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Inquest can’t unwrap mystery of respected doctor’s death in Highgate bike crash

PUBLISHED: 13:00 24 July 2014

Dr Clive Richards

Dr Clive Richards

Archant

The death of a respected doctor described as “the best dad in the world” has remained a mystery after an inquest failed to reveal how he was knocked off his bike in a crash with a lorry in Highgate.

Dr Clive Richards, 67, died from multiple injuries when his head was hit by the lorry’s back wheel after a fall from his bike in Archway Road on August 5 last year.

Deputy coroner John Taylor told Barnet Coroner’s Court on Monday that there was not enough evidence to determine whether Dr Richards had been knocked off his bike by the lorry and whether the crash could have been avoided.

His son, Peter Richards, said after the inquest that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, should stop encouraging people to ride on the capital’s roads until they are made safer for cyclists.

“He was a lovely man, so gentle,” said Peter, 35, a department store team leader of Burnt Oak. “He was the best dad in the world and my right hand.

“He just had time for everybody and was so well loved.

“I’m a cyclist myself but it annoys me to see a culture that’s encouraging cycling so much.

“London is a terrible place for cyclists. Boris Johnson now needs to act hard if he wants to promote it to make it a safer option.”

The inquest heard that CCTV footage, not played in court, showed the lorry appeared to move to the right towards Dr Richards, who was on his way to work at Hornsey Rise Health Centre in Archway.

However, Pc Donald Macalpine, who investigated the crash, said the quality of the footage was too poor to determine whether this was before or after Dr Richards fell from his bike.

There was no evidence at the scene to show the crash’s cause.

Lorry driver Dharminder Singh told the deputy coroner that he first saw Dr Richards in his mirrors riding alongside his vehicle when the road was wider, about 500 metres before the crash.

Adamant

The next time he looked, he saw that Dr Richards had fallen from his bike and was lying in the road. He stopped almost immediately and called the emergency services. He did not hear or feel the crash and was adamant that he did not hit Dr Richards.

The deputy coroner recorded a narrative verdict and said: “Dr Clive Richards suffered fatal head injuries when the proximity of his bike and the lorry being driven in the same direction became so reduced that it caused him to fall to the road and be struck by the lorry. It has not been possible on the evidence available to see whether the fall was caused by the collision between him, the bicycle and the lorry, or whether it could have been avoided.”

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