Mum’s appeal for speed limit cut

Benjamin Hydes, 21, from Burghwallis, who died following a collision in Skellow.
Benjamin Hydes, 21, from Burghwallis, who died following a collision in Skellow.

A GRIEVING mum has called for the speed limit on a Doncaster road to be slashed after her son was killed when he rode his stunt bike in front of a van.

Benjamin Hydes, aged 21, suffered a fatal head injury when he collided with a Ford Transit as he cycled along a 40mph stretch of Cross Hill, Skellow, last September.

Now, following her son’s inquest in Doncaster, his mum Julia has called for speed limits to be cut.

Mrs Hydes, of Grange Lane, Burghwallis, said: “I would like to see the speed limit on this stretch reduced to 30mph. It’s 30mph further up the road, but it should be the same all the way along.”

Deputy coroner Fred Curtis heard Mr Hydes had turned across the front of the van for an unknown reason.

The van driver, Gareth Hicks, from Carcroft, was doing about 34mph at the time of the collision and there was no criticism of his driving.

But Mr Curtis said the type of bike Ben was riding was more suited to ‘the BMX track than a public highway’.

His nearly-new cycle had no seat and no handlebar brakes.

The bike was intended for low-speed stunt riding and the rider had to stand on the pedals all the time. The method of braking was a fixed rear wheel cog which meant it could only be slowed down by reduced pedalling.

Witnesses described how the care worker came down Mill Lane towards the junction with Hampole Balk Lane – which becomes Cross Hill – but did not stop at the ‘Give Way’ sign when he turned left in front of Mr Hicks’ works van.

Mr Hicks, aged 31, said: “When the cyclist came out I slowed down and I got nearly level with the cyclist. He was in control and there was nothing to cause any concern at all.

“Then he pulled out straight in front of the van, there was no signal at all. The rider hit the windscreen and went over to the right-hand side of the road and the bike went under the van.”

Mr Hydes was thrown about 20m and suffered a head injury.

He was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary, but died the next day.

PC Mark Smith, who investigated the collision, said it was possible Mr Hydes had focused on a vehicle that passed the junction before the van ‘and assumed the way was clear’.

He said: “It is fair to say the driver could not anticipate the cyclist moving out. This accident occurred as the result of the act of the pedal cyclist and was unavoidable for the driver.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Curtis said Ben clearly enjoyed riding his stunt bike.

However, he said: “It was best suited to a BMX playground rather than the public highway. It must have been difficult to handle in a road traffic situation.

“It seems to me that on turning the corner, Benjamin had to move out slightly because of a protusion in the road and he then proceeded a little further before he turned abruptly across in front of the van which was being driven, on all the evidence, within the speed limit.

“Why he turned abruptly there we will never know, but I think it more likely he couldn’t pull up at the side of the road and perhaps hoped he could make it across without a stop.”

Traffic officer PC Mike Carver told Mrs Hydes he would pass on her speed limit concerns to the appropriate authorities.