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Coroner calls for parking restrictions after cyclist’s death

Daniel Waite was killed after he crashed into parked lorry on A20 near Maidstone

A coroner has called for parking restrictions to be introduced on the A20 near Maidstone following the death of a cyclist in Hollingbourne, near Maidstone, in July last year.

Daniel Waite, aged 43 and from Bearsted, was killed when he crashed into a parked lorry on the evening of 3 July 2019, the inquest at Maidstone’s County Hall heard.

The tipper truck he crashed into, operated by Tarmac, was one of eight vehicles parked on the road ahead of roadworks taking place that night on the M20, reports Kent Online.

Coroner Bina Patel said at the inquest that she would draw up a “prevention of further deaths” report asking the relevant authorities to put in place parking restrictions at the location where he died.

In a statement to the hearing, Mr Waite’s wife, Sarah, said that her husband, an experienced cyclist, “Had ridden the route several times before” and that “He knew it like the back of his hand.”

She continued: “We can't understand how this happened and we are angry that the basic safety precautions that could have alerted Dan to the lorries were not taken.

“That stretch of road should not have been used as a parking lot for eight lorries.

“I personally witnessed the exact same situation on that road in January 2020.

“I would challenge any person to drive that road and find a safe place to park any lorry, let alone eight.

“I ask the coroner put a request in to put parking restrictions on that stretch of road so that situations like this don't happen to anyone else.”

The vehicle, which was the rearmost in the convoy but unlike three of the others did not have hazard lights switched on, had been parked up around two minutes before the fatal crash.

CCTV footage showed Mr Waite approaching at a constant speed of around 24mph and making no attempt to break before he hit the lorry.

Kent Police forensic collision investigator Simon Masterson suggested that glare from the setting sun may have been a factor in the crash.

“It was a nice bright sunny day, the road conditions were dry with good visibility,” he said. “The sun was quite low to Mr Waite's right and this could have impacted his vision.

“For reasons unknown he collided with the vehicle. It is impossible to make a definitive decision as to why.”

He added: “I have been a police officer for 21 years, I was a traffic officer prior to this and I have not seen vehicles parked there before in such a manner.

“I'm surprised the road was not subject to any conditions such as a clearway.”

Recording a conclusion of death by a road traffic collision, Miss Patel said: “It was clear he had a passion for cycling and a keen passion for sport.

“He was extremely familiar with the route he was riding and his family tell me he knew where every bump and pothole would have been.

“I am satisfied having heard the evidence that the sun may have caused some vision issues due to glare.

“For reasons unknown he collided with the vehicle. It is impossible to make a definitive decision as to why.”

A spokesperson for Tarmac expressed sympathy for Mr Waite’s family, adding: “We appreciate that the inquest will have been a difficult time for them and we welcome the time taken by the coroner to investigate the circumstances around this tragic incident.

“Senior leaders were present throughout the proceedings to ensure any comments made by the coroner are taken on board and we will adhere to any further decisions our Highways England partners take around the practice of parking commercial vehicles.”

A spokesperson for Kent County Council commented: “The A20 is maintained by Kent County Council while the M20 is maintained by Highways England.

“The maintenance vehicles parked along the A20 were not KCC vehicles and we had no knowledge or agreement for them to be parked on the road.”

Mr Waite’s family is reportedly pursuing a civil claim in relation to his death.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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