Fatal collision 9 November 2015 Newmarket Road, Cringleford, Norfolk

Last updated 15 September 2017
Newmarket Road, Cringleford, Norfolk (show full map)
Casualties Cyril Harrison, 67 (fatality)
Time of incident 6:05pm, 9 November 2015
Vehicles involved Pedal cycle, Car
Incident factors None known
Police details Norfolk

Cyril Harrison sustained multiple serious injuries when he was struck in a head-on collision on a one-way carriageway with a painted contraflow cycle lane. He passed away two and a half months later.

First on the scene of the collision was Steven Jones, at the time a police officer but since retired. He said that he saw “a white light which flew through the air. What caught my attention was a light going from the sky down to the ground. It was followed by something in fluorescent clothing.”

Craig Hawkes, the driver involved, said that he “saw a light in the distance and assumed it was a cyclist,” yet also said that he “had no chance to avoid” Harrison.

CCTV from the evening was said to show Harrison cycling outside of the cycle lane. The report of the inquest shows a CCTV image, which appears to have been taken from the east-facing wall of the offices of AF Howland Associates. This is only a few metres east of the recorded crash location.

The Eastern Daily Press’s report incorrectly states that Hawkes “cannot be prosecuted” because investigating officer Pc Paul McKay stated that “a speed repeater sign was missing”. Incorrect signage merely means he cannot practicably be prosecuted for a speeding offence (as McKay stated, it “presents issues in terms of any prosecution for speed”) but does not preclude other charges relating to the standard of driving.

It can be noted from Streetview that a repeater sign situated 50m west of the collision—a location Hawkes must have passed prior to colliding with Harrison—is clearly visible in September 2015 (two months before the incident) and again in September 2016 (ten months after the incident). If this is the repeater sign in question then this raises the curious question of where it went to in November 2015.

In total there are two repeater signs on Newmarket Road. After the terminal 30mph sign on entering the road from Round House Way, the first repeater is the one noted above and it appears approximately 320m later. The second is located approximately 200m after that. (This configuration appears to apply for all dates shown on Streetview.)

The regulations in place in November 2015 did not specify distances between repeater signs, but simply stated that they must be placed “at regular intervals”. The degree of latitude in the definition of “regular” is not clear.

However, it seems clear that (assuming he entered from Round House Way) Hawkes must have passed both the terminal sign and the first repeater, not the second, and since the regulations permit any distance to the first repeater sign, the regularity or otherwise of the repeaters is immaterial (though remains a technicality which can potentially be cited, albeit somewhat vexatiously).

Indeed, the criterion of regularity is actually fulfilled near enough perfectly by removing the second repeater sign (which Hawkes had not passed, and which thus is irrelevant to the collision), because the next sign is a 30mph terminal situated approximately 300m from the first repeater, which would leave the first repeater almost exactly at the midpoint between the two.