A coroner has ordered Hertfordshire County Council to take action over lorries parked for loading and unloading on a stretch of road near Tring after a cyclist sustained fatal injuries when he crashed into the back of an HGV whose driver had stopped there ahead of it being unloaded.
David Andrews, aged 63 and from Berkhamsted, died in St George’s Hospital, south London, the day after the crash which happened at Cow Roast on the A4251 Tring Road on 11 July last year, reports HertsLive.
Witnesses told a coroner’s inquest earlier this year that allowing HGVs to be loaded and unloaded at the location where the fatal crash took place was “an accident waiting to happen,” while a forensic collision investigator said that the practice constituted an “ongoing risk.”
After recording a conclusion of death due to a road traffic collision at the inquest in July, assistant coroner Jacques Howell sent Hertfordshire County Council, which is the highways authority responsible for the stretch of road in question, a Prevention of Future Deaths Report.
“During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern,” he wrote.
“In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken. In the circumstances it is my statutory duty to report to you.”
The specific matter of concern he raised was “that on this particular stretch of road heavy goods vehicles are permitted to stop in order to unload, thereby effectively blocking the southbound carriageway.”
The report highlighted evidence presented to the inquest regarding the characteristics of road, as well as lorry drivers being permitted to park there for loading and unloading of goods to nearby commercial premises.
“At the location where the road traffic collision occurred, the road is single carriageway road, with one lane serving each direction,” the coroner noted in the report.
“The carriageway is 7 metres wide with each lane measuring approximately 3.1 metres in width with a double solid white line system with a gap between the lines of approximately 0.8 metres.
“Adjacent to the southbound lane is a grass verge, this gives way to an area of hard standing approximately 0.9 metres in width. A footpath is adjacent to the northbound lane.
“The speed limit at this point is 40mph, there are no parking restrictions and it is not a designated clearway.
“Photographs taken of the scene show that notwithstanding the heavy goods vehicle had stopped as far to the left as possible, the vehicle still took up nearly all of the southbound carriageway which bends to the right at this point,” the report continued.
“Heavy goods vehicles frequently park on the southbound carriageway in order to unload, and witnesses have described this as ‘ … an accident waiting to happen’.
“Evidence was also received from the Forensic Collision Investigator, who gave evidence that in his view the current ability for heavy goods vehicles to lawfully stop outside the commercial premises to unload represents an ongoing risk.”
A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council, quoted on HertsLive, said that the local authority had responded to the report, as it is required by law to do, and that the council is planning to implement a ban.
“In light of the issues highlighted by the coroner’s report, we are looking to introduce a ban on lorries loading and unloading on this stretch of the A4251,” the spokesperson said.
“We hope to begin the statutory and consultation processes needed to introduce these restrictions in the near future,” they added.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.