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Dual carriageway time trials suspended after cyclist killed on A11

The East District branch of Cycling Time Trials has cancelled or moved a number of races in the wake of Cheryl Tye’s death in June

The East District branch of Cycling Time Trials, the national governing body for time trials in England and Wales, has suspended races on dual carriageways following the death of a rider in June.

52-year-old Cheryl Tye was struck and killed by a van driver while competing in the East District 50-mile time trial championship on the A11 in Norfolk, between Croxton and Eccles.

On the same road in 2010, a rider was airlifted to hospital with a suspected broken vertebrae following a collision 175 miles into a 12-hour event, while last year a time trial participant was seriously injured after being hit from behind by a van driver on the A11 between Snetterton and Shropham.

Earlier in June, GB triathlete Rebecca Comins was killed while taking part in a time trial on the A40 near Raglan in Monmouthshire. Police arrested a 47-year-old man from the Abergavenny area on suspicion of causing death by careless driving who was subsequently released under investigation.

> Cyclist killed after being struck by van driver during time trial

A week after Tye’s death, National Highways, the body responsible for England’s motorways and some A-roads, warned of the “significant dangers” of holding time trials on major roads.

“For a number of years, we have warned the groups about the significant dangers in running time trials on major A-roads. But from a legal perspective there is nothing we can do to stop them,” the organisation’s spokesperson said.

National Highways also confirmed that it will continue to issue advice to ensure guidelines surrounding insurance, race marshals and signage are followed, and that twice yearly meetings with cycling groups, the police and the road network body will continue in the area.

> National Highways warns of "significant dangers" in racing time trials on major roads following A11 death

However, the East District branch of Cycling Time Trials has since announced that none of the regional body’s events will take place on dual carriageways for the remainder of the year.

“[The decision] has meant we have lost quite a few of our events because of it,” Mike Johnson, East District CTT’s secretary, told the Eastern Daily Press.

“Where possible we have moved events on to other roads but we have had to cancel our 100 mile championship and a 30 mile event, and we had already cancelled a 12 hour event because of the roadworks on the A11.

“We are still running a 10, 15 and 25 mile, and a 50 mile event, but it has now been moved to the A143 later this month.”

Johnson also noted that the group has complied with all of the legal requirements associated with running time trials, including providing the police with 28 days’ notice of an event, a description of the course, and the number of competitors and names of officials.

> Are time trial bikes safe to ride on open roads? LEJOG record holder Michael Broadwith on the road.cc Podcast

“Everything is very rigidly controlled,” Johnson said. “Police are informed so they know where and when events are taking place, they are only held during hours of light traffic and signs are put out, especially at junctions where traffic comes on to the A11.

“All cyclists also now have to use front and rear lights, which you see from half a mile away, so there is really no excuse for any accidents at all.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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31 comments

Avatar
Diafol | 1 year ago
0 likes

Racing and time trials on public roads are illegal, if these events want to go ahead, a road closure should be in place.

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Miller replied to Diafol | 1 year ago
7 likes

Did you create an account here just to write that crap? You are absolutely incorrect. They are legal.

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Larold replied to Miller | 1 year ago
3 likes

Actually he is correct if he was talking about a motorised vehicle, for pedal cycles he got no clue at all🤣

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Hirsute replied to Diafol | 1 year ago
4 likes

You seem to have signed up to the wrong forum. You need the petrol heads forum.
Oh and some actual facts.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
2 likes

Seems to be one of those people who also states "we wouldn't like it if cars decided to race on a public road". Well if they were doing high twenties to low thirties on a 60-70mph road, I would be happy if every car was then in a "race". 

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ktache replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

Racing under a speed limit that doesn't even apply to them.

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Fluffed | 1 year ago
11 likes

There used to be a TT near me on a 5 mile section of dual carriageway, I rode it a few times, but I would never again. I think it's the increase in phone use, people seem far more likely to be distracted by their phones than 10-15 years ago, it's scary how many people you see flying along at 70+ while only glancing at the road occasionally.

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ooblyboo replied to Fluffed | 1 year ago
6 likes

It's rife. So frequent now that it is almost the norm.

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ktache replied to Fluffed | 1 year ago
4 likes

But the addicts can be staring at their fix anywhere, on any road.

It's why upstanding members of our society like cyclingmikey are heroes.

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ooblyboo | 1 year ago
0 likes

I would be interested to know if there is a link between lower entry numbers for TTs in some parts of the country and a perception of would-be riders that the courses aren't safe.

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nappe | 1 year ago
10 likes

I've pretty much decided to stop TTing, I love it and I miss it, but I can no longer race on a road that I wouldn't ride on out of competition.
Every single event, something happens that puts the fear of God into me and keeping telling my family that it's safe because of good sight lines and wide roads is sounding more and more hollow everytime I repeat it.

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ooblyboo replied to nappe | 1 year ago
1 like

Yup - same for me.

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steaders1 | 1 year ago
9 likes

TT's and any events on open roads are just dangerous and until the authorities properly clamp down on the ignorance of drivers and enforce the new highway code there will unfortunately always be tradegies. There are far too many incidents reported on here where the police just let someone off and more often than not try and blame a cyclist. The more drivers who are prosecuted and cases people see of dangerous driving etc the more likely they will pay attention but as it stands we cyclists are just seen as an inconvenience to the drivers who beleive they own the road

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stonojnr replied to steaders1 | 1 year ago
5 likes

Cycling on any road is dangerous on that basis, drivers dont suddenly become safe and courteous when they arent on a dual carriageway. 4 people died within 4 weeks in separate crashes on the A11 this year, yet only one was a cyclist, why do you think its cycling thats the problem or the dangerous part about this road ?

https://www.edp24.co.uk/local-news/a11-norfolk-news

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Tinbob49 | 1 year ago
6 likes

I drive on the A11. Wouldn't cycle on it ever. Frightening. 
 

And probably moot now as there are significant roadworks from attleborough towards Norwich, they've ripped half the road up and it's now single carriageway in both directions for 10 miles. Will be like that for at least a year. 

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ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
16 likes

Confusing. They were struck by a van driver, reportedly from behind. Yet it is TTs that have been banned rather than vans or drivers. Seems like a totally backwards reaction to remove one particular set of potential victims rather than removing those that are doing the harm.

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Secret_squirrel replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
2 likes

Where in that article did it say TT's were banned?  Talk about wrong end of stick.

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ChrisB200SX replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
2 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

Where in that article did it say TT's were banned?  Talk about wrong end of stick.

Suspended is no different to temporary ban.

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hawkinspeter replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
1 like
ChrisB200SX wrote:

Suspended is no different to temporary ban.

Not really - a ban implies that the activity has been disallowed, but suspended just means that they're not running that activity for a while. I don't believe they'll try to stop  you from doing a solo TT on that road, so it's not banned.

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ChrisB200SX replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

You are arguing semantics. The result is the same.

Solo TT is not the same, you can't really race solo, bit of an oxymoron.

You are deliberately getting the wrong end of the stick and missing the point.

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Hirsute replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
0 likes

A ban would mean no one could set up a TT. The East District branch of Cycling Time Trials has suspended TTs.

What stops you putting on a TT event ?

 

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mdavidford replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
3 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:

You are deliberately getting the wrong end of the stick and missing the point.

To be fair, if you're going to grasp the wrong end of the stick, avoiding the point seems like a sensible decision, assuming you want to minimise your chance of injury.

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cyclingtiger replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
4 likes

I think you might be overestimating the authority of Cycling Time Trials as a regulatory body.

They don't have the power to ban vans or other drivers from roads where time trials are being held. Their only options, in the absence of those with such powers exercising them, are a) accept the risk and the possible death of a participant or b) mitigate the risk in the only reasonable avenue available to them.

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ChrisB200SX replied to cyclingtiger | 1 year ago
1 like
cyclingtiger wrote:

I think you might be overestimating the authority of Cycling Time Trials as a regulatory body.

They don't have the power to ban vans or other drivers from roads where time trials are being held. Their only options, in the absence of those with such powers exercising them, are a) accept the risk and the possible death of a participant or b) mitigate the risk in the only reasonable avenue available to them.

You think wrong. The question is why have drivers or vans not been suspended on the road, not why hasn't the authority that has suspended TTs there not done this.

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Wingguy replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
4 likes

You're welcome to ask the Eastern District of Cycling Time Trials why they didn't ban vans from the road if you want.

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ChrisB200SX replied to Wingguy | 1 year ago
0 likes
Wingguy wrote:

You're welcome to ask the Eastern District of Cycling Time Trials why they didn't ban vans from the road if you want.

Thanks for the permission. Not sure why anyone would ask them that though, seeing as they obviously cannot.

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didsthewinegeek replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
2 likes

It's a difficult one. The speed limit on these is 70mph. Cyclists can at distance blend into the flora and fauna at the side of the road. These are reasons for accidents being more likely. Personally speaking I tend to avoid riding on dual carriageways for these reasons You have to remember these roads were built to take the flow of traffic away from urban areas so as to reduce the amount of accidents between pedestrians and slow moving vehicles. 

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Jimmy Ray Will replied to didsthewinegeek | 1 year ago
9 likes

I can't agree with any of your post...

Time trialists are wearing a neon number, and will be using a bright rear LED light... they are incredibly visible.

There is little flora and fauna on a dual carriageway; between the cyclist and the nearest bush, there is normally a solid white line, a further stretch of tarmac, a barrier and a patch of maintained ground before we get to anything that would be considered potentially camouflaging. 

Rather, on a dual carriageway, you tend to have good road surfaces, great lines of sight, and plenty of room to allow safe overtakes.

In theory, dual carriageways should be an incredibly safe place to run time trials. The fact that they are arguably not, is down to nothing more than lack of driver competence. 

I am jumping on this (sorry), as society has to stop making excuses and excusing this lack of driver competence. Cyclists are not hard to see, the majority of accidents are totally avoidable, but society just doesn't seem to want to address the fact that too many drivers are not taking their driving seriously enough, enough of the time. 

I believe a chunk of this is an unavoidable side effect of improved health and safety. The more you do to make an activity safe, the less attention that activity is given by those undertaking it. Which to me is why the ultra-'safe' dual carriageway is realistically no place for a time trial now. 

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Simon_MacMichael replied to ChrisB200SX | 1 year ago
4 likes

ChrisB200SX wrote:

Confusing. They were struck by a van driver, reportedly from behind. Yet it is TTs that have been banned rather than vans or drivers. Seems like a totally backwards reaction to remove one particular set of potential victims rather than removing those that are doing the harm.

Not confusing in the least. The organisation that runs the TTs has decided to suspend them on dual carriageways in the interests of the safety of participants.

The danger of course comes from motorists, so what is your solution to that? 

Closed roads is not an option for the type of event we're talking about, and we've seen that doubling the penalty for handheld mobile phone use has failed to deter many from doing so.

Add in speeding, other distractions, use of alcohol or drugs, etc, and there's a lot of drivers going at 70mph many of us wouldn't want to be sharing the road with - and others have mentioned in the comments here that they have already decided to stop riding TTs on such roads.

Police underfunding and a criminal justice system on the verge of collapse notwithstanding, greater enforcement of traffic offences would help but would not bring about change overnight, nor would it remove all careless/dangerous drivers from the roads.

So what's your answer?

 

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ChrisB200SX replied to Simon_MacMichael | 1 year ago
2 likes
Simon_MacMichael wrote:
ChrisB200SX wrote:

Confusing. They were struck by a van driver, reportedly from behind. Yet it is TTs that have been banned rather than vans or drivers. Seems like a totally backwards reaction to remove one particular set of potential victims rather than removing those that are doing the harm.

The danger of course comes from motorists, so what is your solution to that? 

Police underfunding and a criminal justice system on the verge of collapse ... greater enforcement of traffic offences would help.

You seem to have identified some of the solutions already but ignored the elephant in the room that I had mentioned. Rather than stopping TTs, maybe it is the cause of the danger that should be stopped, eg drivers or vans. Until they can be shown to be safe. The holistic view is to deal with the cause, not the symptoms.

Rather than not going in the Velociraptor enclosure, maybe we should not have created the Velociraptors, or there enclosure, in the first place, maybe we could do something about that?

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