Collision with car driven by Peter Farmer on A371 Locking Moor Road, Weston-super-Mare. April was on the cycle path immediately adjacent to the road (which has a 60mph speed limit) and lost control of her bicycle while apparently struggling with her gears. She fell across the kerb into the path of a vehicle and was struck, suffering fatal head injuries.
At an inquest, coroner Maria Voisin gave a verdict of death by road traffic accident and ruled that Farmer was not in any way to blame. She said she would write to North Somerset Council “to discuss measures they could take to prevent future deaths on the road”.
This incident serves as a prime example of why simply creating a lane for bicycles (and, indeed, pedestrians) alongside a fast road is inadequate.
In order to prevent pedestrians or cyclists falling into the carriageway the carriageway and/or footway must be separated by at least some distance, and ideally by some raised feature. Additionally, although not a factor in this case, a major barrier such as armco is required if motor vehicles are to be prevented from leaving the carriageway.
Where speeds above 30mph (some might argue even lower) there is a very high risk that once an incident such as this starts to unfold it will end in serious injury or death, if there is no such separation from the carriageway.
It is worth noting that incidents of this nature have myriad causes including human error (which particularly affects the young), medical episodes (which particularly affect the old), loose animals, mechanical failure and so on.
Highway designs such as the one used in this location serve to punish basic errors or simple misfortune with death, and any continued implementation of them should arguably be considered negligent at best. Given the prevalence of the design to punish factors that are more prevalent in those of particularly young or old ages, it is also arguably discriminatory.