A cyclist who was killed in May as he rode his bike at night along the M3 motorway in Hampshire was the victim of an “unavoidable collision,” a police officer has told a coroner’s inquest.
Simon Wagner, aged 52 and from Ash Vale, died instantly when he was struck by an Audi A4 being driven by David Earl close to Fleet services on the evening of 5 May, reports getsurrey.co.uk.
He was cycling in the middle lane of the motorway when the fatal collision happened, although earlier he had been seen riding on the hard shoulder and in the nearside lane.
Basingstoke Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Wagner sustained a fractured skull, as well as fractures to his spine, knees, arms and ribs when he was struck by the vehicle which was travelling at 70mph.
Mr Earl told the court that he first saw Mr Wagner’s bicycle in the beam of his headlights, which were dipped, when he was around 50 feet away, giving him no time to react.
“I did not have time to brake. It happened in no more than a second,” said Mr Earl, who added that it seemed that Mr Wagner was riding across the middle lane from left to right.
The motorist stopped on the hard shoulder, as did Paul Hind, the driver of a vehicle following him, and called the emergency services.
According to PC Jamie Foster, police had already been notified that there was a cyclist on the motorway shortly before the collision. He said that he arrived at the scene and that “It was clear this was a fatal collision.”
Hampshire Police collision investigator Andy McDonald described the collision as “unavoidable” and said “It would have been very difficult to identify him [Mr Wagner] until late on.”
Paramedics confirmed Mr Wagner was dead at 11.10pm, and blood tests revealed him to have been 2.6 times over the drink-driving limit.
There was no indication of why Mr Wagner, an accountant and father of three who was described as an experienced rider, was on the motorway which would not have been his most direct route home.
Coroner Andrew Bradley, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said: “It was quite clear on May 5 for whatever reason, there is no explanation, he is riding along the M3 motorway in the hours of darkness.
"He has consumed alcohol, that may have impaired his judgement. It may have made him feel he was invincible.
“This is a very strange situation, not one for which I have any explanation at all. For that I am sorry,” he added.
In a statement released following his death, Mr Wagner’s family said: “Simon had a warm and generous heart, loved life and made friends wherever he went.
“Simon touched so many lives and the news of his sudden and tragic death is a terrible shock for everyone who was lucky enough to have known him.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.