Leeds cyclist-death road ‘should be reviewed’

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A coroner is to write to highways chiefs to ask for a review of road layouts following the death of a cyclist at a notorious cut-through near a busy Leeds roundabout.

An inquest this week heard that a catalogue of factors – including a “significant” amount of cannabis in his blood – led to the death of Paul Papworth.

The 28-year old mature student died when he clipped a kerb, flew off his bike and hit his head against a concrete bollard designed to stop traffic cutting through an estate.

The lifelong cycling fan was riding his brand new Carrera Banshee bike – bought just a few hours earlier – along Elland Road towards the A6110 roundabout just before 4pm on October 1 last year.

An inquest in Wakefield heard cyclists often cut through the footpath to avoid having to use the busy roundabout nearby.

Tracey and Simon Long, Mr Papworth’s mother and stepfather, told the inquest their son had been cycling since the age of six. He had cycled the route many times and was a “competent and safe road user”.

The couple said the bollards where Mr Papworth hit his head were “useless in doing the job they were intended for”.

A toxicologist’s report found large amounts of recently-ingested cannabis in Mr Papworth’s blood which was “likely to have had a significant and detrimental effect on Paul’s motor and cognitive functions”.

He had also recently seen his GP about aches in his upper arms and thigh, which could also have been contributing factors, the court heard. The inquest was told the new bike was free of defects and fit for the road. However, the sharper brakes may have caused Mr Papworth to “misjudge”.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, assistant deputy coroner Mary Burke said: “Issues have been raised as to the position of the bollard. I intend to write to the highways authority...and invite them to review the layout. I cannot stipulate what steps should be taken. But if facts come to light that can prevent incidents like this happening then I am happy to do it.”


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