Elderly cyclist suffered medical episode before fatal Harrogate crash

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A 77-year-old cyclist who died after a crash with a pedestrian near Kirkby Overblow suffered a medical episode prior to the accident, an inquest has heard.

Christopher Charles Jennings, from Rawdon, Leeds, lost control of his bike after suffering an episode of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis before crashing into the pedestrian on August 13.

Mr Jennings was flown to Leeds General Infirmary by air ambulance where scans revealed serious head injuries and he was pronounced dead at 4.36pm.

The inquest heard how Mr Jennings, an experienced cyclist, left his home at 9.30am on a route which he had cycled before, however he was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

The pedestrian, a 72-year-old man from Harrogate, told the inquest that he was walking behind his partner on Follifoot Road, facing traffic when he was struck by Mr Jennings who had veered over to the wrong side of the road.

Rob Turnbull, the senior coroner at Harrogate Magistrates Court, confirmed an accidental death and that the cause of death was multiple head injuries from the road traffic injury.

He said: “Mr Jennings was clearly devoted to his family. He was also an experienced cyclist at a very high level.

“On the day in question he had gone out for a ride and had gone quite a considerable distance before the accident and had taken a break in Knaresborough.

“We have said that he was not wearing a helmet but that was his choice and said he had sufficient skill to not require one.

“The pedestrian did not see Mr Jennings approach because he came from behind but has said he heard a whooshing sound and then felt the blow as he was struck.

“There after what could have been done was done. An ambulance was called and he was taken to Leeds General Infirmary but he had suffered injuries from which he could not recover.”

Mr Turnbull drew on reports from a pathologist who confirmed that Mr Jennings would have lost cognitive function before the accident due to reduced blood flow to the brain.

Mr Jenning’s daughter told the inquest that her father developed a love of cycling to build his strength after sustaining osteoporosis following a rugby injury when he was 12.

She told the inquest that cycling became his ‘life-long passion’ but he never wore a helmet, although insisted that his family wear one when they were riding.

The pedestrian was taken to Harrogate District Hospital where he was treated for a number of fractured ribs following the accident, before being released.