Cyclist dies after high-speed collision with road sign

NewsBy Sunday World
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A cyclist died after colliding with a road sign at around 40mph in the final stages of a road race, an inquest heard.

Jason Catley, 44, was killed riding the Curve of Doom race around Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire, UK, last June.

Other riders told an inquest into the death that Mr Catley touched wheels as the pack made its way to the finish line before he appeared to lose control of his bike, striking the sign like it was a "brick wall".

He crashed into a step ladder which was being used by the race director to film the finish line before striking a road sign, Rutland and North Leicestershire Coroner's Court in Loughborough heard.

Lawrence Symes had taken part in another race at the location earlier in the day and was standing behind the road sign when the collision occurred, saying Mr Catley went through the step ladder "like it was paper".

Mr Symes told the court he was looking for another rider in the peloton, turned back and noticed Mr Catley, of Screveton, Nottinghamshire, had swerved left away from the bunch.

"He was approaching quickly and was coming towards me and my first thought was that there is going to be a crash," he said.

"It was clear he was coming towards me at pace. He was trying to veer back and get back on to the road to avoid the objects, which unfortunately did not happen.

"He went through the step ladder. He just went through it with ease.

"It felt like slow motion, really. (It was like) he could feel he knew he was going to collide with it (the sign)."

In his witness statement which was read at the inquest, Mr Symes said he assumed Mr Catley had been "bumped out" of the group and that when he hit the ladder and the sign it was "like he had hit a brick wall".

Dr Christopher Johnson, who worked as a specialist registrar in the East Midlands pathology unit, told the inquest Mr Catley would have suffered "immediate unconsciousness and rapid cardiac arrest" after the collision.

Susan Rodway QC, representing the family of Mr Catley, suggested he was travelling at around 40mph when the crash happened and asked Dr Johnson if his injuries were "consistent" with someone travelling at that speed, to which he agreed.

Other riders recall the speeds in the final stages of the race reaching 45mph.

The 42-mile (68km) event, in which around 60 riders took part, was organised by the West Bridgford-based OVB cycling club in Nottinghamshire.

Among the pack was Joshua Housley who said he could still recall the "distressing" incident on June 20.

He said: "Even though it was 10 months ago, I can pretty much picture it.

"I believe that the reason he swerved was a touch of wheels. When I go over it in my head, that's what I believe."

Another rider, David Edlin, described seeing Mr Catley "shooting to the left" after touching the rear wheel of a rider in front.

The inquest also heard from race organiser Paul Hamilton who said he did not see the positioning of the sign as a potential hazard to the riders - but said there were two areas on the course which the risk of an accident was higher.

He said: "The first is about 1,000 metres to go when people are jockeying for position and starting the sprint."

The other, Mr Hamilton said, was after the race had finished when riders had "one hand on the handlebars and turned around" to look back at the pack.

The inquest is due to continue on Thursday.