to not wear one, or perhaps one designed for motorsports users. I understand you may have a grievance against legislation (where I would agree with you) but I don't think it's fair to read this incident as positive evidence that you can discard your helmet when riding a road bike at speed.

Hopefully this discussion won't become aggressive, and we all just remember that there are many factors involved in serious injury.

posted by benclark88 [6 posts]
26th August 2014 - 13:31

22 Likes

Tragic accident and quite shocking personally having come off at that sort of speed recently.

Simply coming off at 15mph should not cause life threatening injuries, helmetted or not, which suggests to me that the poor chap has either hit something else or had some other medical reason for falling in the first place.

As has been said you never know when it's your time - makes me gratefull to be here and able to post.

posted by allezrider [85 posts]
26th August 2014 - 14:20

15 Likes

A tragedy but I am curious about the "wearing a helmet" bit:

Was it a "modern" helmet (in terms of design and materials)? I still see people riding with those old Styrofoam buckets that offer limited protection.

Was it the right size? I once assisted a woman with a nasty head injury who was wearing a undersized helmet that left her forehead exposed -- I guess it passed the mirror test though.

Was it being worn (adjusted) properly? Or like the people that wear them tipped back on their head or worse yet like a beret.

posted by massspike [134 posts]
26th August 2014 - 14:30

19 Likes

massspike wrote:
A tragedy but I am curious about the "wearing a helmet" bit:

Was it a "modern" helmet (in terms of design and materials)? I still see people riding with those old Styrofoam buckets that offer limited protection.

irrelevant, the only element that might be, is how old the helmet is, i.e. how degraded. Most current helmets are actually worse than those sold 20 years ago, the current standards are actually lower for most manufacturers, i believe that only Specialized still use the stricter Snell standard.

People seem to place so much faith in, what is in essence a crap piece of safety equipment.

wear a helmet don't wear a helmet, i don't care, just don't believe it is miraculous, don't believe that it will help in every situation, it won't. This is why helmets must not be compulsory, and why the courts need to be educated as to just how crap, and how little help a helmet is.

RIP.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1537 posts]
26th August 2014 - 14:46

20 Likes

Could you please disable comments on this story.

posted by deblemund [203 posts]
26th August 2014 - 14:59

18 Likes

nuclear coffee wrote:
Love the hypocrisy - anytime someone not wearing a helmet dies, that's totally allowed as ammunition for an argument. At least nobody seems to complain.

But evidence this logic is wrong is not.

If you object to turning someone's death into an argument, do so on both sides please.

RIP. Sorry but I didn't start this trend.

I was doing on both sides. This isn't the place for it, regardless of which perspective you have.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3572 posts]
26th August 2014 - 15:13

20 Likes

Tragic & sympathies
Question "the speed limit for Richmond Park is 20mph" - surely that is for cars not cycles?

posted by russellbodycomb [3 posts]
26th August 2014 - 16:06

11 Likes

russellbodycomb wrote:
Tragic & sympathies
Question "the speed limit for Richmond Park is 20mph" - surely that is for cars not cycles?

I suggest you do a bit of googling on this, there is a story on here somewhere.

Basically Royal Parks think they can, and as a result they have enforced a 20mph limit on cyclists, at this time no one has tried to legally challenge a fine, although it has been suggested that the way Royal Parks is reading the law is questionable.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1537 posts]
26th August 2014 - 17:46

12 Likes

mrmo wrote:
russellbodycomb wrote:
Tragic & sympathies
Question "the speed limit for Richmond Park is 20mph" - surely that is for cars not cycles?

I suggest you do a bit of googling on this, there is a story on here somewhere.

Basically Royal Parks think they can, and as a result they have enforced a 20mph limit on cyclists, at this time no one has tried to legally challenge a fine, although it has been suggested that the way Royal Parks is reading the law is questionable.

This CTC thread suggests the logic by which one might challenge a bicycle speeding prosecution in Richmond Park.

(Condolences to the rider's family, should any of them be reading this train-wreck of a thread).

posted by Dr_Lex [165 posts]
26th August 2014 - 17:55

8 Likes

People die from falls, just tripping or what ever. You can suffer a serious head injoury at zero speed since it's a fair way head to ground. Not just the old and imfirm, or drunk.

Maybe he made a mistake maybe he didn't, very Sad regardless for those who knew him.

posted by rogermerriman [46 posts]
26th August 2014 - 20:37

6 Likes

Surely coming off at 15mph (the estimate) can't kill? I have crashed going faster than that.

Maybe something happened when they moved him?

posted by Binky [115 posts]
26th August 2014 - 20:48

4 Likes

People die or are seriously injured at zero or close to zero from falls, the skull is strong but not uniformly so, though the danger is in terms of head injuries is not the skull but the brain.

When you stand or ride a bike your head is a fair way from the ground, enought to fracture a skull and more.

Sure it's perfectly possible to crash at quite high speeds and dust your self off, but worryingly the reverse is true that it's possible to do serious if not fatual harm by a "minor" fall.

This guy was clearly desperately unlucky to not of walked away, but it's certainly possible.

posted by rogermerriman [46 posts]
26th August 2014 - 20:59

8 Likes

Binky wrote:
Surely coming off at 15mph (the estimate) can't kill? I have crashed going faster than that.

Maybe something happened when they moved him?

Yes you can unfortunately, and less, for reasons that might be best discussed elsewhere. Condolences to the family.

fukawitribe's picture

posted by fukawitribe [635 posts]
26th August 2014 - 21:01

3 Likes

notfastenough wrote:
RIP. You just don't know when it's your turn.

Please, please, please, can we not turn this into a helmet debate? Blah blah impact speed blah blah helmet didn't save him blah blah. The poor guy's died, can we just leave it at that?

Agree - shame your plea didn't work. No further comment....

posted by vanmildert [56 posts]
26th August 2014 - 21:09

5 Likes

RIP fot the cyclist. Btw folks speed limit does not apply to bicycles. http://www.astounding.org.uk/ian/cyclelaw/speed_limits.html

BMC SR01

Pret's picture

posted by Pret [14 posts]
26th August 2014 - 21:53

3 Likes

Sorry for the family

BMC SR01

Pret's picture

posted by Pret [14 posts]
26th August 2014 - 21:56

4 Likes

Sympathies to the family and friends.

Anyone local able to comment on the gravel there? Is it surface dressing gone wrong or something else?

posted by a.jumper [751 posts]
27th August 2014 - 7:18

5 Likes

terrible turn of events.

i ride in the park quite a lot - the roads are all sealed, but the car parks are gravel and there is quite regularly a bit of gravel down the verge of the main roads, and sometimes in the centre in places.

i did have a moment in there a few weeks back where a load of gravel had been left on the apex of the left hander at the roundabout before you climb up Broomhill from Kingston gate. I was lucky in the sense that i could let the bike run wide onto the wrong side of the road, no cars and manage to stay upright.

posted by litespeeddavemira [26 posts]
27th August 2014 - 7:37

5 Likes

Pret wrote:
RIP fot the cyclist. Btw folks speed limit does not apply to bicycles. http://www.astounding.org.uk/ian/cyclelaw/speed_limits.html

Royal parks have passed a bylaw stating 20 mph for all. So it does.

posted by freespirit1 [204 posts]
27th August 2014 - 9:48

3 Likes

Very sad indeed. Also feel bad about grumbling whilst having to walk the bike past the closed road on Sunday. RIP

posted by Veloacciaio [19 posts]
27th August 2014 - 9:51

6 Likes