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Coroner calls for parking restrictions after cyclist’s death

Daniel Waite was killed after he crashed into parked lorry on A20 near Maidstone

A coroner has called for parking restrictions to be introduced on the A20 near Maidstone following the death of a cyclist in Hollingbourne, near Maidstone, in July last year.

Daniel Waite, aged 43 and from Bearsted, was killed when he crashed into a parked lorry on the evening of 3 July 2019, the inquest at Maidstone’s County Hall heard.

The tipper truck he crashed into, operated by Tarmac, was one of eight vehicles parked on the road ahead of roadworks taking place that night on the M20, reports Kent Online.

Coroner Bina Patel said at the inquest that she would draw up a “prevention of further deaths” report asking the relevant authorities to put in place parking restrictions at the location where he died.

In a statement to the hearing, Mr Waite’s wife, Sarah, said that her husband, an experienced cyclist, “Had ridden the route several times before” and that “He knew it like the back of his hand.”

She continued: “We can't understand how this happened and we are angry that the basic safety precautions that could have alerted Dan to the lorries were not taken.

“That stretch of road should not have been used as a parking lot for eight lorries.

“I personally witnessed the exact same situation on that road in January 2020.

“I would challenge any person to drive that road and find a safe place to park any lorry, let alone eight.

“I ask the coroner put a request in to put parking restrictions on that stretch of road so that situations like this don't happen to anyone else.”

The vehicle, which was the rearmost in the convoy but unlike three of the others did not have hazard lights switched on, had been parked up around two minutes before the fatal crash.

CCTV footage showed Mr Waite approaching at a constant speed of around 24mph and making no attempt to break before he hit the lorry.

Kent Police forensic collision investigator Simon Masterson suggested that glare from the setting sun may have been a factor in the crash.

“It was a nice bright sunny day, the road conditions were dry with good visibility,” he said. “The sun was quite low to Mr Waite's right and this could have impacted his vision.

“For reasons unknown he collided with the vehicle. It is impossible to make a definitive decision as to why.”

He added: “I have been a police officer for 21 years, I was a traffic officer prior to this and I have not seen vehicles parked there before in such a manner.

“I'm surprised the road was not subject to any conditions such as a clearway.”

Recording a conclusion of death by a road traffic collision, Miss Patel said: “It was clear he had a passion for cycling and a keen passion for sport.

“He was extremely familiar with the route he was riding and his family tell me he knew where every bump and pothole would have been.

“I am satisfied having heard the evidence that the sun may have caused some vision issues due to glare.

“For reasons unknown he collided with the vehicle. It is impossible to make a definitive decision as to why.”

A spokesperson for Tarmac expressed sympathy for Mr Waite’s family, adding: “We appreciate that the inquest will have been a difficult time for them and we welcome the time taken by the coroner to investigate the circumstances around this tragic incident.

“Senior leaders were present throughout the proceedings to ensure any comments made by the coroner are taken on board and we will adhere to any further decisions our Highways England partners take around the practice of parking commercial vehicles.”

A spokesperson for Kent County Council commented: “The A20 is maintained by Kent County Council while the M20 is maintained by Highways England.

“The maintenance vehicles parked along the A20 were not KCC vehicles and we had no knowledge or agreement for them to be parked on the road.”

Mr Waite’s family is reportedly pursuing a civil claim in relation to his death.

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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10 comments

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 3 years ago
8 likes

Please be aware that someone died and that as a public forum, comments may well be visible to the deceased's friends and family.

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Captain Badger replied to Mungecrundle | 3 years ago
0 likes

Seconded!

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Titanus | 3 years ago
0 likes

He may well have known the road like the back of his hand, but that suggests to me that he didn't know the road well, or even at all. Do you know your phalanges from your metacarpals? Your abductor pollicis brevis from your abductor digiti minimi? What if you come off your bike and severed some of your proper palmar digital artieries? I bet you'd need the help of a medic to get them fixed. So it stands to reason that knowing something like the back of your hand means you actually know fuck all.

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Luca Patrono replied to Titanus | 3 years ago
4 likes

Laughably pedantic considering that the subject of this article is a road death.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Luca Patrono | 3 years ago
1 like

Titanus tries to be "funny" on most of them. I just ignore him ever since he joked about rape. 

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EK Spinner | 3 years ago
3 likes

I don't wish to appear heartless, but riding into a parked vehicle at 24 mph with the kind of sight lines that we have on Dual Carriagways sounds like the kind of thing I expect to hear about on a TT forum where riders tuck thier head in for maximum aero gains. Not smart in a race and not smart on the road in general.

As I have said on a number of times (normally in relation to drivers but it still stands) saafe operation of a moving vehicle requires the ability to stop in the distance you can see is clear ahead. So on the basis of what I read here I'm afraid it looks like Mr Waite wasn't looking or paying attention to the road ahead.

Still very sorry to hear of another death on our road network

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Secret_squirrel replied to EK Spinner | 3 years ago
4 likes

If you dont want to appear heartless then maybe avoid speculating based on a 3rd hand account?

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Captain Badger | 3 years ago
7 likes

Deep condolences to the deceased's loved ones

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Hirsute | 3 years ago
3 likes

Very strange story.
Compare with the 2 drivers who hit and then killed a cyclist in Wales.
Didn't realise folk thought it OK to park on a national speed limit dual carriageway.

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jova54 replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
1 like
hirsute wrote:

....... Didn't realise folk thought it OK to park on a national speed limit dual carriageway.

Looking at other correspondence on this, unless it's a Clearway or has a temporary TRO in place you can park in the N/S lane of a DC.

Not suggesting for one moment that it's a good idea or that you'd want to but perhaps someone at Highways England isn't so bothered.

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