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Boscombe cyclist's death a tragic accident

The Bournemouth Daily Echo: Boscombe cyclist's death a tragic accident

7:00pm Tuesday 2nd March 2010

By Stephen Bailey

A CYCLIST freewheeled downhill at up to 30mph and died when he collided with a pedestrian, an inquest heard.

Kevin Watts, 54, who was not wearing a helmet, went over his handlebars and witnesses saw him land on his head in front of Boscombe Pier.

He died from injuries including extensive skull fractures and multiple rib fractures.

Bournemouth Coroners Court heard yesterday that Mr Watts had been warned several times by seafront staff about how fast he cycled.

Joseph Graff, an undercliff barrier attendant, said in a statement: “I myself had said that if he keeps riding like that he will hurt himself or someone else.”

Mr Watts was cycling down Sea Road from his home in Westby Road, Boscombe, at around 9.30am on July 25 to swim with retired people on the beach.

He overtook a van and then struck pedestrian Robert Courtis, a visiting actor, who was crossing to the roundabout island checking the road was clear.

Mr Courtis said: “I just heard ‘hey, hey hey’ and I turned around and almost instantly the cyclist hit me.”

Witness Andrew Barratt said: “It was my impression the cyclist flew through the air for about 10 feet and he appeared to be going head first.”

Mr Watts, unemployed, was helped at the scene by a passing doctor from London’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital but died the same day.

PC Clifton Beard, an accident investigator, told the inquest the pedestrian would have been visible in the carriageway for 7.45 seconds before the accident.

He said a van in front of the bicycle may have briefly blocked the line of sight between Mr Courtis and Mr Watts.

Mr Courtis was dazed and suffered a nose bleed and a shoulder injury but did not suffer any serious injuries.

Coroner Sheriff Payne recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said: “Certainly it was his own actions that led to these circumstances and ultimately led to his death.”

Mr Watts’s mother, Kathleen Orrell, from Verwood, said the Claude Butler bike was in “perfect order” when police returned it.