Sussex Police seek hit-and-run horsebox driver who left two cyclists injured

Incident took place at 10.15am on Sunday morning on Station Road, Berwick

by Simon_MacMichael   December 11, 2012  

road.cc news

Sussex Police have launched an appeal to track down the driver of a 4x4 towing a horse box who knocked two cyclists off their bikes on Saturday, leaving one with a broken collarbone and another with concussion and what is described as a “minor brain injury.”

The incident happened on Station Road, Berwick, East Sussex on Sunday morning as the pair, Matt Scott and Marc Townsend, rode with their friend Mark Tearle, who has related the sequence of events on his Velomorpha blog, which began with the motorist attempting to overtake the cyclists on a road that was too narrow to do that safely.

“As we passed the entrance to the reservoir and continued up the hill a 4×4 motor vehicle towing a large horse box trailer suddenly appeared next to us, the vehicle was fag paper close and travelling at speed,” he wrote. 

“The vehicle must have straddled across the center of the road as it suddenly made a sharp maneuver, to avoid an oncoming collision with another vehicle, steering into Matt who was struck about midway along the trailer sending him shuddering out of control into Marc…

“It’s such a blur, it was so quick. I had managed to maintain control but Matt had hit the tarmac hard on his right side, his head just inches away from the wheels of the trailer, with Marc tangled in Matt’s bike striking his head as they both finally came to a halt in a crumpled mess on the floor.

“The driver of the 4×4 with trailer did not stop and by the time we had realised it was too late to catch his vehicle registration or have the wherewithal to take a photograph. 

“The driver of the oncoming vehicle had stopped, though he was edgy and unresponsive and soon left the scene mumbling about “not being able to do anything to help”, and it was left to a couple in a Silver BMW, who had witness the incident, to check that we were all OK and direct the traffic – thoughtful, responsible, caring citizens.”

Police and ambulance staff were called to the scene of the incident, which took place at around 10.15am, and anyone with information that can help identify the driver of the horse box is requested to contact Sussex Police on 101.

While Tearle came out of the incident physically unscathed – it was Scott who suffered the broken collarbone and Townsend the head injuries – it clearly left him in severely shaken, and as he wrote on his blog, “the thought that this could have been so much worse will not leave my thoughts.”

He went on: The inconsiderate, dangerous action and callous indifference for the lives, health and well being of others, exhibited by that driver is too much for me to even contemplate, I don’t have the words to describe the way I am feeling at this present time. 

“Three lives and countless others attached to us; children, partners and friends, have been affected in a way that is indefinable.  No one died, but physical pain and injury has been inflicted and confidence has, for now, been lost.

“Both Matt and Marc are now recovering at home,” he added. “We are human and we break so easily.”

13 user comments

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There but for the grace of god and all that.

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

posted by notfastenough [2965 posts]
11th December 2012 - 19:06

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This is one of the most common acts of dangerous driving I see (I rarely ride in built up areas) - drivers overtaking when the gap is too small/road is blind, only to slam on the brakes and swerve into the side of the road when they finally realize they've misjudged it.

Scary Sad

Dedicated cycling price comparison | http://www.leadoutbikes.com

posted by mckechan [180 posts]
11th December 2012 - 19:26

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There's a small possibility that the horse box was stolen, which would account for the hasty behaviour of the driver of the 4x4 and them not stopping. An assumption though...
Hope they get the guy and prosecute to the full capacity of the law.

I'm getting sick and tired of reading about cyclists getting injured and killed by motorists. Things need to change.

posted by Critchio [103 posts]
11th December 2012 - 20:02

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'Hope they get the guy and prosecute to the full capacity of the law.'
It was a woman horse box driver who nearly did for me once, it could have been a woman.

antonio

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posted by antonio [937 posts]
11th December 2012 - 22:11

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I was clipped but a trailer once, I freaking hate the things and they are often wider than the vehicle. why the snizzle people cant wait 30 seconds is beyond me.

posted by mrchrispy [283 posts]
12th December 2012 - 0:18

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All those traffic islands that now litter the middle of so many urban roads at crossing points and within so called traffic calmed areas!!! They are a real nightmare, cars, lorry’s, buses, you name it play Russian roulette – can they beat you to the narrows first? To save them self 20 seconds, or they will try the - If pass with cm to spare we will fit approach! I hate it Angry

posted by 60kg lean keen ... [56 posts]
12th December 2012 - 0:53

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The facility to tow a trailer for a standard category D licence is actually limited, with grandfather rights exceptions for Category E) but rarely checked for the private motorist. Many tow trailers too heavy for the towing vehicle, and fail to display the gross weights as required by law.

Chances are that the driver of the vehicle will be totally unaware that the incident occurred as the impact would have been when the impact zone would not be visible through the rear view mirrors. Trailer angled for a right turn of the steering as the vehicle pulled in.

The trailer may well be marked from the impact and the bikes may well be carrying paint from the trailer.

Motorists being creatures of habit you might find that this was a regular trip to take horses to & from pasture, or to winter livery stables.

There is one key detail of self preservation here, and one which I've seen others nearly hit through failure to observe. Do not ride so close to the nearside that the dangerous fools even consider overtaking, when you are not happy about your safety in this move. Be well aware of the vehicles behind AND oncoming on single carriageway roads. Watch Magnatom's encounter with the Tesco van and see how he blocks the first very dangerous move, and from his road position has plenty of space on the nearside to react when the driver again overtakes crossing the double solid lines and again nearly runs head-on into an oncoming vehicle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=iGXfP9KMPcM On roads like this it is in your own interest to be highly pro-active.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [471 posts]
12th December 2012 - 6:41

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There seemed to be an unusually large number of antsy drivers out last weekend. I was cut up twice within 5 minutes on Sunday. A gift to cyclists from the BBC as a result of screening War on Britain's Roads last week?

Most people seem to have short memories, so maybe they will calm down again by Christmas.

posted by Bexleyhillbilly [37 posts]
12th December 2012 - 11:15

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Good point AV - on my commute to my old job in Woolwich I used to cycle thru Blackheath. As I cycled up the top of the hill, the road narrowed considerably. After several occasions when buses or trucks started overtaking and then cut in due to an oncoming vehicle, I'd ride way out from the kerb and really claim the lane until the dangerous narrow point had been passed. I did have a tailback of vehicles behind for this short stretch and I'm sure the drivers were fuming at the 30 second delay to their timetable but it was certainly safer for me. And to be honest, if they cared so much about journey times they certainly wouldn't have used a car on that route. I regularly used to pass a colleague at New Cross, wave to him as he sat amidst traffic, and then be in the office a full 15 minutes before he got there. When I pointed out that he'd be quicker cycling he complained he lived too far away but he then said his journey was only 10 miles, and I answered that it was the same as mine. But he was on the portly side and the prospect of exercise wasn't one he probably relished.

In this incident with the horse trailer, it is possible the trailer was being stolen. It's also possible the driver simply forgot about the cyclists as soon as he/she had passed them. It is a common problem amongst drivers of longer vehicles. Towing trailers does require some additional driving skills and clearly, the person involved in this incident didn't have them. It's very lucky indeed that the cyclists weren't more serioussly injured and hopefully the one with the worst injury will recover. Perhaps the driver will be caught, perhaps not. Had the driver of the oncoming vehicle been as helpful as the couple in the BMW, it's entirely likely the idiot in the 4x4 would have been tracked.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
12th December 2012 - 11:23

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very, very typical of these horse-owning discovery or range rover drivers, this doesn't surprise me at all, unfortunately.

could be right about effects of the bbc documentary, too.

posted by Karbon Kev [667 posts]
12th December 2012 - 11:59

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This incident highlights a very common problem. If a vehicle collides with a cyclist, drivers don't see it as a reportable incident. If the 2 cars had collided they I bet they would have stopped and exchanged details.

The driver who was coming the other way should, if found, prosecuted they were part of the incident and left the scene of an accident.

I've seen some reports on here but I'm shocked that drivers are leaving accidents because they are not taking cyclist seriously.

posted by Treads CC [6 posts]
12th December 2012 - 14:16

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60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:
All those traffic islands that now litter the middle of so many urban roads at crossing points and within so called traffic calmed areas!!! They are a real nightmare, cars, lorry’s, buses, you name it play Russian roulette – can they beat you to the narrows first? To save them self 20 seconds, or they will try the - If pass with cm to spare we will fit approach! I hate it Angry

Agree, drivers don't see it as an instruction to slow down but to go for the gap.
Usually, I'm livid when a driver pulls that one on me but last night I had to laugh (in incredulity).
I was approaching a traffic island in primary so I wouldn't get overtaken and some arse pulls alongside me and I see him on his phone!
He realises that he cant get thru and lets me thru first. He then rushes past to beat me to the next Traffic island and does so only for me to catch him up at lights.
To be fair, he did wind his window down when I asked him to and listened when I advised him that it's not good to try and overtake at a traffic island.
He nods and replies 'You could pull in a bit though' whilst still with mobile in hand next to his ear.

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posted by Joselito [133 posts]
12th December 2012 - 16:20

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You would have hoped that this sort of driver would be on our side considering their hobby.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
12th December 2012 - 19:02

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