The mother of a student who died when she crashed while descending Winnats Pass in the Peak District says she may challenge the coroner’s verdict. Elizabeth Barber-Atkinson argues that police evidence didn't satisfactorily answer what may have gone wrong on her daughter’s bike.
August Atkinson is said to have screamed “my brakes have gone” shortly before hitting a drystone wall while out on a ride in April 2014.
Kieran Patel, with whom she was riding that day, told the inquest: “I guess we had a little bit of apprehension about going down Winnats Pass, but nothing major.
“Going down I was cycling in front. I was constantly using my brakes on and off. August was behind me, coming down steadily, my speedometer said I was going at about 20mph.
“Then, August came past me on the right-hand side. She was getting faster; she must have been travelling at 30 to 40mph. She shouted ‘My brakes have gone’. She was freewheeling, she couldn’t stop.”
Patel and Atkinson’s father Trevor had changed both inner tubes on the bike and inflated the tyres before they set off. Atkinson had then noticed a problem with the quick release lever on her front brake, but they sorted the issue and continued their ride.
Assistant Coroner Peter Nieto recorded a conclusion of accidental death after police found there were 'no significant issues' with the brakes.
However, Barber-Atkinson, told Mail Online: “I feel the police evidence didn't satisfactorily answer what may have gone wrong on the day in relation to August's bike. We're not satisfied with the outcome of the inquest.”
Atkinson was riding a Genesis Equilibrium. She had owned it for around eight months but had only been out on it a few times.
In his conclusion Nieto said: “August's family considers that the model of brake callipers fitted to her bike were faulty in that they could have spontaneously and unintentionally opened in which case the brake blocks would not make contact with the wheel rims.
“They also consider that even if the safety levers on the callipers were just 3mm from the closed position the brakes would be ineffective.”
Barber-Atkinson sent the coroner a statement from Andrew Elston, a qualified bike mechanic who works at Langsett Cycles in Sheffield, saying that he had replaced identical brakes to those on Atkinson's bike after another rider reported problems.
She also highlighted that cyclists had used online forums and blogs to raise concerns about the same type of brakes.