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Cyclist Ruby Milnes and driver ‘did not see each other’
TRAGIC cyclist Ruby Milnes died because neither she nor a lorry driver saw each other until it was too late to avoid a collision beside York Racecourse, a jury was told.
Police traffic accident investigator Stuart Langford concluded in a report read out at York Crown Court that a hedge to the right of the York to Selby cycle route prevented cyclists on the route and vehicles on a private road across car parks south of the grandstands from seeing each other.
Student Ruby, 17, died when her bicycle hit the front of a lorry as she cycled across the crossroads where route and road meet on May 8, 2008, the jury heard. She was on her way home to Bishophill and used the cycle route as her regular route to and from York College.
Safety expert Julian Franklin said a gate across the private road caused a risk of a fatal accident at the junction that should have been seen and dealt with through a risk assessment.
York Racecourse LLP denies failure to ensure the safety of people not in its employment and failure to carry out a risk assessment of allowing delivery lorries to use the access road, which goes between Bishopthorpe Road and the grandstand area.
PC Langford’s report included the words: “It would appear neither the driver of the lorry, Stephen Todd, or the cyclist, Ruby Milnes, have appreciated the presence of the other vehicle at least until it was too late to avoid a collision, if at all, before the collision occurred.”
Mr Franklin, of the Health and Safety Executive, said a gate across the access road that was normally kept locked shut caused a risk as cyclists would tend to ignore the junction if they got used to it being closed and go straight across, and would not expect to see vehicles crossing their path.
He said he “found it difficult to believe a suitable and sufficient” risk assessment had been carried out because he had not been told of any documents stating the risk or any measures taken to counter it.
The court heard York Racecourse installed 5mph speed limit and cycle warning signs on the road and a traffic warning sign on the cycle route and moved the gate so it went across the cycle route at the end of May 2008, after the crash.