The Coroner of the ACT Australian Capital Territory) Magistrates Court, Bernadette Boss, has published her report on the inquest into Mike Hall’s death. The endurance cyclist and Singletrack Legend award winner was killed early in the morning of the final stage of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race in March 2017.
Bicycling Australia has published the report in full. It includes the finding that Mike’s injuries would have resulted in almost instant death, and concludes:
“Mr Hall’s death was avoidable, which makes the loss of this remarkable person even more keenly felt by his family and the community. It is unfortunate that the investigation into his death has been to some degree compromised by the loss of significant evidence in the form of his clothing and bicycle accoutrements. There is, however, sufficient evidence for his death to be the catalyst for changes that will enhance rider safety into the future.”
The lost evidence mentioned refers to the fact that the police did not retain various items of clothing and equipment belonging to Mike. There is a lengthy examination of how visible Mike would have been to a driver, and it is suggested that his rear light might have been confused with reflective markers on the side of the road. The coroner makes a number of recommendations aimed at improving rider safety, including one that flashing rear lights should be compulsory to avoid potential confusion with road furniture:
(a) The ACT Government should conduct a review of the intersection of the Monaro Highway and Williamsdale Road to evaluate risk to road users, and a reassessment of funding priority in accordance with the review’s findings.
(b) The ACT Government should define a clear outline of what constitutes a major intersection on the ACT portion of the Monaro Highway.
(c) The ACT Government should give consideration to the speed limits that should apply to major intersections along the ACT section of the Monaro Highway.
(d) Standards Australia should conduct a review of AS3562-1990 relating to bicycle lighting, and the Standard be either updated or replaced.
(e) The ACT Government should amend its relevant legislation to require a flashing rear light when riding a bicycle in low light conditions on rural roads. However, I also commend this recommendation to all Australian State and Territory Governments, for consideration of changes to the Australian Road Rules.
(f) The ACT Government should amend its relevant legislation to clarify whether bicycles require a wholly separate reflector to be on the back of the bicycle, or whether the reflector may be integrated into the rear light. However, I also commend this recommendation to all Australian State and Territory Governments, for consideration of changes to the Australian Road Rules.
Mike’s death shocked us all, and led to the call to ‘Be More Mike’, with many rides being done in his memory. Hannah joined Mike’s friends for Mike’s last journey, where people were invited to dot watch #MikesLastDot as Mike’s ashes were carried from Yorkshire to Wales. You can read Hannah’s take on what Mike’s legacy meant to her here.