Conisbro’ Cyclist’s Sudden Swerve – Driver “Had No Opportunitv of Avoiding Him”

December 1951

South Yorkshire Times, December 1, 1951

Conisbro’ Cyclist’s Sudden Swerve

Driver “Had No Opportunitv of Avoiding Him”

At a Doncaster Inquest on Wednesday a Jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death” on a 15-year-old Conisbrough cyclist, Brian Wilkinson, 41, Highfields Road, an apprentice plumber employed by the N.C.B. in the property repairs department, Glassworks Buildings, Denaby.

Wilkinson died in Doncaster Royal infirmary following an accident in Doncaster Road, Conisbrough.

His father, Edward Wilkinson, a miner, said that Brian had left home to return to his work at about 12.30 p.m., last Wednesday. He had been given a new cycle for his birthday, but had borrowed his brothers, which had dynamo lighting. It was, however the same type of machine as his own.

An insurance agent, Robert Linstead, of 39, Spring Grove, Chapel Lane, Conisbrough, said he was waiting at a bus stop near the Star Hotel, Conisbrough, when he saw a British Road Services lorry pass, going from Doncaster towards Rotherham, and about 20 yards behind it, a cyclist. He did not see the lorry and cycle after they had passed until he heard a crash, when the turned to see the cyclist “seemingly fall off the radiator of a car.” The accident happened about 100 yards from Conisbrough crossroad, where Clifton Hill and Marshall’s Hill joined the main Doncaster-Sheffield Road.

Linstead ran to give help, and saw the boy was seriously injured. He helped the driver of the car to carry the boy to the side of the road, and arranged for him to be taken to hospital. The boy died here early next morning.

Linstead said the car seemed to top almost immediately.

“Cycle in the Air”

Two 17-year-old Conisbrough farm workers, Maureen Colley, of 16, Lewes Road and Olive Goodband, of 55, Daylands Avenue, said they were cycling along Sheffield Road towards Doncaster, and intended turning up Clifton Hill. Maureen, in front, looked round to see if my thing was overtaking them before turning right, and heard her companion say that a boy had had an accident in front. She looked round again to see “the cycle in the air, and the boy fall on to roof of the car and then on to the middle of the road.” The car was on its correct side of the road, she said.

Olive said the car had overtaken them and that when she first saw the cyclist he was also on his correct side.

The boy was riding straight along the road until, when he came to the Conisbrough Motor Company Garage, he suddenly swerved across and Olive said she did not see him give any signal. “I thought he was looking to his left at the garage clock,” she said. “He turned very suddenly. I thought he had lost control        She could see there going to be an accident, and did not think the driver of the car could avoided one, because of the sudden swerve.

P.c. K Burwell said that a brake mark left by the car was 12 feet long, and turned inwards to the left kerb.

The boy was thrown into the centre of the road.

The car’s windscreen and headlamps were smashed, there were bad dents on the bonnet and wings, and the cycle was badly buckled. Brakes of both the car and the cycle appeared to be in good order.

Car Driver’s Evidence

The driver of the car was Denis Maxwell Anderson, a technical representative, of 467, Herringthorpe Valley Road, Rotherham said the cyclist was riding on his own side of the road, nearer to the white line than the kerb. He gave no signal of any kind, and Anderson said he thought he was riding straight on. “I had no suspicion that he was intending to turn across the road,” he said, “until, without warning, he swerved right across into my car.” He was five yards away from the car when he commenced to swerve.

Anderson said he was taken by surprise, though he thought at first that the swerve had been to the right as a preliminary towards turning left up Clifton Hill. Anderson said he applied his foot brake, and pulled the car round to the left when the cycle hit just in front of the offside door. The windscreen smashed, and Anderson said his vision was obscured for some seconds, so that he did not know where the cyclist fell, or how, and was not able to see where his car was pulling up.

Mr. W. H. Carlile, Doncaster’ District Coroner, summing up, said that the evidence had been given very well. Everything that had been said had been borne out in the evidence of other witnesses and by damage to car and bicycle and the marks on the road. “The driver appears to have been going at a reasonable speed,” he said, on his proper side of the road. For some reason which we don’t know, the boy was not looking where he was going, and whatever happened, he certainly must have gone at a sharp angle across the road, and straight into the car, whose driver had no opportunity of avoiding him.