Death of 'experienced' Hornsey GP Dr Clive Richards still unexplained

Circumstances around death of 'experienced' cyclist unclear

Circumstances around death of 'experienced' cyclist unclear

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The circumstances surrounding the death of an “experienced” cyclist and “extremely popular” doctor remain unclear following an inquest.

Dr Clive Richards, of Friars Avenue, Whetstone, was killed after falling from his bike in Archway Road, near Highgate tube station, in August 2013.

The 67-year-old, who worked as a GP at The Rise Group Practice, in Hornsey, was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

It was initially suspected that he had fallen after being hit by a lorry driven by Dharminder Singh, who had left Leicester at 7am that morning.

Mr Singh, who has driven commercial vehicles for around six years, said he was not aware of any impact and did not think he had hit Dr Richards.

Giving evidence at the inquest at north London Coroner’s Court on Monday afternoon, Mr Singh denied seeing Dr Richards before checking his mirror and seeing a cyclist on the ground behind his vehicle.

CCTV footage of Dr Richard’s fall appeared to show the lorry steering to the right moments after the accident.

When asked why he might have moved to the right if not to give the cyclist a wider berth, Mr Singh said he did not wish to respond to the question.

There was confusion over the speed at which the doctor, who was wearing high-visibility clothing and a bicycle helmet, was travelling.

PC Donald McAlpine, leading the investigation, said that the bike was found in a gear that suggested a speed of around 25 miles per hour, roughly equivalent to the lorry’s speed.

However, eyewitnesses say that the cyclist was travelling at approximately five miles per hour.

Erwin Mannanquil and his wife, Maria Mannanquil,  were travelling in a car around five meters behind the lorry when they saw a cyclist “wobbling” at the side of the larger vehicle.

Mr Mannanquil said he “wasn’t sure” whether the lorry and the bike had collided, but agreed that the cyclist’s apparent instability was caused by the proximity of the lorry.

Mrs Mannanquil, who was in the passenger seat of the car, said she saw Dr Richards move towards the lorry, possibly to avoid some parked cars on his left-hand side.

She said: “It was obvious that there was going to be a collision, I closed my eyes and I don’t remember seeing the impact between the two vehicles.”

She added:  “In my mind I was thinking ‘they are so close’, and the next thing he was on the floor”.

PC Donald McAlpine said there was no more CCTV footage available that make clear whether whether the lorry driver might have seen Dr Richards up ahead.

He added that it was not clear whether the driver of the lorry would have been able to see Dr Richards while the cyclist was alongside him, as this depended on the cyclist’s position on the bicycle.

Mr McAlpine described the CCTV footage as showing a “sudden drop” when Dr Richards fell from his bike.

He said at the estimated speeds of both vehicles, it was not “a question of the lorry passing him but drawing up on him”, adding that it was “unlikely” the cyclist was unaware of the lorry.

However, the CCTV footage did not give “sufficient evidence” to place the vehicles in relation to each other.

The coroner, Mr John Taylor, recording a narrative verdict, said that although Dr Richards had been struck by the lorry and suffered "fatal head injuries", it was unclear whether the lorry had caused him to fall or not.

He said: “It’s not possible, on the evidence available, to say whether the fall was caused by a collision between him (or his bicycle) and the lorry, or whether it could have been avoided by either Dr Richards, or the lorry driver, or both."

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