Inquest on death of Harrogate cycling legend

Flashback to 2017 and cyclists arriving  at the  Pavilions of Harrogate where a celebration of Mike Hall's life was held in tribute to the legendary cyclist.
Flashback to 2017 and cyclists arriving at the Pavilions of Harrogate where a celebration of Mike Hall's life was held in tribute to the legendary cyclist.

An inquest has ruled on the death of a legendary ultra-endurance cyclist from Harrogate who was hit by a car two years ago while competing in Australia.

Coroner Dr Bernadette Boss said the death of champion British cyclist Mike Hall while riding in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, one of the world's most challenging cycling races, had been "avoidable."

Mr Hall, 35, died almost instantly when he was hit by a car on a highway near Canberra in March 2017.

One of the world's best ultra-endurance cyclists, he had been riding in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race at the time.

Following the tragedy, a memorial service was held in his honour in May 2017 with tributes from family and friends at the Pavilions of Harrogate at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

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Mr Hall, who was the 2012 World Cycle Race champion, had been in second place in the coast-to-coast race - in which cyclists ride a 3,400 mile route from Fremantle to Sydney - when the incident happened.

He suffered fatal head, spinal and abdominal injuries when he was hit by a car travelling at 62 mph at 06.22am local time, the inquest heard.

A coroner noted the accident happened in the dark and said it should prompt a thorough review of local road and bicycle laws.

Dr Boss noted that the driver, Shegu Bobb, had reported not seeing Mr Hall in the darkness.

Dr Boss said the investigation was "to some degree compromised by the loss of significant evidence" because police had not retained all of Mr Hall's clothing and bicycle equipment.

No charges have been laid against Mr Bobb, who had been on his way to work at the time of the accident. He initially thought he had struck a kangaroo, the inquest heard.

Police testified that Mr Bobb had been distracted by a parked car as he turned on to the highway, and had no time to avoid the collision.

Dr Boss said the incident should provide a "catalyst" for better safety rules, making six recommendations - including calling for a review of local road intersections.

She also recommended that Australia consider making it mandatory for all cyclists to have flashing rear lights when riding at night.

Such were Mr Hall's achievements and high standing, his death sent shock waves through the world of cycling.

Hall's friend and rival Kristof Allegaert, who had been leading the race when Hall was killed - led more than 1,000 cyclists on a ride in his memory in Sydney, where the race had been due to finish.

The race itself, from Perth to Sydney, was cancelled after the crash.

Last June a series of Audax UK events were held in Mid Wales titled "This is not a tour" in memory of Hall.

Mr Hall won the Tour Divide mountain bike race in the Rocky Mountains in both 2013 and 2016.

He also founded the annual Transcontinental Race - an ultra-endurance across Europe.

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