A cyclist who died after coming off his bike on Buttertubs Pass may have been trying to avoid a sheep, an inquest has heard. Patrick McDonough was airlifted to James Cook hospital in Middlesbrough on October 4 after being found by a passing motorist, but died the following day.
Gazette Live reports that McDonough, 59, was found at around 11.40am by Martin McNaught from Leeds about 200m from the hill’s summit on the road between Hawes and Muker.
McNaught, who parked his van across the road to protect the cyclist, said: “He was conscious but not able to say anything. There was no reception on my mobile phone and I remember holding it in the air and moving it around. I was quite panicked at that point.”
Other vehicles stopped and nearby police officers were alerted. A doctor passing the scene also attempted to assist McDonough.
No other vehicles or cyclists were involved and the weather and road conditions were good. Traffic Constable Steve Kirkbright from North Yorkshire Police also said that the road had been resurfaced the previous year for the Tour de France.
McDonough had been descending at about 34mph and was wearing a helmet. A mark was found on the road from the cyclist’s shoe and it is thought he most likely put his foot down while attempting to stop.
The road is surrounded by grazing and it was suggested that a sheep may have started to cross in front of him.
Assistant coroner for North Yorkshire Jonathan Heath said it was a tragic accident.
“We might never know what it was that caused him to stop so quickly. It could have been a sheep, it could have been a hare. It could have been anything. We may never know the cause but my opinion is that it was an accident which resulted in the tragic loss of Patrick.”