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Cyclist killed on M3 was victim of "unavoidable collision," inquest hears

Simon Wagner died instantly when he was hit by car travelling at 70mph as he rode in middle lane of motorway

A cyclist who was killed in May as he rode his bike at night along the M3 motorway in Hampshire was the victim of an “unavoidable collision,” a police officer has told a coroner’s inquest.

Simon Wagner, aged 52 and from Ash Vale, died instantly when he was struck by an Audi A4 being driven by David Earl close to Fleet services on the evening of 5 May, reports getsurrey.co.uk.

He was cycling in the middle lane of the motorway when the fatal collision happened, although earlier he had been seen riding on the hard shoulder and in the nearside lane.

Basingstoke Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Wagner sustained a fractured skull, as well as fractures to his spine, knees, arms and ribs when he was struck by the vehicle which was travelling at 70mph.

Mr Earl told the court that he first saw Mr Wagner’s bicycle in the beam of his headlights, which were dipped, when he was around 50 feet away, giving him no time to react.

“I did not have time to brake. It happened in no more than a second,” said Mr Earl, who added that it seemed that Mr Wagner was riding across the middle lane from left to right.

The motorist stopped on the hard shoulder, as did Paul Hind, the driver of a vehicle following him, and called the emergency services.

According to PC Jamie Foster, police had already been notified that there was a cyclist on the motorway shortly before the collision. He said that he arrived at the scene and that “It was clear this was a fatal collision.”

Hampshire Police collision investigator Andy McDonald described the collision as “unavoidable” and said “It would have been very difficult to identify him [Mr Wagner] until late on.”

Paramedics confirmed Mr Wagner was dead at 11.10pm, and blood tests revealed him to have been 2.6 times over the drink-driving limit.

There was no indication of why Mr Wagner, an accountant and father of three who was described as an experienced rider, was on the motorway which would not have been his most direct route home.

Coroner Andrew Bradley, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said: “It was quite clear on May 5 for whatever reason, there is no explanation, he is riding along the M3 motorway in the hours of darkness.

"He has consumed alcohol, that may have impaired his judgement. It may have made him feel he was invincible.

“This is a very strange situation, not one for which I have any explanation at all. For that I am sorry,” he added.

In a statement released following his death, Mr Wagner’s family said: “Simon had a warm and generous heart, loved life and made friends wherever he went.

“Simon touched so many lives and the news of his sudden and tragic death is a terrible shock for everyone who was lucky enough to have known him.”

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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42 comments

Avatar
eddyhall | 7 years ago
5 likes

@ danthomascyclist The distance illuminated by my *dipped* headlights is about 20 metres. This in theory means I should be driving at just under 30 mph. Is this your proposal? Nighttime speed restrictions of 30mph? Or would you advocate for full-beam headlights for all nighttime drivers?

Avatar
madcarew replied to eddyhall | 4 years ago
3 likes
eddyhall wrote:

@ danthomascyclist The distance illuminated by my *dipped* headlights is about 20 metres. This in theory means I should be driving at just under 30 mph. Is this your proposal? Nighttime speed restrictions of 30mph? Or would you advocate for full-beam headlights for all nighttime drivers?

The answer, in law, is quite simply 'yes'. You MUST (the law's own words) be able to stop in the clear road you can see ahead. Your problem with this concept shows how clearly ingrained the 'right's to travel in a certain manner or st a certain speed was. Imagine for a moment, that your 6 year old daughter was sleep walking and you knew she was walking down the middle lane of a road at night somewhere. At what speed would you drive down that road as you searched for her? Why would you drive at any different speed to that when someone else's loved one may be in the same position?

Avatar
Htc replied to madcarew | 4 years ago
1 like
madcarew wrote:
eddyhall wrote:

@ danthomascyclist The distance illuminated by my *dipped* headlights is about 20 metres. This in theory means I should be driving at just under 30 mph. Is this your proposal? Nighttime speed restrictions of 30mph? Or would you advocate for full-beam headlights for all nighttime drivers?

The answer, in law, is quite simply 'yes'. You MUST (the law's own words) be able to stop in the clear road you can see ahead. Your problem with this concept shows how clearly ingrained the 'right's to travel in a certain manner or st a certain speed was. Imagine for a moment, that your 6 year old daughter was sleep walking and you knew she was walking down the middle lane of a road at night somewhere. At what speed would you drive down that road as you searched for her? Why would you drive at any different speed to that when someone else's loved one may be in the same position?

 

Reducing speed solves many problems with driving. It increases safety, reduces emissions, noise, etc. Significantly improving the quality of life for all. There is definitely a dangerous general consensus that the speed limit is a target or minimum, this must be changed.

Avatar
1961BikiE | 7 years ago
9 likes

I can't agree and find your argument comparing Mway & Dual carriageway to be disingenuous.

Avatar
danthomascyclist replied to 1961BikiE | 7 years ago
0 likes
1961BikiE wrote:

I can't agree and find your argument comparing Mway & Dual carriageway to be disingenuous.

 

Exactly what part don't you agree with?

Avatar
danthomascyclist | 7 years ago
6 likes

Cyclist should not be in the central lane of the motorway. We can all agree on that.

 

BUT

 

This is not deserving of death and to suggest that this is unavoidable is awful. Why wasn't the driver following rule 126 of the Highway Code that clearly states you should "drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear". The fact that there was a six foot tall, six foot long lump of meat and metal in the drivers path suggests that it wasn't clear.

There's nothing to suggest that this accident wouldn't have happened on a dual carriageway - where the cyclist had every right to be.

Just because somebody shouldn't be somewhere, that's not a fucking excuse to smash them apart at 70mph.

Avatar
joules1975 replied to danthomascyclist | 7 years ago
7 likes
danthomascyclist wrote:

Cyclist should not be in the central lane of the motorway. We can all agree on that.

 

BUT

 

This is not deserving of death and to suggest that this is unavoidable is awful. Why wasn't the driver following rule 126 of the Highway Code that clearly states you should "drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear". The fact that there was a six foot tall, six foot long lump of meat and metal in the drivers path suggests that it wasn't clear.

There's nothing to suggest that this accident wouldn't have happened on a dual carriageway - where the cyclist had every right to be.

Just because somebody shouldn't be somewhere, that's not a fucking excuse to smash them apart at 70mph.

 

Do you know what the unfortunate guy was wearing (i.e. colour of clothing etc), or whether he had lights or whether the road was lit? For all you know he probably blended in, particularly if the road was unlit as regardless of clothing, little or no light means everything is hidden.

Are you suggesting that at night drivers on the motorway should not drive at more than 40mph or thereabouts in case there is something on the road that shouldn't have been there? There could just as equally have been an escaped horse or similar which on an unlit motorway would also only be visible from 50 metres or so.

What about a railway line? Do you think that trains should be driven along them at a speed suitable for stopping in a short distance just in case someone or something is on the line. No, because railways, and motorways are built in such a way and have highly publicised rules in place to make it clear who and what should and shouldn't be on them.

Did the guy deserve to die for being in the middle of a motorway? No, but everyone knows that doing anything other than driving along a motorway is pretty stupid and dangerous.

Terrible these incidents are - and where possible and sensible actions should be taken to prevent them - at some point people need to appreciate that they have a large part to play in their own safety.

Avatar
brooksby replied to joules1975 | 7 years ago
2 likes
joules1975 wrote:

Are you suggesting that at night drivers on the motorway should not drive at more than 40mph or thereabouts in case there is something on the road that shouldn't have been there? There could just as equally have been an escaped horse or similar which on an unlit motorway would also only be visible from 50 metres or so.

Would that be so awful?

Avatar
Mungecrundle replied to danthomascyclist | 7 years ago
15 likes
danthomascyclist wrote:

Cyclist should not be in the central lane of the motorway. We can all agree on that.

 

BUT

 

This is not deserving of death and to suggest that this is unavoidable is awful. Why wasn't the driver following rule 126 of the Highway Code that clearly states you should "drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear". The fact that there was a six foot tall, six foot long lump of meat and metal in the drivers path suggests that it wasn't clear.

There's nothing to suggest that this accident wouldn't have happened on a dual carriageway - where the cyclist had every right to be.

Just because somebody shouldn't be somewhere, that's not a fucking excuse to smash them apart at 70mph.

 

danthomascyclist,

How do you know that the driver in this incident was looking for some sort of excuse to smash someone apart at 70mph?

I try not to comment on these types of story apart to offer condolences because they are tragedies to all involved, and it sickens me that fingers are pointed and fault is found by keyboard experts who have no detailed access to the evidence presented in a proper court of law, gathered by experts in the field of road traffic collision.

Yet when one sees a comment as fuckwitted as yours, it needs calling out for the moronic drivel it is.

M

 

 

 

Avatar
ChrisB200SX replied to danthomascyclist | 7 years ago
1 like
danthomascyclist wrote:

Cyclist should not be in the central lane of the motorway. We can all agree on that.

 

BUT

 

This is not deserving of death and to suggest that this is unavoidable is awful. Why wasn't the driver following rule 126 of the Highway Code that clearly states you should "drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear". The fact that there was a six foot tall, six foot long lump of meat and metal in the drivers path suggests that it wasn't clear.

There's nothing to suggest that this accident wouldn't have happened on a dual carriageway - where the cyclist had every right to be.

Just because somebody shouldn't be somewhere, that's not a fucking excuse to smash them apart at 70mph.

Couldn't agree more, don't see how this was unavoidable. Do coroners check blood alcohol level of injured passengers and pedestrians?

Death by careless driving at the very least. Death by dangerous driving in my opinion, as you've really got to see further than 50ft ahead of you at 70mph! Also, very few people going that slow on the M3 at that time of night!

Avatar
Angelfishsolo replied to danthomascyclist | 7 years ago
1 like

Absolutly moronic comment.  A cyclist has no right to be on the overtaking lane on a dual carridgeway.  That is what the middle and outer land of the motorway is for.

danthomascyclist wrote:

Cyclist should not be in the central lane of the motorway. We can all agree on that.

 

BUT

 

This is not deserving of death and to suggest that this is unavoidable is awful. Why wasn't the driver following rule 126 of the Highway Code that clearly states you should "drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear". The fact that there was a six foot tall, six foot long lump of meat and metal in the drivers path suggests that it wasn't clear.

There's nothing to suggest that this accident wouldn't have happened on a dual carriageway - where the cyclist had every right to be.

Just because somebody shouldn't be somewhere, that's not a fucking excuse to smash them apart at 70mph.

Avatar
CumbrianDynamo replied to Angelfishsolo | 7 years ago
5 likes
Angelfishsolo wrote:

A cyclist has no right to be on the overtaking lane on a dual carridgeway. *

 

*unless they're trying to make a right turn, or they're overtaking a slower vehicle such as a tractor.

 

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