UPDATED: Deadly weekend on roads for British cyclists

Three fatal accidents in as many days and similar number of serious injuries

by Mark Appleton   October 11, 2010  

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

It has been a grim few days for leisure cyclists in the UK after a series of incidents around the country that left three dead and a similar number seriously injured.

In Scotland, a senior police officer died on Friday after being in collision with a car while out riding during his lunch hour. Superintendent Neil McCover, 55 died at the scene when struck by a Mazda car on the notorious B764 Eaglesham Moor road at a location half a mile east of the Whitelee Wind Farm. The accident happened several miles away from Strathclyde Police’s Training and Recruitment Centre at Jackton, where the married father of one was based.

In Essex a cyclist died when struck by a car on the A130 main road at Ford End, Chelmsford at around 9am on Sunday. An 18-year old male was arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving before being released on bail until Tuesday.

Also on Sunday an elderly cyclist died at the scene when in collision with a Renault Clio near the White Hart pub in Maidstone Road, Marden, a village about nine miles south of Maidstone.

In Gloucestershire a 52-year old man sustained serious leg injuries after being  struck by a Ford Focus driven by an 82-year-old man, close to a lay-by on the A38 in Moreton Valence.

In County Armagh, Northern Ireland a cyclist was also seriously injured following a collision with a camper van on the Tandragee Road, near Newry at just after 4pm on Sunday

Also on Sunday, a 47-year old woman received serious injuries following an accident at Brooke Shute on the Isle of Wight. Police do not believe any other vehicle was involved. UPDATE: Hampshire police have confirmed that the woman from Brighstone on the Isle of Wight died this morning as a result of her injuries. She is believed to have lost control of her bike having passed over a wet section of road, thought to have been caused by a natural spring. On falling, she hit her head on the road and suffered what proved to be fatal injuries, despite wearing a crash helmet.

Last year 104 cyclists were killed and 2606 seriously injured on Britain’s roads.
 

9 user comments

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"In a collision with a car"? Given relative speeds, I think the only way I could kill myself by cycling into a car is if I were on the wrong side of the road: we don't talk about pedestrians being in collision with cars, do we? Are bicycles that different?

As far being let out on bail after you've been charged with killing someone? What does that tell you?

(Sighs)

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [227 posts]
11th October 2010 - 11:33

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As Freewheeler would put it: "Vehicular Cycling News Update" Sad

Conscientious Objector in the War on Vulnerable Road Users

t1mmyb's picture

posted by t1mmyb [87 posts]
11th October 2010 - 11:34

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Heard about the accident in Kent, not very pleasant reading is it?

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2192 posts]
11th October 2010 - 11:46

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timlennon wrote:
"In a collision with a car"? Given relative speeds, I think the only way I could kill myself by cycling into a car is if I were on the wrong side of the road: we don't talk about pedestrians being in collision with cars, do we? Are bicycles that different?

Perhaps not but a pedestrian is not a vehicle. Cyclist groups and the Highway Code generally take the view that a bicycle is a vehicle with similar rights and responsibilities to cars, so we can't have it both ways.

"In collision with" is just neutral journalistic language used to avoid an implication of fault which might prejudice legal proceedings.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [517 posts]
11th October 2010 - 11:48

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I think it's journalistic neutrality that upsets us when we read articles like this, when we're all thinking, 'I bet it was the drivers fault!'

If we had 'strict liability', maybe the legal proceedings would be a lot simpler?

posted by JessOnABike [7 posts]
11th October 2010 - 17:05

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JessOnABike wrote:
If we had 'strict liability', maybe the legal proceedings would be a lot simpler?

I wouldn't be surprised.

If each road death was reported in a similar manner as those in Afghanistan then people might think about it more.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1946 posts]
12th October 2010 - 9:34

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Besides, one cyclist is "in a collision" and then the guy in Essex is "struck by a car".

But yes, strict liability would we welcome, except that you'd have all these cyclists going around crashing into cars on purpose so they could claim. (Apparently)

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [227 posts]
12th October 2010 - 13:31

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The driver from essex gets bail till mid december, and can drive around freely like he has done nothing wrong!! The Justice system is a joke.

posted by roady123 [1 posts]
13th October 2010 - 0:05

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I regrettably drove past the scene minutes after the policeman was killed at Whitelee Wind Farm last Friday. A passing paramedic could do nothing. The Mazda looked more like it had been struck by another vehicle - the windscreen told another story.

I guess the facts will out given there were approx 4/5 other bikes in the group.

A contributory issue would undoubtably have been the unique layout of the B764. Formerly a clearly marked 2 lane road (and plenty wide) it was changed to a single lane road with cycle lanes on either side - solely marked with white lines.

Both cyclists and drivers continue to be confused about how to use the markings. Some drivers use the "single" lane in the middle, moving over to "cycle lane" to deal with oncomig cars. Other drivers use the cycle lane all the time, partly because on the many brows of hills on that road, other drivers stay in the middle which has caused many near misses.

Some cyclists stop on the brows (in the "cycle" lane) which can cause issues for drivers.

In addition there are some "passing places" which take over from the cycle lane area, and some double arrows on road which no-one knows the purpose of.

Because of this we never cycle on this road, but take our bikes by car to the wind-farm.

The accident site was on a relatively straight section of road with good visibility in both directions, with no breaks in the cycle lane markings.

Perhaps this tragedy will lead to re-consideration of these types of markings, and a potential reversion to the two lane layout where both cyclists and drivers knew exactly what to do.

posted by bigcheese [1 posts]
13th October 2010 - 13:33

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