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Cyclist killed after touch of wheels on group ride sent him into path of car, inquest hears

Matthew Reeves died at scene of crash in Somerset while riding with fellow members of Bath Cycling Club

A cyclist who was killed in a road traffic collision in Somerset is believed to have lost control of his bike following a touch of wheels with another rider as the group he was in slowed down due to an approaching car, a coroner’s inquest has heard.

Matthew John Reeves, aged 26, was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene of the crash in Bishops Sutton on the evening of 8 July 2021, reports Somerset Live.

He had been riding with fellow members of Bath Cycling Club when he was fatally struck by a Mitsubishi Shogun driven by farmer Philip Warden of Temple Cloud, who was going to feed his sheep, the inquest heard.

Fellow cyclists who had been riding in the group suggested that the motorist may have been driving too fast, including Luke Belton, who said in a statement: “I can recall that I was aware of a car to the right of us cyclists. I heard a shout from ahead that they were slowing down. I got the impression the car was going too fast. I braked and slowed down.”

However, dashcam footage from the vehicle showed that Mr Warden had been well within the speed limit according to Avon & Somerset Police collision investigator PC Niall Fyfe, not exceeding 34mph on a road with a 40mph limit and driving at nearer 20mph when the crash happened.

“Mr Warden reacted extremely quickly,” PC Fyfe told the inquest at Avon Coroner’s Court in Flax Bourton, adding that “he could not have avoided the collision.”

In his statement read out in court, the driver said: “I had passed about two-thirds of the group, then I saw the rear cyclist wobble and come out. I shouted no!”

He stopped at the scene and asked if any of the other riders had medical experience, and after dialling 999 spent 20 minutes on the phone with a call handler, relaying instructions to the cyclists as they tried to save Mr Reeves. He also attempted to perform CPR on him while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Mr Reeves, who was born in Merthyr Tydfil and grew up in Hereford, had moved to Bath to study for a PhD in Condensed Matter Physics, having previously graduated with a first class degree in Physics from Cardiff University.

In a statement, his family said: “It was while he stayed in Bath his love of cycling grew. He joined Bath Cycling Club where he enjoyed participating in the group rides and other social activities. Matthew made many friends from Cardiff, Bristol and Bath universities along with many more with Bath Cycling Club. Matthew was the perfect son.

“He was honest, hard-working, funny, full of life and always treated everyone with respect, especially his parents. Sadly, Matthew passed away just a few months before finishing his PhD. Matthew was loved by everyone and will be dearly missed.”

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.

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5 comments

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peted76 | 2 years ago
5 likes

This is a tragic occurence. Condolences to the family. 

 

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wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
15 likes

please lock

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CyclingInGawler replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
4 likes

Seconded.

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Older and sadder replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
1 like

Why did you want this thread locked? is it because it failed to support the narrative that all car drivers are guilty and cyclists can never be at fault? Or was it that dash cam footage exonerated the driver when we all know helmet cams only exist so that cyclists can post horror footage of "criminal behaviour" by motorists.  It was a tragedy that this cyclist was killed and I would never wish this on anyone, however what about the driver who will probably replay the incident in his mind for the rest of his life. I hope he is getting councilling and support?

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HoarseMann replied to Older and sadder | 2 years ago
7 likes

Older and sadder wrote:

Why did you want this thread locked? is it because it failed to support the narrative that all car drivers are guilty and cyclists can never be at fault?

No. I think it was to stop comments like this as a mark of respect to his family and friends.

I must say, with the limited information in the news reports, I don't agree with your analysis. If you want to discuss the scenario of a group of cyclists encountering an oncoming vehicle on a narrow road, then this would be a better place to do it: https://road.cc/content/news/near-miss-day-704-289821

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