Five KSIs in three weeks in Kent raise serious safety concerns

Three killed and two seriously hurt as more cyclists take to the roads

by Sarah Barth   August 18, 2012  

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

In the space of just three weeks, Kent has seen five cyclists killed or seriously injured on the county's roads, sparking police concerns about safety as more and more new riders take to the roads as a result of the Olympic/ Tour de France cycling boom.

On July 22, a 22-year-old man was found unconscious on the pavement by Station Road West in Canterbury. It is understood he was involved in a collision with a vehicle while on his bike.

He has since been released from hospital, but police are appealing for witnesses to the suspected hit-and-run. Witnesses or anyone with information should call PC James Hatton-Browne at Kent Police on 101 and quoting reference 0722-212.

Eight days later on July 30, 14-year-old Kyle Coen from Sittingbourne was killed after his bike was struck by a car while he rode towards Faversham on the A2 London Road near Bapchild.

A 27-year-old woman and a man, 23, who were in a grey Fiat Bravo, are due to return for more questioning by police. Kyle was a keen BMX rider and had been to visit the local bike shop that day.

On August 3, four days later,  29-year-old Graham Epps died after being involved in a crash with a car on the A2 by Boughton, between Canterbury and Faversham.

Officers arrested and bailed a 50-year-old man on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving pending further inquiries. Mr Epps's yellow bike was left in pieces on the roadside.

And ten days on, on August 13, tragedy struck again when a cyclist riding on the A299 Thanet Way at Broomfield near Herne Bay was killed following a collision with a small lorry.

An off-duty paramedic fought to save the cyclist's life on the roadside. Police have now launched an appeal for witnesses to the crash, which is thought to have involved a lorry from Aylesford firm Kent Frozen Foods.

The same day an 18-year-old cyclist was taken to hospital with serious head injuries after a crash involving a car in Maidstone.

The teenager crashed with a green Hyundai Accent on the A229 Bishops Way at about 1.45am.

A police spokesman told Kent News: “Statistically, cycling is very safe, but there have been some tragic incidents in the past few weeks and we would urge both motorists and cyclists to take extra care.

“We work closely with our partners at Kent County Council and the Kent Camera Safety Partnership to monitor problems and to promote road safety to reduce the number of incidents.

“Roads policing officers are on patrol every day to enforce the law and intervene with speeding motorists, drivers using mobile phones and motorists driving dangerously.”

So far, 67 people have been killed on Britain's roads this year while cycling.

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

What kind of roads were these? By the number, I'm guessing the A2 incidents were on busy, fast sections of road?

Really sad to hear of these tragic losses and injuries. Sad

posted by Paul J [539 posts]
18th August 2012 - 10:27

like this
Like (3)

Paul J wrote:
What kind of roads were these? By the number, I'm guessing the A2 incidents were on busy, fast sections of road?

Certainly some questions were raised about why the cyclist in the Thanet Way incident was on that road and not the cycle path nearby, but that's not really the point is it?

Sarah Barth's picture

posted by Sarah Barth [949 posts]
18th August 2012 - 10:44

like this
Like (3)

I cycle on some very quiet country lanes and even on those cars approach me at very high speeds from the opposite direction, they do not slow down or pass me with any caution. If I was to hit a pothole and come off the bike they would kill me. We need drivers to be more aware of bikes . We need a national campaign like the think bike campaign for motorbikes

posted by ratattat [30 posts]
18th August 2012 - 11:35

like this
Like (3)

surely the headline should be "Kent police worry driving standards too low to cope with rise in cyclists" ?

In my experience this is a more accurate statement. I drive and cycle in the county and basically, many drivers lack basic skills. My driving actually improved when I started cycling and I wonder if mandatory cycling (or horseriding) would be in order. As a driver I have been involved in at least two scary road road rage incidents where the other vehicle ignored a traffic signal (a red traffic light and incorrect positioning at a roundabout) because it was going too fast. As a cyclist - it is almost daily the numpties you come across. The road to Ashford to New Romney is wide and straight and speed limits are routinely ignored with suicidal passing (once passed by a car correctly that was actually overtaken at the same moment by some loon)

robbiec

robbieC's picture

posted by robbieC [62 posts]
18th August 2012 - 11:53

like this
Like (3)

Sarah,

I think there is a point at looking at the roads concerned, how they're engineered, what the traffic is like & what provision is made for cyclists, and then to consider whether the road really is suited to having cyclists on it, and if not, why did the cyclist feel the need to cycle on that road? E.g. if there were separate cycling facilities, why might the cyclist have felt they were not adequate? Or if there were no separate cycling facilities, why the hell not?

I think the road conditions & engineering are extremely relevant. These things must be examined and lessons must be learned.

posted by Paul J [539 posts]
18th August 2012 - 11:54

like this
Like (3)

Actually, I should have thought that a typical dual-carriageway trunk road, while a thoroughly unpleasant experience on a bike, is probably safer than a single carriageway A road, or minor roads - just as motorways are safer for motorists than other roads.

Why? Because they are engineered to be wider and straighter, so that traffic can move faster, but that means the opportunity to see and avoid is so much greater as to be unmissable to anyone other than a criminally incompetent driver.

The roads which really scare me are rural B roads - narrower, more winding, and generally with an entirely inappropriate national speed limit ie 60mph.

Mind you, while I know that motorists involved in serious road casulaties are often arrested as an administrative matter, to ease potential furtehr proceedings which may come to nothing, the incidents here do sound like an element of dangerous driving was involved in each case. And what is meant by "thought to be" from Kent Frozen Foods? Does that mean the police aren't saying, or that they don't know because the driver legged it?

posted by Paul M [306 posts]
18th August 2012 - 12:42

like this
Like (3)

Paul J - you're right, of course, but at the end of the day, someone died, and not prejudging the outcome of an investigation, it could probably have been avoided. That's what I was trying to say.

Sarah Barth's picture

posted by Sarah Barth [949 posts]
18th August 2012 - 13:07

like this
Like (3)

It could have been avoided by there not being a collision. Please don't blame the victim for choosing to use the road. I really like cycle tracks but nearly all of them are unsuitable for riding at speed or with cargo, and some are unsuitable for all but the slowest users.

posted by a.jumper [679 posts]
18th August 2012 - 22:51

like this
Like (3)

.

posted by a.jumper [679 posts]
18th August 2012 - 22:53

like this
Like (3)

I personally think that speed limits everywhere but motorways and dual carriageways need to be reduced! It should also be mandatory that in all new cars a gps device of somekind needs to be fitted to reduce speed without any input from the driver, that way they will have to slow down, they have the technology to do it, so why dont they! It might cost more, but you cant really put a price on someones life can you?

2 wheels > 4 wheels

posted by allez rikki [18 posts]
18th August 2012 - 23:13

like this
Like (3)

Paul M wrote:
Actually, I should have thought that a typical dual-carriageway trunk road, while a thoroughly unpleasant experience on a bike, is probably safer than a single carriageway A road, or minor roads - just as motorways are safer for motorists than other roads.

Why? Because they are engineered to be wider and straighter, so that traffic can move faster, but that means the opportunity to see and avoid is so much greater as to be unmissable to anyone other than a criminally incompetent driver.

The roads which really scare me are rural B roads - narrower, more winding, and generally with an entirely inappropriate national speed limit ie 60mph.

Mind you, while I know that motorists involved in serious road casulaties are often arrested as an administrative matter, to ease potential furtehr proceedings which may come to nothing, the incidents here do sound like an element of dangerous driving was involved in each case. And what is meant by "thought to be" from Kent Frozen Foods? Does that mean the police aren't saying, or that they don't know because the driver legged it?


I very much agree with the above. Very insightful and born of experience. The actual statistics also bare it out. Trunk roads are the safest to cycle on in terms of deaths per billion km travelled by bike. It is a very common misconception that dual carriageways are necessarily more dangerous to cycle on than "quiet country lanes"

posted by wyadvd [116 posts]
19th August 2012 - 15:59

like this
Like (3)

also wanted to say that the only way to get any information as to the true cause of the accidents is to be there at the coroners inquest.

posted by wyadvd [116 posts]
19th August 2012 - 16:03

like this
Like (5)

Whilst dual carriageways are statistically safer for cyclists, there's no denying that they are unpleasant, with the draught and noise from cars and lorries passing.

I would presume that anyone choosing to cycle on a trunk road like the A2 is both confident and experienced so it is very worrying that drivers weren't able to avoid hitting them. I wonder what these drivers were paying attention to? It certainly can't have been the road.

Also, one has to question the morals of the lowlife who know they have collided with another human being and then drive off to selfishly protect their driving licence. The penalty for such an offence really should be a massive deterrent.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
20th August 2012 - 12:29

like this
Like (3)