An inquest has heard that a Leicester cyclist who was killed after being hit by a van was knocked into its path by a passenger opening a taxi door. Castle Rock High School teacher, Sam Boulton, was killed on July 27 – his 26th birthday.
The Leicester Mercury reports that Detective Sergeant Mark Partridge of the Leicestershire Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit told the inquest:
"At about 1320 hours on July 27 this year, outside the railway station on London Road, a collision occurred between a taxi that was parked at the side of the road, a pedal cycle being ridden by Sam Boulton and a Citroen van being driven in lane two of the A6.
"As the passenger in the taxi opened her door, this caused a collision with the cycle. It knocked the cyclist off, and he then collided with the van and unfortunately sustained fatal injuries. He was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary where he passed away on the same day."
Lydia Brown, assistant coroner for Leicester, said a post-mortem examination had been held and that the pathologist was currently awaiting blood test results before reaching a conclusion about the exact cause of death.
A 49-year-old man was arrested shortly after the collision and subsequently released on police bail. The inquest will be put on hold while police and the Crown Prosecution Service decide whether to prosecute.
Around 80 Critical Mass cyclists stopped at the scene of the incident during a recent protest ride. Kevin Gorringe, who led the ride, said: "We rode up London Road past the site of the recent accident and did a bike lift there in commemoration of the chap that died. We were only there for a minute or two – it wasn't to disrupt traffic, but we did want to make the point that it is a dangerous spot. Taxis drop people off there instead of using the proper area."
A petition has been launched calling for cyclists to be allowed to use New Walk following Boulton’s death. The route is currently for pedestrians only. At the time of writing, it had attracted over 800 signatures.
Rebecca Pritchard, who started the petition, explained:
"London Road is up to five lanes of traffic past the chaos of the railway station and Regent's Road is busy and narrow. Both have now been the site of fatalities.
"We call on Leicester City Council to allow cycling on New Walk and to make this as comfortable as possible for pedestrians by designating a cycling lane.
"The objection to allowing cycling on New Walk as an historically traffic-free route is absurd. The history of the route was not deemed important enough to stop the council tearing up the cobbled surface for increased pedestrian convenience."
A spokesman for Leicester City Council spokesman said:
"We understand cyclists' concerns and our priority is minimising the dangers for cyclists along London Road.
"For some time, we've been working on drawing up plans for a cycle route on London Road similar to that on Welford Road, which segregates cyclists from traffic.
"We have already discussed our early thinking with our city cycle forum members and will continue to consult with them and others as the plans move forward."