A driver who killed a woman while speeding at 49mph in a 30mph zone will not be prosecuted after the wrong speed limit sign was used.
A driver who killed a cyclist on a pedestrian crossing as he sped at almost 20mph above the limit will not be prosecuted because an “unofficial” speed sign was used, an inquest was told.
The 40-year-old motorist had been accelerating up to 49mph in the 30mph zone when his Seat TDI hit the 44-year-old cyclist as she wheeled her bike over a pedestrian crossing.
The cyclist died after the accident but the driver of the vehicle cannot be charged after it emerged a red unofficial speed limit sign had been used.
Lawyers argued that the driver, who could have been jailed for up to 14 years if he was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, would not have been aware he had to legally slow down because of sign used. Speed signs in the UK are white circles, ringed with red, with the limit written in black bold numbers. They also said the unofficial sign had been “incorrectly placed” on a slip road, making it unlikely he would have seen it.
The cyclist from Manchester, was a planning technician but had recently completed a college course and was in the process of setting up her web design business. Her partner told Manchester Coroner’s Court that she was a “keen cyclist” and always cycled with a helmet.
The accident took place on August 3 last year as the cyclist was on a slip road heading from Princess Road in Manchester onto the Mancunian Way.
The driver of the vehicle told the inquest:
“I could see the pedal cyclist under the bridge going the same direction as me. It was just a glance. The traffic lights were green so I accelerated.”
“I heard something hit the car and thought it had come from above. I immediately stopped in the middle of the road and looked to my left and saw someone in the road. I ran to the person, confused.”
“I did not notice the red sign. It was saying 30mph on the roundabout but on the way to the motorway I thought it was 50. I don’t think that sign was very visible.”
The driver was initially arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving but following a consultation by the Crown Prosecution Service it was decided no further action would be taken against him as there was no prospect of a conviction. He was not represented during the hearing.
Manchester Assistant coroner Fiona Borrill said she would be writing to the city council to find out when the correct sign will be in place.
The cyclist’s family may be considering taking civil action against the driver concerned following the inquest.