Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

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anothereye
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Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby anothereye » 6 Jun 2009, 1:45pm

The following is by the parents of Marie Vesco:
My daughter Marie Vesco was killed exactly one year ago while cycling on the A23. A driver intending to leave the road clipped her bicycle as she passed causing Marie to fall. The following car, driving too close behind, ran over her and she was killed. Neither driver was prosecuted.
At the inquest the coroner recommended that proper sign posting, to direct cyclists to a quieter road, should be installed as a matter of urgency.
The Minister of Transport has replied that it may be done in the year 2009/10. Nobody has been held responsible for killing Marie. We are abandoned to grieve the loss of our beautiful child; in the life long knowledge that her death was treated as of no more value than a cat.
Friends and Family have placed a white 'ghost' bicycle by the side of the A23 on the southbound carriageway just before the offslip to Burgess Hill [A2300], at Hickstead Junction, where she was killed.
We ask ourselves who will be next. We are angry that nobody cares and nothing has been done to protect us.

They will be interviewed by BBC South East News this afternoon.
Previous discussion of Maries death: http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=21840
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fluffy_mike
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby fluffy_mike » 6 Jun 2009, 5:45pm

A very sad case, which must have been made so much worse by the indifference of the authorities

661-Pete-oldversion
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby 661-Pete-oldversion » 7 Jun 2009, 12:41pm

A very tragic case. I know the area where this happened quite well, and I remember the occasion.

Although I generally use the 'quieter roads' to which the Coroner referred, from choice (and because I am getting slower with age), I do not hold that the A23 and similar busy D/Cs are simply no-go areas for cyclists. Indeed I feel it is a disservice to the memory of Marie Vesco, and to her friends and family, to state that she committed an error in choosing to cycle along this road due to her not knowing of the parallel alternative roads. The cause of her death was two instances of bad driving, not the fact that she was cycling. Many competent and experienced cyclists use busy main roads from choice because, a roadie especially, can maintain a high speed thereon, and usually in reasonable safety (of course, with the high vehicular speeds, if a collision happens it is likely to be very serious).

So how does one maximise one's safety at an awkward slip road? My view is that motorists must, of course, be aware of cyclists ahead and be prepared to drop speed and exit the road behind the cyclists, not in front of them. What is the best strategy for the cyclist?

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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby Tonyf33 » 7 Jun 2009, 1:50pm

Ratatouille wrote:A very tragic case. What is the best strategy for the cyclist?

Laying down road mines as you go along, seriously though the family must be devastated at the outcome. it just seems of late that cyclists are been admonished & made out to be partly to blame when in reality they have done nothing wrong & only the carelessness & inattention by other road users cause the actual incident/death/injury.

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anothereye
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby anothereye » 8 Jun 2009, 4:20pm

The following is from the Brighton Argus

Family of dead cyclist place "ghost bike" on A23
9:00am Monday 8th June 2009
By Samuel Underwood »

The family of a French cyclist who died as she rode along the A23 have expressed their anger that their daughter “died for nothing”.
Marie Vesco was involved in an accident as she and a group of friends made their way to a Smash EDO protest in Brighton last June.
But a year after her death, Marie's boyfriend Seb Achaibou, her father Jacques and her mother Dominique have seen their campaign for better signage to improve the safety of cyclists come to nothing.
In a statement they said: “One year has passed and Marie has died for nothing, like an animal squashed on the road, with not a single sanction for any of the responsible parties.
“Today we are very angry as we realise that in this affair, our daughter is the only victim.
“We are seeking justice for Marie – what about her human rights?
“We ask ourselves who will be next. We are angry that nobody cares and nothing has been done to protect us.”
They wanted clearer signage put up along the road to inform cyclists of cycle paths that were available for them to use.
Now, one year later, Marie’s family and friends have placed a white “ghost bike” to mark the spot where Marie was killed.
Speaking to The Argus, they criticised the authorities for not reacting more swiftly to prevent other accidents in the future.
Her parents said: “We are abandoned to grieve the loss of our beautiful child in the life-long knowledge that her death was treated as of no more value than a cat.”
At the inquest into her death, held in February, West Sussex Coroner Penelope Schofield called for an urgent assessment of the signage along the road through a Rule 43 recommendation.
That gives the coroner the power to make a report where they believe action needs to be taken to prevent future deaths.
But despite the coroner highlighting the issue of signage in February, nothing has changed.
Marie was just a week away from her 20th birthday when she died.
Speaking shortly after her death, her family paid tribute to her as “a brilliant pupil”.
They said: “Her intellectual ability did not prevent her from dreaming and hoping for a better world.
“She was an idealist who wanted to change the world, by raising awareness about and fighting against injustices such as conflicts, poverty and wasting resources.”
A Highways Agency spokesman said its plans to improve the cycle path network across Sussex had started two years ago and were ongoing.
He said: “The Highways Agency takes safety of all road users very seriously and since 2007 we have been working with our stakeholders on plans to improve cycle routes across Sussex, including national cycle route 20.
“We have co-operated fully with the police during their investigation and the ensuing coroners inquest following this tragic incident.”


http://www.theargus.co.uk/search/4424552.Family_of_dead_cyclist_place__ghost_bike__on_A23/
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MarkC
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby MarkC » 8 Jun 2009, 7:48pm

Such a tragedy. The inaction is scandalous.

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anothereye
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby anothereye » 9 Jun 2009, 8:55pm

More coverage:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/sussex/8089861.stm
It was worth the effort in contacting the press.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Jun 2009, 9:18pm

Ratatouille wrote:... So how does one maximise one's safety at an awkward slip road? My view is that motorists must, of course, be aware of cyclists ahead and be prepared to drop speed and exit the road behind the cyclists, not in front of them. What is the best strategy for the cyclist?


There is quite a big bit on this in Cyclecraft. (It's on pp 111 - 112 in my 1997 edition.) Basically, JF recommends ignoring the road markings and taking a straight line across the slip road to get to the nearside edge - although he obviously explains it in considerably more detail and better than I have.

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anothereye
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby anothereye » 9 Jun 2009, 10:29pm

thirdcrank wrote:
Ratatouille wrote:... So how does one maximise one's safety at an awkward slip road? My view is that motorists must, of course, be aware of cyclists ahead and be prepared to drop speed and exit the road behind the cyclists, not in front of them. What is the best strategy for the cyclist?


There is quite a big bit on this in Cyclecraft. (It's on pp 111 - 112 in my 1997 edition.) Basically, JF recommends ignoring the road markings and taking a straight line across the slip road to get to the nearside edge - although he obviously explains it in considerably more detail and better than I have.


Crank, do you have a link for cyclecraft?
Nevertheless; where Marie died was an off-slip rather than a slip road (much more difficult to negotiate). attached is a comparison (Marie died at the Hickstead junction: the broken lines change at about 650 metres before the lane bears left).
By the way; the police filmed Marie, and the group that she was with, only minutes before she died (at the previous junctions they did exactly as Cyclecraft suggest; I've seen the footage). We have made a compliant to the effect that the police did not advise the cyclists that there was a nearby cycle-route.

Gerry

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thirdcrank
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Jun 2009, 10:38pm

http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/

That just describes the book and how to buy it. I don't think there's a way of reading the actual text on-line - you have to buy (or beg/ borrow ) the book.

My post about what JF says was intended as a general response to Ratatouille's query. As you know, I followed your original thread about this quite closely and I'm not trying to revisit that here. (I did waver for some time over whether replying in this way to ratat might go off thread, but I decided that on balance, publicising JF's advice was preferable, in that if he is right, other collisions might be prevented.)

stoobs
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby stoobs » 9 Jun 2009, 10:59pm

I've never thought that the problem-solving skills of the authorities are worth a tinker's cuss. The A23 here is clearly just a dual-carriageway, and it's open to cyclists, so the road should be designed as such. There is a huge (long) slip lane here, presumably to take the infrequent crowds at Hickstead. If the Highways Agency had not built such an awful road layout, assuming that cyclists would take another route, this would not have happened. Also, it's the drivers' responsibility. They could always have gone on to the next junction and come back, but no, the courts make another duff decision. And frankly, that slip is so long that you'd have to be really inattentive to hit a cyclist here. I suppose that people in the law profession are good with words and laws, but I doubt their ability to solve real-world problems.

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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Jun 2009, 11:06pm

stoobs wrote: ... If the Highways Agency had not built such an awful road layout, assuming that cyclists would take another route, ...


As far as I'm aware the Highway Agencies line, which was peddled in a government publication about promoting cycling ( with a forward from the last minister but seventeen responsible for ditto) is that there is no place for cycling on the primary road network. (Quoting from memory but it's not far out.) Bearing in mind that the Highways Agency is the miltary wing of the Ministry of Transport, this should come as no surprise to anybody.

stoobs
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby stoobs » 9 Jun 2009, 11:28pm

thirdcrank wrote:
stoobs wrote: ... If the Highways Agency had not built such an awful road layout, assuming that cyclists would take another route, ...


As far as I'm aware the Highway Agencies line, which was peddled in a government publication about promoting cycling ( with a forward from the last minister but seventeen responsible for ditto) is that there is no place for cycling on the primary road network. (Quoting from memory but it's not far out.) Bearing in mind that the Highways Agency is the miltary wing of the Ministry of Transport, this should come as no surprise to anybody.


Interesting point, tc. However, how does a quango start making rules which go against the law of the land? Mind you, when I had a go at the Highways Agency about the A27, they told me to ride on the pavement! So, it's official! You can ride on the pavement, because some monkeys at the HA supersede the law and the police! What a bunch of numpties they are.

(Oh yes, I like your correct use of "peddled" as opposed to "pedalled". Perhaps you could instruct the BBC on correct usage :wink: )

thirdcrank
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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Jun 2009, 11:42pm

It was for many years the policy of the Ministry of Transport that it was no part of its role to promote cycling. Somebody with a better memory for the detail than mine will probably know the name of the Sir Humphrey Appleby clone who announced as much to a Transport Select Committee, probably late 1970's. In spite of all the waffle, I don't think that the basic attitudes have changed one teeny weeny bit. In the publication from which I quoted, they were announcing a most generous concession where the HA had decided to condescend to install crossing points for vulnerable road users on a small number of primary routes (AKA trunk roads.) The item began on the lines 'Although there is no place for cycling on the primary road network.....' In this way they managed to put down an anti-cycling marker in a document about promoting cycling. Incidentally, a few months later they reneged on the plan to install the crossings. Around here there are several places on, for example the A1, where pedestrians cross protected only by signs saying 'PEDESTRIANS CROSSING' Come the revolution, I'll be in charge of a tumbrel....

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Re: Ghost bike for Marie Vesco

Postby 661-Pete-oldversion » 10 Jun 2009, 8:59am

anothereye wrote:Nevertheless; where Marie died was an off-slip rather than a slip road (much more difficult to negotiate).
The point precisely, and something I didn't fully think through :oops:. (I do have Cyclecraft though I don't have my copy ready to hand at the moment).

The real danger for cyclists is when they want to continue on the D/C rather than take the slip road. An entry slip road is usually less of a problem, because vehicles are entering the D/C at moderate speed and prepared to give way or even stop. And the technique of, in exceptional cases, carefully cutting across the slip road at right angles, will usually work.

It's the exit slip road which is the real peril, because - especially when it is long and straight - motorists are liable to take it at speed, only braking as they finally approach the roundabout some distance ahead. And often without indicating. And a cyclist does not really want to be deflected from his or her straight course continuing along the D/C, so paths intersect. I suppose the best option is to divert along the slip road, then stop, look right and wait till no-one is approaching, then cross it from left to right at right-angles and continue along the D/C. But this loses time.

Perhaps an improvement would be to have far more sharply-curved exit slip-roads forcing vehicles to drop speed considerably. Indeed something I have seen lots of times on autoroutes in France (normal speed limit 130 Km/h): cars taking the slip road are faced with staged mandatory speed limits of 90 Km/h dropping to 70 Km/h and then 50 Km/h (about 31mph) at the point where the road curves off the motorway. And the steepness of the bend justifies it! Of course these roads don't have cyclists, but the same design could be applied to D/Cs which do permit cyclists.

I do not want to see all our D/Cs become, like motorways, prohibited roads for cyclists.
Last edited by 661-Pete-oldversion on 10 Jun 2009, 9:07am, edited 1 time in total.