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Cyclist killed on M3 was victim of "unavoidable collision," inquest hears

Simon Wagner died instantly when he was hit by car travelling at 70mph as he rode in middle lane of motorway

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

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.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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