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The death of British endurance rider Mike Hall at the 2017 Indian Pacific Wheel Race was ruled “avoidable,” but could become a catalyst for safety improvements, a Canberra coroner stated in a report Thursday. Hall was struck by a car at 6:20 am, just south of Canberra, on March 31, 2017.
According to the Canberra Times, coroner Bernadette Boss said Hall’s death occurred “almost instantaneously” as a result of multiple serious injuries. She said Hall had been wearing dark clothing at the time and the driver reported he had not seen Hall before the collision. According to her report, police did not follow normal procedures for collecting evidence when dealing with Hall’s clothing, meaning the reflective nature of his clothing was unable to be properly assessed.
The driver of the car, Shegu Bobb, was not charged with any offenses in relation to Hall’s death. Boss said that while Bobb might have been negligent, there was not reasonable grounds to suggest he face any charges.
Boss stated that the section of road where Hall died was unsuitable for cycling, particularly at night, and that his bike light might have been indistinguishable from roadside signs. The inquest heard evidence from a number of motorists who had passed Hall before the collision and described him as difficult to see.
Boss made a number of recommendations, including that the intersection should be subject to a review, and that speed limits at major intersections along that stretch of highway be assessed. She also recommended that Australia’s Capital Territory (ACT) amend legislation to require cyclists to use a flashing rear light when riding in low light conditions on rural roads.
You can read the full coroner’s report here.