A coroner has concluded that the death of a cyclist during a race in Leicestershire was an accident. The inquest heard that Jason Catley was killed when he crashed into a road sign at 40 miles per hour following a touch of wheels.
Catley, aged 44 and from Screveton, Nottinghamshire, had been taking part in the Curve of Doom race at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire on 20 June last year.
The Lincolnshire Echo reports that witnesses told Rutland & North Leicestershire Coroner’s Court that he veered off course at the end of the 42-mile event, crashing through a ladder the race director was using to film the race then hitting the road sign.
Lawrence Symes, who had ridden in an earlier race, said: "He was approaching quickly and was coming towards me and my first thought was that there is going to be a crash.
"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,” adding that it was as if Mr Catley “could feel he knew he was going to collide with it [the sign]."
Joshua Housley, one of the cyclists taking part in the race, 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, Alessandro Williams, said of the closing stages of the race: "I felt it was manic and dangerous because of not only the speed we were approaching the finish but also the twisting nature of it. Everything was flying past because of the speed we were doing."
The race organiser, Paul Hamilton, said he did not believe that where the sign was placed presented a risk to riders.
Giving evidence at the inquest, pathologist Dr Christopher Johnson said that the rider would have sustained "immediate unconsciousness and rapid cardiac arrest" following the crash.
Originally from Conwy in North Wales, Mr Catley, who worked as a civil engineer, was a father of four.
Through cycling, including a Land’s End to John O’Groats ride completed in 50 hours, he raised thousands of pounds over the years for the British Heart Foundation in memory of his brother Greg, who died of a heart attack in 2001 aged 33.
Addressing the family, Trevor Kirkman, senior coroner for Rutland and North Leicestershire, said:
"I hope in some small way, having heard the evidence, distressing though much of it is, it leads to a better understanding of what happened on that day."
"It seems that the proper conclusion that I shall record is that Jason Catley died as a result of an accident."
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.