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Cyclist killed on Newlands Pass 'jumped from bike' rules coroner

Coroner says he was not going to make it round a sharp bend on a steep descent

An inquest has heard that a cyclist died on Newlands Pass near Buttermere in the Lake District after jumping off his bike while coming round a sharp bend. Senior coroner David Roberts concluded that Dr Simon Newell was not going to make it round the corner on his bike and had jumped onto a bank where there was a significant drop, landing awkwardly on his head and neck.

Newell, 59, was a consultant at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, specialising in neonatal medicine. He and his wife had been due to retire to Braithwaite, where they owned a cottage, five weeks after his death in August of last year.

Roberts said he was unable to say why Newell had crashed, calling him an "experienced and confident" rider.

"This is a steep hill. Simon knew the bend was there and I'm satisfied he was a careful rider. It's possible he could have come across a sheep, you just don't know.

"What is clear is that the bike was not going to go round the corner. Whatever happened, Simon left the road, hit the uneven ground and decided to jump and unfortunately for him he's landed this way and sustained fatal injuries as a result."

Newell’s wife, Debra, also a doctor, said: "We both worked really hard and were about to retire together. He was a very sociable man and spoke to everyone he met. He was very happy in his job and his family. I just admired him. Thirty-four years together wasn't long enough."

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Ush | 7 years ago
1 like

Coroners schmoroners.  What are the actual qualifications to be a coroner?  Serving some time in an archaic system?  Or do they have a post-graduate qualification in statistics, medicine, law and cop-on?

JimD666 replied to Ush | 7 years ago
Ush wrote:

Coroners schmoroners.  What are the actual qualifications to be a coroner?  Serving some time in an archaic system?  Or do they have a post-graduate qualification in statistics, medicine, law and cop-on?


You must be a qualified barrister, solicitor, or a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), with at least 5 years' qualified experience.

Medical degree used to be an alternative (if I'm reading correctly) but this was dropped back in 2009.

Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago

There's no suddenly jumping off when clipped in. I reckon this is just coroner's best guess. Sad any way you look at it.

BehindTheBikesheds | 7 years ago

Since when does a police traffic officer ever have ANY experience of cycling and fully understanding cycling incidents? Only have to look at a recent YT vid where a traffic officer on a motorbike utterly failed to understand the positioning of the cycle riders, started giving them his 'advice' then blatently failed to signal and didn't ride within the concept of what is the accepted standard for operating a motorised vehicle only a few seconds later. I've personally experienced this also and pulled up 'traffic' police for their lazy/careless driving.

More guesswork by a coroner, just like the one making guesses about the impact of wearing headphones when a women died cycling near Hull last year. The coroner wouldn't make any speculation as to why the HGV driver did not see her approach on what is an open roundabout with excellent sight lines and how this might have impacted the incident.

All too easy for them to make guesses with next to zero evidence to support that guess, "jumped" changes how one imagines the scenario to unfold, coming to a bend too fast or something unexpectedly appears (a sheep IS a plausable speculation) I would find it impossible to 'jump', make a deliberate attempt to dismount, sure but jump, that's doesn't sound right at all.

Valbrona | 7 years ago
1 like

Maybe the Coroner had available representation from a Police Traffic Officer with loads of experience of dealing with road traffic accidents, or the evidence of an expert cycling witness.

Or maybe they just made it up. 'Jumped from a bike'!?

bendertherobot | 7 years ago

Being an inquest I'd be surprised if what was heard, said, written and concluded could be properly represented in 6 paragraphs on

Zjtm231 | 7 years ago

I'm guessing the coroner has never actually tried to "jump" off a bike that is decending quickly....

Grahamd | 7 years ago

Sad story, feel for the family.

Given the apparent presumption that the bike would not make it round the corner somewhat surprised that there was no reference to the condition of the bike, in particular the brakes.

Kendalred | 7 years ago

It seems remarkable that an inquest can summarise that Dr Newell has 'jumped' from his bike. I'm not saying they are wrong, and we don't have the evidence that they have before them. Also, not entirely sure what they mean by 'jumped' - given his experience one would assume he was clipped-in at the time, so perhaps 'thrown from the bike' would be a more obvious conclusion?

Anyway, whatever the cause, so sad to see that someone has lost their life in our wonderful surroundings. This road is part of the Fred Whitton route, and there is one 'chicane' that is very tricky if you are not familiar with it (it's bloody tricky even if you are!). RIP Simon. 

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