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Inquest finds accidental death after policeman crashes on Greenhow Hill

"Error of judgement" cost Notts officer his life...

An inquest into the death of a cyclist on Yorkshire’s Greenhow Hill has found that the crash that cost Detective Inspector Peter Parchment his life was an accident.

On April 24, Det Insp Parchment of Nottinghamshire police  was taking part in a three-day coast to coast ride to raise money for charity when he crashed on the steep, winding two mile descent into Pateley Bridge.

The inquest heard that he was not speeding when he crashed, but had been riding too fast for the road and his abilities, ,according to the Nottingham Post.

His bike wheel hit the edge of the road and he and his bike were thrown through the air and hit a tree.

The Highways Agency said nothing can be done to improve safety on the steep descent, though there are warning signs alerting road users to the hill’s winding and steep nature.

Greenhow Hill is on the popular Way of the Roses coast to coast route that crosses the country from Morecambe to Bridlington. Det Insp Parchment is the first cyclist to die on the hill, but there have been three crashes in the last couple of years in which cyclists have been injured.

Mr Parchment was riding with friend and colleague Detective Constable Michael Eaton when the crash occurred. When they reached the top of the hill, Det Insp Parchment took the lead.

Det Con Eaton said: “We were going down the hill. We may have been pedalling a bit but we were certainly not pedalling fast and accelerating.

“It was more a case of gravity taking us. It all happened in a split second.

“My view was Pete’s speed was slightly too fast for the bend.

“I saw his front wheel hit the edge of the road. I saw the wheel actually wiggle as he lost control.

“It seemed to me both Pete and the bike lost control and virtually flew through the air and hit the tree.”

Despite his colleagues attempting CPR, Mr Parchment died at the scene of multiple injuries.

He was estimated to have been travelling at 20-25mph at the time of the crash.

Returning a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Geoff Fell said: “It seems to me this was an error of judgement on Mr Parchment’s part.”

The crash was probably caused by a combination of speed and the line he took around the bend, the coroner said.

He did not think signs for cyclists would do any good but he would ask the Highways Agency to monitor accidents involving cyclists.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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lakeland bimbler | 10 years ago

There but for the grace...

Having come off hard on Greenhow hill myself I know how easy it is to get caught off-guard on it. The top section is gentle and encourages you to accelerate then it suddenly steepens and throws a couple of sharp bends at you just where the trees start so the road holds water and grease.

I was lucky enough to limp away with a couple of cracked ribs, a dead bike and an enduring belief in the value of helmets.

Take care out there folks...

Wardy74 | 10 years ago

While my condolences go out to the officer's family, who may be looking for someone/thing to blame, this is a verdict all enthusiastic cyclists should welcome. It is quite encouraging to hear that we are allowed to have accidents that are nobody's fault but our own. There could so easily have been a call or recommendation to have had signs to say 'cyclists dismount' or banned altogether. The hills have been here a lot longer than us and the roads have evolved over time, and most of us relish the challenge of riding up and down them. I am not saying we should all be reckless, but I for one would like to keep riding by my own senses and not by numbers.

cbrndc | 10 years ago

Very sorry to hear of a death but this caught my eye:
“It seemed to me both Pete and the bike lost control . . ."
"the bike lost control"! What!  39

chadders | 10 years ago

Rode this route recently a local stopped and warned us of how dangerous the hill is. It was wet and windy so took extra care but can understand if someone went at it a bit too hard.
Sad to hear of any death especially on a recognised cycle route.

notfastenough | 10 years ago

RIP indeed. I'll have a drink for him tonight.

Tripod16 | 10 years ago

 2 RIP

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