For some reason that's not clear to me, some reports of the rider's death are headlined that this was a "freak accident" although the reported evidence is that
... (he) fell off his bike and smashed his head on a rock after losing control on a fast descent. ...
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/c ... 96005.html
This is the flip-side of the "my helmet saved me" argument. Although we'll never know, it seems more than likely to me that that the rider felt encouraged to push himself like this to gain time downhill because his helmet gave him an increased feeling of safety. It's not mentioned in the reports I've read whether the coroner considered this possibility: coroners and the media are often quick to remark on the absence of a helmet. (Before anybody points it out, I'm not suggesting that the helmet didn't work as intended. There must be some impacts to the head that no helmet would protect against, but that's not a reason for never wearing one.)
I've not lost sight of the fact that this death was a sad loss of a young life, especially to the bereaved