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Family of cyclist killed when he crashed down steps say he wouldn't have died if barriers had been in place

Inquest in Norwich heard that staggered barriers have since been installed on The Loke where Warren Dowling died

The family of a cyclist who sustained fatal head injuries when he crashed on a set of steps in Norwich have said that he would not have died had safety barriers been in place.

Warren Dowling was on his way home at shortly after midnight on 28 May this year when he crashed on the steps at The Loke after failing to see them, reports BBC News.

Besides serious head injuries, he also went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquest at Norwich Coroner’s Court heard that the 32-year-old had a blood alcohol limit of 216mg per 100ml, more than two and have times above the drink-drive limit of 80mg per 100ml.

But his father, Patrick Dowling, insisted his son would not have cycled while drunk. He also said that while The Loke is a pedestrian byway, he had been informed that it is regularly used by local cyclists.

The inquest heard that at the time of the fatal incident, the path was poorly lit and overgrown, and the steps would not have been visible as Mr Dowling approached them.

His father, Patrick Dowling, said: "My son would be alive today if proper measures had been put in place to identify the steps, like the staggered barriers that are there now," which were installed after Mr Dowling’s death.

Coroner Yvonne Blake, in a narrative verdict, noted that Mr Dowling had not been wearing a cycle helmet and had been drinking, and said that his cause of death was due to multiple traumatic head injuries.

She has told Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council were instructed by the coroner to confirm whether The Loke is signed as a cycleway from nearby Whistlefish Court, and whether another pathway in Mile Cross has similar steps lacking staggered barriers "to stop anyone from catapulting down there too."

While she acknowledged that local authorities were unable to "babysit everyone on a bike or urge them to slow down and wear a helmet", she said it was "not within the bounds of possibility that this could happen again."

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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