Case Study

Cyclist killed in collision with lorry on A19

Incident date: 
Mon, 23 Jan 2012

A cyclist was killed today after being involved in an early morning crash on the A19.

The man, in his 50s, died after being involved in a collision with a lorry.

Emergency crews were called to the A19 southbound after the junction with the A689 at Wynyard at 7.10am on the 23rd January.

The North-east Ambulance Service also attended the scene.

The cyclist was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

A 53-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.

  • UPDATE (18/12/12)

The cyclist has been named as Christopher Paul Griffiths, 50. The driver who hit him was Paul Dove, 54.

Dove, of Aldwych Square, Sunderland, was scheduled to attend a hearing to enter a plea to the charge at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

But neither he nor anyone legally representing him was at court. It turned out that an administrative error had occurred and Mr Dove was not aware of the hearing.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC adjourned the plea hearing.

  • UPDATE 09/04/13

Dove has denied causing death by careless driving.

Fellow motorists have taken to the witness box to give evidence in the case and have described how the road was poorly lit and said that Mr Griffiths’ bike did not have a light on its rear.

However the jury also heard that Mr Griffiths was wearing a high visibility jacket with reflective material and was not riding on an area that was part of the road – but a hard shoulder-like run of tarmac that he was using as his own cycle lane.

Prosecutor Paul Cleasby said Dove had also given an account in interview with police saying that Mr Griffiths was not cycling but was stood with his bike – something at odds with the accounts of witnesses.

Mr Cleasby added that the other drivers had managed to avoid the cyclist.

He told the jury: “The Crown’s case is that Mr Dove failed to drive with the necessary due care and attention.

“Each of the other drivers you will hear from, either live or through their evidence being read, were able to see Mr Griffiths and although some expressed consternation at the presence of a cyclist on the road, they were each able to take appropriate steps to drive round Mr Griffiths.

  • UPDATE (13/11/13)

Mr Dove appeared at Teesside Crown Court to enter a plea and denied causing death by careless driving.

The court saw CCTV footage which showed that Mr Griffiths had been wearing a high-visibility jacket and had lights fitted to the front and rear of his bike. He had been travelling between the rumble strip and the grass verge in the area known as the margin, which is about a metre in width.

Mr Dove was unable to say how he had not seen the cycle until he was 20 yards away. The front nearside of the HGV collided with the rear of the pedal cycle.

  • UPDATE (21/11/13)

Dove was acquitted of causing death by careless driving at Teesside Crown Court when two juries could not reach a verdict.

Dove stood trial twice but neither jury could reach a verdict.

The jury foreman in the second trial was asked whether there was any realistic prospect of a verdict given more time. He said no.

The jury had been considering its verdict for almost seven-and-a-half hours.

Prosecutor Paul Cleasby said the Crown anticipated the result and instructed him to offer no further evidence.

Addressing Mr Griffiths’ family, the judge said: “I hope you can understand the difficulty that both juries were faced with.

“They were faced with, first, conflicting evidence to an extent from experts.

“There was no eyewitness account to confirm precisely where this collision occurred.

“I’m afraid there has to come a stage when there’s a reality check,” added Judge Bourne-Arton.

“And no further trial would in my judgment improve the situation at all.

He formally recorded a verdict of not guilty.

  • UPDATE 28/07/15

The stretch of of the A19 where Christopher was hit has been closed to cyclists following a string of collisions.

A ban on push bikes was enforced on the dual carriageway between the A689 at Wolviston and the A174 Parkway turn-off from 13 July 2015.

Highways England said it was put in place “for the safety of cyclists”.

In the last few years there have been several serious incidents involving people on push bikes on the section of the A19.

A spokesman for Highways England said: “The ban is in place for the safety of cyclists as there are safer alternative routes for cyclists between these junctions which are away from this busy stretch of the A19.”

However, Mr Griffiths’ widow Suzi suggested there are no feasible alternative cycle routes from Wynyard to Middlesbrough.

“The cycle paths stop before Wynyard so you have to go on the A689 which is a busy dual carriageway as well,” she said.

“The only route then is to go from the Castle Eden Walkway and you come out at Thorpe Thewles then there is nothing.

“You would then have to go on the old Durham road into Stockton, then down Portrack Lane and along the riverside road into Middlesbrough. And how long would that take?

“There are great cycle paths from Billingham Bottoms but once you get past that there is nothing. No safe routes.”

Stockton and Middlesbrough councils said they both supported the ban.

Cabinet member for regeneration and transport at Stockton Council, Cllr David Rose, said: “The safety of all road users travelling through our borough is of utmost importance to us.

“There are alternative safe cycling routes available to cyclists who need to travel north towards Wolviston which avoid the busy A19 so we are in full support of Highways England’s decision to ban cyclists on this part of the road.”

Inspector Wendy Tinkler of Cleveland Police said they have “actively supported” a ban on cyclists using the stretch of road.

“Our aim is to ensure that we do all we can to keep members of the public safe on our roads and to prevent unnecessary deaths,” she said.

CTC's view: 

Several incidents occur on the same stretch of road, a jury can’t agree that the driver involved in one of them was at fault, and the only solution Highways England and the Council can think of to protect the public is to ban them from using the road? Surely a better solution would be to make the road safer and encourage drivers to drive more responsibly along it.

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