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Parents of cyclist killed on charity ride told to remove 'distracting' roadside tribute

“Safety is always of paramount importance, so we had no option but to ask the family to remove the memorial so it can be placed elsewhere"...

The parents of a cyclist killed during a charity bike ride have been told to remove a roadside tribute to their son because it was 'distracting' motorists.

University student Pathushan Sutharsan, 20, sadly crashed into the path of a lorry during the London to Brighton ride after trying to brake on a steep section of gravel track.

Following his death a coroner warned the signs in place on the route alerting riders to the 'immediacy' of the upcoming A281 near Rudgwick were 'inadequate'. 

Mr Sutharsan, from Morden in Surrey, was cycling on the stretch of the Downs Link from Cranleigh towards Southwater when he was killed.

> Death of student on charity bike ride leads to calls for better warning signs

Flowers, mementos and photographs were left at the roadside where the collision occured.

A year later, his grieving family has been asked to remove the tributes as West Sussex County Council say they are causing a 'distraction' to passing traffic.

Pathu’s mother Shobana Sutharsan said her husband continues to lay flowers at the crash site every week, The Argus reports.

“As a mother, I don’t want to go there,” she said. “Sometimes I feel like my son is still with me.”

Pathu, an architecture student and Sri-Lankan musician, was cycling in aid of children affected by the civil war in Yemen when he died.

His brother Shobihan, said keeping the roadside tributes would be “greatly appreciated so we can pay our respects”.

“I believe we should keep some of his mementos and tributes as a way of remembrance to all the locals and also to us,” he said.

“Remembrance to how he has left this earth doing something so charitable and heroic and also as an inspiration to anyone passing by.”

According to the council, members of the public raised concerns the memorial was causing distractions to road users.

A highways officer visited the site and confirmed the concerns.

“Safety is always of paramount importance, so we had no option but to ask the family to remove the memorial so it can be placed elsewhere,” a council spokesman said.

“The question of roadside tributes is always a very sensitive one to resolve, which is why we introduced a policy called ‘roadside memorials and tributes’ some years ago.”

The policy states that permanent roadside memorials are not permitted on the county’s highways.

“It includes a series of guidelines that try to balance the need for people to have a period of grieving against instances where very legitimate safety concerns might arise - in which case we ask families to please remove the tribute,” the spokesman added.

“We appreciate what a difficult time this is for Pathushan’s family and friends and would like to convey our condolences to them.”

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