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Coroner to write to Tour de Yorkshire sportive organisers after cyclist's death

Coach driver had reversed into side road and was pulling out again

A coroner is to write to the organisers of the Tour de Yorkshire sportive after a rider died in hospital following a collision with a coach during last year’s event. Christopher Dorries said the sportive had been “a well organised event in many regards,” but added that when large numbers of cyclists take part in events on open roads, “the unexpected is not perhaps quite as rare as might be hoped.”

The BBC reports that David Worthington had been cycling at about 30-35mph when he was involved in a collision with a coach as he rounded a "limited visibility bend".

He died in hospital six days later as a result of his injuries.

The coach driver, David Lockley, had reversed into Plank Gate near Wortley after being forced to turn around due to a low bridge. He was then pulling out on to Finkle Street Lane when the collision occurred at about 11.05am on April 30.

Lockley told the hearing he looked in both directions before pulling out.

"There was no traffic whatsoever. I was three-quarters into the turn and I was fully committed when I saw the cyclist. Anything coming round that bend had 50 yards to stop."

Collision investigator Darrell McPherson said Lockley would have been able to see Worthington from about 50 metres away.

"You get to a point when leaving that junction you have to commit and you do not have a view," he said.

A coach passenger, Margaret Crane, said she saw Worthington with his "head down" before braking.

"He did eventually look up and saw the coach and then he slammed on his brakes but he was going so fast that the bike started to wobble.”

Lockley said he had not seen any cyclists on Finkle Street Lane before reversing into Plank Gate and claimed he was not aware of the event taking place.

Dorries rejected that, but did not criticise the driver’s actions, saying there was no "easy solution" to the situation.

Recording a narrative verdict, he said: "The visibility was limited for both cyclist and coach driver. Mr Worthington braked hard and attempted to miss the vehicle but was unable to do so."

He added that he would write to event organisers, Human Race.

"I'm happy to accept that this was a well organised event in many regards... but launching 2,900 cyclists onto public roads, even first thing on a Sunday morning, is a serious undertaking requiring minute planning.

"If nothing else, this case perhaps demonstrates that the unexpected is not perhaps quite as rare as might be hoped."

A spokesman for Human Race said it would "continue to critique our plans and processes to ensure lessons are learnt from this tragedy" and that it would review the coroner's comments.

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