THE family of a cyclist who died after a head on collision with a van during the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling last year appealed for racing protocols to be changed yesterday, following an inquest into his death.
Deputy coroner for Gwent, Wendy James recorded a verdict of accidental death after Ben Carroll, from Cardiff, was fatally injured on July 9, 2013, when he collided with a van in the open road race on the A40.
The incident occurred during the finish of the 45-mile Abergavenny Handicap, with Mr Carroll, 26, one of several cyclists who had crossed on to the opposite side of the two-lane carriageway at the time, the inquest heard.
But Ms James told the court evidence showed there was nothing untoward in the driving of the oncoming van by Tobias John Wilding, who also gave evidence.
Mr Wilding said: “I tried to slow down and veered on the grassy verge to the side to try and avoid them, but in a split second Ben collided with the front side.”
John Duggan - among the escort cohort for the race - said in evidence read by the coroner, “chaos” was caused by the accident which also left eight to 10 others on the floor, including another rider with minor injuries.
Mr Carroll, who was said to have died from “multiple injuries” in a post-mortem examination, was described by his dad, Matthew Carroll, as a sports-lover and avid cyclist with Cardiff Ajax.
In giving her conclusion, Ms James said: “It is commendable that people indulge their passion for cycling, but the safety of themselves and other road users must be paramount.
“Ben was a talented young man with a promising future ahead of him, but his life was snuffed out which is nothing short of a tragedy.
“I find myself fortunate today not to be conducting inquests into multiple deaths caused by the accident.”
The inquest was attended by around 13 friends and family members of Mr Carroll, along with four others who accompanied Mr Wilding.
Following the verdict, Mr Carroll’s family urged the coroner to contact national race organisers over future safety measures.
His dad said: “Why was the road not closed for the final mile of the race? We have no issue with race protocols which were followed on the day, but we suggest that may be they should be changed in future.”
British Cycling were asked for a comment but had not replied at the time of going to print.
Verdict: Accidental death