Friday 6 August 2010

Survived Afghanistan, killed cycling in England

An Army officer died after being hit by a lorry while swerving on his bicycle to avoid a massive pothole a council had refused to repair, an inquest heard today.

Captain Jonathan Allen, 29, who had recently returned from Afghanistan, suffered major head injuries in the collision on the A338. He was cycling the 'dangerous' eight-mile route in the rain from his Tidworth barracks to his home near Burbage, Wiltshire, when the accident happened. It is thought Mr Allen, who had served in the army for eight years, did not see the pothole until the last minute and swerved to avoid it.

The hole, at the Leckford crossroads, Tidworth, was reported to Wiltshire County Council by a concerned driver three weeks earlier and inspected.

But under the criteria used by the town hall, it was 0.2in too shallow and not wide enough to be repaired within seven days, the hearing in Salisbury was told.

The real problem is expecting cyclists to use lethal A roads like this (below). The scope for Dutch-style cycle paths is blindingly obvious from this photograph but still no one in the world of transport or organised cycle campaigning wants to accept the simple truth: if you want mass cycling and safe cycling you’ll have to do it the Dutch way. Everything else, including the wearisome cycle helmet debate, ‘cycle superhighways’ and bike hire, is a massive diversion.