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"Error of judgement" cost Notts officer his life...

An inquest into the death of a cyclist on Yorkshire’s Greenhow Hill has found that the crash that cost Detective Inspector Peter Parchment his life was an accident.

On April 24, Det Insp Parchment of Nottinghamshire police  was taking part in a three-day coast to coast ride to raise money for charity when he crashed on the steep, winding two mile descent into Pateley Bridge.

The inquest heard that he was not speeding when he crashed, but had been riding too fast for the road and his abilities, ,according to the Nottingham Post.

His bike wheel hit the edge of the road and he and his bike were thrown through the air and hit a tree.

The Highways Agency said nothing can be done to improve safety on the steep descent, though there are warning signs alerting road users to the hill’s winding and steep nature.

Greenhow Hill is on the popular Way of the Roses coast to coast route that crosses the country from Morecambe to Bridlington. Det Insp Parchment is the first cyclist to die on the hill, but there have been three crashes in the last couple of years in which cyclists have been injured.

Mr Parchment was riding with friend and colleague Detective Constable Michael Eaton when the crash occurred. When they reached the top of the hill, Det Insp Parchment took the lead.

Det Con Eaton said: “We were going down the hill. We may have been pedalling a bit but we were certainly not pedalling fast and accelerating.

“It was more a case of gravity taking us. It all happened in a split second.

“My view was Pete’s speed was slightly too fast for the bend.

“I saw his front wheel hit the edge of the road. I saw the wheel actually wiggle as he lost control.

“It seemed to me both Pete and the bike lost control and virtually flew through the air and hit the tree.”

Despite his colleagues attempting CPR, Mr Parchment died at the scene of multiple injuries.

He was estimated to have been travelling at 20-25mph at the time of the crash.

Returning a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Geoff Fell said: “It seems to me this was an error of judgement on Mr Parchment’s part.”

The crash was probably caused by a combination of speed and the line he took around the bend, the coroner said.

He did not think signs for cyclists would do any good but he would ask the Highways Agency to monitor accidents involving cyclists.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

6 comments

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Tripod16 [157 posts] 2 years ago
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 2 RIP

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 2 years ago
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RIP indeed. I'll have a drink for him tonight.

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chadders [85 posts] 2 years ago
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Rode this route recently a local stopped and warned us of how dangerous the hill is. It was wet and windy so took extra care but can understand if someone went at it a bit too hard.
Sad to hear of any death especially on a recognised cycle route.

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cbrndc [20 posts] 2 years ago
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Very sorry to hear of a death but this caught my eye:
“It seemed to me both Pete and the bike lost control . . ."
"the bike lost control"! What!  39

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Wardy74 [37 posts] 2 years ago
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While my condolences go out to the officer's family, who may be looking for someone/thing to blame, this is a verdict all enthusiastic cyclists should welcome. It is quite encouraging to hear that we are allowed to have accidents that are nobody's fault but our own. There could so easily have been a call or recommendation to have had signs to say 'cyclists dismount' or banned altogether. The hills have been here a lot longer than us and the roads have evolved over time, and most of us relish the challenge of riding up and down them. I am not saying we should all be reckless, but I for one would like to keep riding by my own senses and not by numbers.

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lakeland bimbler [17 posts] 2 years ago
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There but for the grace...

Having come off hard on Greenhow hill myself I know how easy it is to get caught off-guard on it. The top section is gentle and encourages you to accelerate then it suddenly steepens and throws a couple of sharp bends at you just where the trees start so the road holds water and grease.

I was lucky enough to limp away with a couple of cracked ribs, a dead bike and an enduring belief in the value of helmets.

Take care out there folks...