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Coroner says junction where cyclist was killed after overshooting it on descent ‘will never be safe’

Dr Thomas Payne was killed during cycling holiday in Gwynedd with his partner in August

A coroner in North Wales has said that a junction where a cyclist was killed after he overshot it following a descent “will never be safe.”

Dr Thomas Payne, aged 30 and described as an experienced cyclist, was killed after he crashed into a car that was towing caravan on the A493 at Arthog on 11 August, reports the Daily Post.

He was taken to by air ambulance Stoke University Hospital with head and other injuries but died the following day.

A mechanical engineer who lived in Wiltshire, Dr Payne had been on a cycling holiday in Gwynedd with his partner, Charlotte Coombs.

She told the inquest: "We'd always wanted to see Wales, we love the countryside and outdoor pursuits and cycling was a big part of our lives.

"At the top of the hill he went first and stopped half way down to open the gate and let me through.

"I stopped and shouted back to him that I'd stopped so he knew I was there.

"He carried on past me and I followed him but I took a rest because my hands were sore from holding the brakes – I'm not a good descender so I was going extra slowly, but he carried on.

"He wasn't travelling at a fast speed, he was steady and controlled,” she continued. "He was a good cyclist and bike handler.”

"I heard a noise but didn't know what it was at the time because I couldn't see the road.

"I got to the junction and saw his bike in the road and I thought it was odd, I thought maybe he'd propped it up and it had fallen over.

"I then saw the tent on the ground and he was five or six metres further up the road.

"I was in shock - there were people there who seemed to be trying to stabilise him and someone else was on the phone to the emergency services.

"I went up to him and I said, 'Tom if you can hear me then blink', but there was no response."

Coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones, said that he had previously been involved in another case where a cyclist had been killed at the same location, saying that it "will never be a safe junction."

The inquest also heard that Gwynedd Council had put up extra signs warning of the danger following Dr Payne’s death.

"The experienced and proficient cyclists were cycling along very narrow country lanes which go down to join the main road and can be incredibly steep,” Mr Pritchard said.

"This not the first fatality I have had where people on bikes have come down and failed to stop.

"This junction is particularly difficult, if not dangerous, in that the road comes down towards the main road.

"A person coming down this hill, unless they knew the road, would not anticipate that at the end of this bend there was a main road and that there is no length of road or pavement between the lane and carriageway.

"The houses either side mean cyclists or those travelling down the road would not be able to see oncoming vehicles on either side.

"In this case Dr Payne travelled down towards the broken white line, he may very well have been going too fast as it is obvious that when he reached junction he was unable to stop.

"He must have realised that a collision was possible as it appears he turned to the left because the handle bar collided with the front passenger door of the car.

Mr Pritchard Jones added: "He was thrown off his bike at this stage and probably hit the caravan and that's when the injury that led to his death occurred."

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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