I heard on the news last week about the two cyclists who were tragically killed on the A30 in Cornwall after a collision with an articulated lorry, near Newquay. What makes this more poignant is that the fact that the two, as yet unnamed, riders were taking part in a charity bike ride, cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats.
The driver of the lorry, thought to belong to a company based in Launceston, Cornwall, has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, and later bailed, although it is too early to say whether any prosecution will be brought, as investigations are still underway. It is understood that the vehicle will be examined, along with its tachograph and the driver's mobile phone records.
It is believed that the cyclists were on the first day of their epic trek, which is a popular charity event. CTC, the National Cycling Charity, confirm on their website that cycling on rural A roads carries a risk of death, per mile travelled, 20 times higher than on urban minor roads. The A30 runs practically the entire length of Cornwall and whilst not strictly classed as a motorway, does have extremely heavy traffic use, as I can verify - having been stuck in jams on it more times that I care to remember, on my way down for summer holidays.
Local cycle forums advise cyclists to avoid the A30 if at all possible, however, the reality is that this is the quickest and easiest route for people cycling through the county. Summertime is a popular season for this type of charity event - the well organised Manchester to Blackpool bike ride is imminent - however, the danger is that people planning their own individual charity bike rides often cycle on roads and in parts of the country that they are unfamiliar with. The advice when planning this type of event is to get as much information as possible about the terrain that you will cover, the safest routes to use, and to always be aware of traffic and weather conditions.
By Pauline Smith