Two cyclists killed in collision with lorry on A30 in Cornwall believed to riding Land's End - John O'Groats (Updated)

Driver arrested and bailed on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving

by Simon_MacMichael   July 3, 2013  

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

Two cyclists who lost their lives Tuesday morning as a result of being hit by a lorry on the A30 in Cornwall were riding Land's End to John O'Groats, police believe.

The victims have been identified as a Scottish man in his forties and another man in his 30s. Their names have not been released as police try and contact their next of kin.

The driver of the lorry, a man in his 30s from Holsworthy in Devon, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and released on police bail.

Pictures from the scene show the lorry carrying the logo of Launceston, Cornwall company Frys Logistics.

Inspector Stuart Gibbons, of Devon and Cornwall Police, told the Western Morning News that  the cyclists on the A30 had suffered severe injuries and the incident had left many colleagues in the emergency services upset.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the cyclists who will be affected by the tragic and sad incident,” he said.

Inspector Gibbons said: “They were heading back up to Scotland. It appears they were doing some sort of long-distance event heading towards Scotland.

“As a matter of procedure the lorry driver involved has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and taken to a local police station where he will be interviewed.”

CPR

Mechanic Mike Naylor was at work in his nearby garage when he heard the crash. He said: “A colleague said something serious had happened on the A30 so we went out and had a look and we could see somebody in a ditch.

“Just after it happened, a lot of members of the public had got out of their cars and were running backwards and forwards and somebody was giving one of them CPR which was quite shocking.”

Devon & Cornwall police say they were called to the scene, on the eastbound carriageway one mile before the Fraddon exit, near Newquay, at 8.37am.

Other emergency services including the fire brigade and ambulance crews attended the scene.

A30 - Land's End to John O'Groats route

While the A30 in Cornwall is used by cyclists aiming to complete a Land's End to John O'Groats (or vice-versa) ride in the shortest time possible, the consensus of advice in threads on forums such as that of national cyclists' organisation CTC is to avoid it wherever possible and use an alternative route - one poster describing it as "a motorway by another name."

Inspector Gibbons echoed this advice: “Clearly it is not illegal to cycle on the A30, but it is a main arterial road through Cornwall and takes all the heavy traffic which is often travelling at speed.

“It is advisable for cyclists not to use this route and we would recommend people to look for an alternative.”

 

21 user comments

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This is sad news. That section of the A30 has 3 lanes and the Fraddon turning is on quite a hill so drivers often try and get some speed up so they can make it up the hill without having to change down. As the incident happended just before the hill I wouldnt be surprised if speed was a factor.

posted by Kingrolo [36 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 11:29

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Sad, sad news....hopes and prayers to all family and friends...

posted by NeilXDavis [111 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 11:42

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Tragic, so tragic. I hope that their families and friends receive all the support they need.

posted by Valkyrie [6 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 11:59

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Kingrolo wrote:
This is sad news. That section of the A30 has 3 lanes and the Fraddon turning is on quite a hill so drivers often try and get some speed up so they can make it up the hill without having to change down. As the incident happended just before the hill I wouldnt be surprised if speed was a factor.

If it's 3 lanes, going downhill then why would you say speed is a factor especially when lorries are limited to 56? ***

From the description given it would appear that the cyclists were tragically in the wrong place.

*** Although the limit on an A road is 50 for lorries the limiter still means it would be difficult to exceed 56mph.

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 12:47

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thebungle wrote:
Kingrolo wrote:
This is sad news. That section of the A30 has 3 lanes and the Fraddon turning is on quite a hill so drivers often try and get some speed up so they can make it up the hill without having to change down. As the incident happended just before the hill I wouldnt be surprised if speed was a factor.

If it's 3 lanes, going downhill then why would you say speed is a factor especially when lorries are limited to 56? ***

From the description given it would appear that the cyclists were tragically in the wrong place.

*** Although the limit on an A road is 50 for lorries the limiter still means it would be difficult to exceed 56mph.

As I understand it, the limiters restrict the power to the engine so downhill it's quite easy to get above 56mph, particularly if you coast I believe. I doubt speed was the main cause though. On that sort of road drivers (myself included) will just be in cruise control mode, expecting just to maintain a high speed and just be on the watch for brake lights.

The A2 in Kent is an even worse example of a motorway by another name. There's a decent cycle path running parallel with it though so absolutely no need for cyclists to be on the A2. It should be something we see as standard on roads like this, not only to avoid tragic incidents like this one but to make getting from A to B by bike more practical.

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posted by CraigS [135 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 13:43

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Its 3 lanes going uphill. I have no knowledge of speed limiters on lorrys and how they work but I'm pretty sure I've seen them driving at more than 56 mph. I'm also guessing exactly where the incident happened so don't know whether it was on the hill or on the flat section just before it. I agree that the cyclists may have been in the wrong place, it's probably the most unpleasant road to cycle on in Cornwall I can think of.

posted by Kingrolo [36 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 13:45

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I live in the next village from the accident and i saw these two guys a couple of miles to the east . At the accident point the road is two lanes, is flat and visibility was fine at the time.
I wince everytime I see riders on this road its so busy .
I would advise anyone doing the end to end to take roads to the north or south but avoid the A30 at all cost .

Very sad news and my thoughts go out to the families

My sister just heard the news and rang to see if I was ok .

posted by Maccachod [1 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 14:09

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BBC Spotlight local news said:

"Two cyclists in collision with a lorry"

Semantics - is it not more likely that the lorry was in collision with them?

If you want to comment there are already some half-wits on https://www.facebook.com/bbcspotlight

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posted by Luminosity [64 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 18:51

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This is very sad news and my sympathy goes to the family's and friends of these two cyclists. The news does however make me a bit annoyed. Six years ago I did the LEJOG and although mainly avoided the A 30, there were a couple of sections that it was just unrealistic to detour around it.

As most end to end cyclists don't have the luxury of being able to meander around the lanes in Cornwall due to time pressures and holiday entitlement from home and /or work, the A30 presents itself as the natural route through the peninsular.

Following my ride, and realising that the road is not suited to cycling but that it will be used frequently by end to Enders and the danger that this presents, I e mailed Cornwall CC road safety department asking if a cycle track could be built along a few sections that need to be used to link up lanes running parallel to the A30, similar to the A66 in Cumbria(the route of the C2C)

I was advised that there was no need for a cycle lane!!!! The CTC forum held a similar view as I recall.

Perhaps now they might realise the need for a cycle lane alongside the A30, and a signed safe route to direct cyclists away from this road where it can be avoided.

If you feel the same e mail road safety Cornwall - their contact should be available on the council website.

posted by peddlingpete [2 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 21:07

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Just the one halfwit fortunately.

Agree with you about the semantics. The cyclists were hit by a lorry would be a more realistic description I'd imagine. Would they ever say a pedestrian was in collision with a car/lorry?

posted by paulfg42 [374 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 21:10

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Tragic news - I felt sick when I heard the news.
I completed JoGLE two weeks ago and this has struck home. My heart goes out to their family and friends. Just awful.

Thor

posted by Thor Beverley [47 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 23:09

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Yes & no, unless fully laden and on quite a steep downhill the exhaust retarder will kick in and 'choke' the engine which will ensure that the speed is brought back down, if the truck is fitted with a manual gearbox then coasting does not work either.

Also, the tacho will record the speed in real time and if the truck were to exceed 60 mph (legal limit on a M-Way) an overspeed would be recorded resulting in points and a fine for a driver which is just not worth it financially for them.

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 9:32

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Echo Thor. Did the JOGLE in June 2013 and I hated every second of the 10mins we were on the A30 as well as some bits around Inverness and Dumfries. This is not the first time I have heard about LEJOG/JOGLE fatalities on A30 and sadly is unlikely to be the last. Regrettably, the only way to complete the ride in 6-7days is to use larger/more dangerous roads. I think the only way going forward is to re-classify sections of specific 'A' roads as Motorway/Prohibit non-motorised vehicles and make people really think about their route rather than choose roads like the A30. I'm making no comment on the specifics of this case, just seeking to be pragmatic to protect people in future, there are options around the A30 and other busy roads but if you are new to an area they can be difficult to plot and so there needs to be assistance/clear direction given.

posted by SimonT1971 [35 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 9:36

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Simon, maybe the solution is not to ban cyclists but to put in place usable alternatives? the A40 between Cheltenham and Gloucester has a TRO banning cyclists, there is a usable alternative that adds a mile or so. The alternative is still busy but far more pleasant than a dual carriageway with a motorway junction.

Although i can't remember seeing any signs telling you that cycling is banned????

In theory dual carriageways can be the safest roads to cycle, lots of room, good sight lines, yes the speed differential is high but is it really that much different to what you get on many country lanes with far worse sight lines?

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posted by mrmo [1074 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 10:45

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@Luminosity

The passive phrase "in collision with" is standard journalistic practice when describing a traffic accident. It's to avoid apportioning blame because to do so could well prejudice a subsequent trial. If the local paper and media outlets have said "X collided with Y", it makes it much harder for X to argue the opposite to a jury who may have read the original articles. If a trial were to be prejudiced the paper/website could be hit with a hefty fine/punishment so errs on the side of caution until the full facts are argued in a magistrates/crown court/coroner's court.

posted by Meaulnes [38 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 11:04

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They have been named http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Charity-cyclists-died-A30-near-Newquay-n...

But I see nothing of the 3 lanes that are mentioned in the comments above. I can see two and from what I remember travelling that road in March as part of LeJogLe, it was a fast road.

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posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 11:31

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@Meaulnes Maybe saying something like "A crash involving a lorry and two cyclists" would be more appropriate.

posted by richteebis [23 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 11:42

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I've seen cyclists on the A30 and though "blimey, no way I'd ride this". I love riding in Cornwall, but what I love are the ridiculously steep back lanes. eg: 30 km loop around the Fowey estuary with 750 m climbing.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1339 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 11:54

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@Meaulnes

I've worked in the media for quite some time! To say "Two cyclists in collision with a lorry" immediately indicates that two cyclists collided with a lorry. The emphasis being that the cyclists were the ones who did the colliding.

@richteebis has it right: "A crash involving a lorry and two cyclists" would be a much better way of phrasing it.

It's just lazy journalism and, sadly, something the BBC does an awful lot.

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posted by Luminosity [64 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 14:05

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Sad loss of lives, such a popular bicycle route should get attention to make it safer. Capital Cycles

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
4th July 2013 - 0:16

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Every time a cyclist is killed, there's a flurry of forum activity and that's it until the next one, and nothing changes.

Comments are generally about making roads safer etc, and sometimes about having the law changed so that drivers can't think they can drive like idiots and put us all at risk.

If anything is to be done about this then organisations like RoadPeace and of course ctc need more funding and support for their campaigns.

If every cycling club and every cyclist in Britain gave just a tiny amount each to support these moves then maybe things will change for us.

There's so much hype about the joys of cycling, so much effort on the part of Skyride, Go-ride anything ride to get us out on our bikes, but the risks involved are never considered.

It's great out there on the bike but in an instant it can become not so great, or just totally devastating, 2 more families and wider families this week, going though unimaginable pain, again.

In 2008 we lost our 25 year old son, a Reading cc rider a wonderful young talented athlete and a beautiful son and brother, .....because, as the papers said he was "in collision with a van" In fact he was driven into from behind by a van driver who was "blinded by the sun" at 60 mph.

This latest Cornwall tragedy was one day before the 5th anniversary of our loss.

I can tell you that no one ever recovers from such a loss and for me, when I know that droves of new riders take to the roads every day, in blissful ignorance of the risks from cars and trucks, it makes me angry, and a little sad, to think that
alongside these new found freedoms, people will die, all because, until it happens to them, no-one cares.

In two weeks these two guys will be forgotten and as always, forums will flow back to the subjects of cranksets, tribars powerbars etc....until it happens again.

Valkyrie said "I hope that their families and friends receive all the support they need"

RoadPeace were amazing for us and gave us loads of support in many ways.

They deserve to be noticed and not just when we need them.

Dave.

posted by davembk [1 posts]
4th July 2013 - 18:10

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