Call for parking restrictions after cyclist's death

A coroner is calling for the introduction of new safety measures on a dual carriageway after the tragic death of a cyclist. Daniel Waite, a father-of-two from Bearsted, died after a collision on the A20 Ashford Road near Hollingbourne just before 8pm on July 3 last year.

Dan Waite was married with two children Dan Waite was married with two children

An inquest at County Hall in Maidstone heard Mr Waite, an experienced cyclist, was riding along the Maidstone-bound carriageway near the junction with Leeds when he collided with a parked Scania Tipper truck, suffering fatal injuries.

Paramedics were unable to save the 43-year-old plumber. The truck, operated by company Tarmac, was parked on the side of the road with seven others.

The convoy had been instructed to park there while waiting to be deployed to overnight roadworks on the M20.

Following the inquest, coroner Bina Patel said she would complete a ‘prevention of further deaths’ report, asking the authorities to consider introducing parking restrictions along the stretch.

Daniel and Sarah Waite from Bearsted Daniel and Sarah Waite from Bearsted

The call for action was backed by Sarah Waite, Mr Waite’s wife, who gave an emotional statement during the hearing. The 43-year-old strategy manager said: “On that day, Dan left home and he never returned. He left on his beloved bike, it was a beautiful evening and he had been working all day.

“He was going to take advantage of the weather. He had ridden the route several times before. He knew it like the back of his hand.

“He was super fit and a bike ride like that was nothing for him. He would barely break a sweat. “We never got an opportunity to look at him again.

Dan was cheated of his life that evening, his two children have been cheated of their father and I have been cheated of my soulmate.

Dan Waite was an experienced cyclist Dan Waite was an experienced cyclist

“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 accident happened on the A20 Ashford Road at Hollingbourne. Picture: Google Street View The accident happened on the A20 Ashford Road at Hollingbourne. Picture: Google Street View

The driver of the vehicle had been parked up for two minutes before the accident and had been waiting with his colleagues on a grass verge Around three out of the eight trucks had hazard lights on but the rear vehicle Mr Waite hit did not.

While the truck was parked, CCTV footage taken from its rear camera shows 22 vehicles, including a cyclist, passed the convoy during this time without trouble. It then shows Mr Waite, who had been riding his bike for more than an hour and a half, approaching at a constant speed of around 24mph making no attempts to hit the brakes and cycling into the back of the lorry. Evidence suggests he would have had about 18 seconds to spot the tipper after entering the carriageway from the roundabout near the Great Danes Hotel.

Dan Waite went for a bike ride after work when the accident happened Dan Waite went for a bike ride after work when the accident happened

He had been wearing all the correct safety gear at the time of the accident.

Giving evidence, Simon Masterson, a forensic collision investigator from Kent Police, said glare from the low setting sun is likely to have been a contributing factor to the accident as it could have impacted his vision. He said: “It was a nice bright sunny day, the road conditions were dry with good visibility. “The sun was quite low to Mr Waite’s right and this could have impacted his vision.”

He added: “In my opinion I was surprised to see lorries parked there.

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

“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.”

A clearway is a stretch of road where it is illegal to stop for any reason except in an emergency. Summing up, 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.” She gave the conclusion of death by a road traffic collision.

A Tarmac spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened by Daniel’s death and extend our sympathies to his family. “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 KCC spokesperson said: “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.” It is understood that a civil case is being pursued and Highways England said it was unable to comment due to legal proceedings being active.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

You may also like...