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'Lessons to be learned' after cyclist died following crash during South Yorkshire race

David Worthington.
David Worthington.
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There are lessons to be learned by organisers of a mass-participation cycling event after a rider died following a collision with a coach, a coroner has said.

David Worthington, 51, was taking part in a race along with around 3,000 other riders on April 30 last year, when the crash happened near Penistone, South Yorkshire.

An inquest in Sheffield heard how the annual event, which is an opportunity for amateur cyclists to ride part of the Tour de Yorkshire route ahead of the professionals, took place on roads which remained open to traffic.

On Wednesday, coroner Chris Dorries heard details about the crash but told Mr Worthington's family he had decided to deliver his conclusionson August 14 at 4pm.

He told representatives of the company Human Race, who organised the event, there were 'a lot of lessons for your clients to learn from this case'.

But Mr Dorries said these would not take the form of criticisms of the firm.

Earlier, the coroner heard how Mr Worthington was just over an hour into his ride when he was in collision with the coach on Finkle Street Lane, near the village of Wortley.

The bus had reversed into a lane on the side of the road and was in the process of turning back out onto the road when Mr Worthington's bike ploughed into its side.

The cyclist, from Penistone, died in hospital six days later.

Witnesses on the bus told the inquest that the coach was overtaken by a number of groups of cyclists and a horse rider described how she could not cross the road due to the number of riders streaming down the hill at speeds of about 30-40mph.

But coach driver David Lockley said he did not see any riders as he drove down Finkle Street Lane and only saw a couple as he was reversing.

He explained how he was turning in the road because of a low bridge ahead and claimed vehicles approaching would have had time to stop, despite it being a 60mph road.

The coroner said: "Didn't events prove you wrong?"

The coach driver replied: "Yes. But for reasons."

Asked what those reasons were, Mr Lockley said: "The speed of the cyclist."

Police collision investigator Darrell McPherson told the inquest the coach driver would only have been able to see 49 metres up the road due to a bend and said he had found it difficult to pull out of the same junction safely in a normal car.

Kirsty Wilde, the operations director for Human Race, told the inquest how Mr Worthington had been sent four emails with links he had opened to event information which all stressed that the ride was on roads open to traffic.

She said this was also stressed by the starting official as each batch of cyclists left the start line in Stocksbridge.

"In all of our information it is clearly stated that it's an open road event and you should ride accordingly," she said.

Miss Wilde said it was not possible to put a warning sign at every junction on a course of that length.

One participant, Giles Stephenson, agreed that he had been told that the event included open roads but said he was surprised just how much of the ride was on open roads with traffic.