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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
Gritting call before bike deaths
Pictured clockwise: Thomas Harland, Wayne Wilkes, Maurice Broadbent and Dave Horrocks
Pictured clockwise: Thomas Harland, Wayne Wilkes, Maurice Broadbent and Dave Horrocks
An inquest into the deaths of four cycling club members has heard police told Conwy Council roads needed gritting just hours before the tragedy.

Thomas Harland, 14, Maurice Broadbent, 61, Dave Horrocks, 55, and Wayne Wilkes, 42, were killed when a car skidded on ice near Abergele, Conwy.

The inquest in Abergele heard police expected the council to review road conditions after the request.

A driver was later fined and given six points for having defective tyres.

The four cyclists, who were members of the Rhyl Cycling Club, had been on the A547 not far from the start of a 60-mile (97km) Sunday club ride to Llandudno's Great Orme on 8 January, 2006.

At about 1000 GMT, motorist Robert Harris, 47, from Abergele, who was driving in the opposite direction, skidded on black ice and ploughed into the group.

Police examine the scene of the crash near Abergele
Police had requested the road be gritted that morning, the inquest heard

In August 2006, Harris was fined 180 with 35 costs and given six points on his licence after admitting having defective tyres.

Magistrates in Llandudno decided the defective tyres had not been a factor in the collision, which happened on a road which had not been gritted that morning.

On Friday, the inquest jury heard the North Wales Police control room had informed Conwy Council's highways department that roads needed gritting.

It followed a motorist complaining of skidding on a bridge in the Towyn area just after 0800 GMT.

Inspector Jane Banham told the hearing that she expected the council to review the state of all roads in the area following that call.

Highway departments

She added that an officer asked her a short time later for parts of the A547 near the fatal crash scene to also be gritted due to problems with ice.

However, she told the inquest, she did not contact Conwy Council with that specific request.

Inspector Banham, who was in charge of the central control room that day, said the police had no formal duty to inform highways departments of problems with icy roads, although there was an expectation that they would do so.

A system for contacting the various highways departments was in place, the inquest heard.

The jury have previously heard how the car which struck and killed four cycling club members may have been travelling at between 60mph and 70mph.

The inquest, expected to last about a month, is continuing.


SEE ALSO
Drivers describe cycle death road
05 Jun 07 |  North East Wales
Compensation for cyclists' deaths
05 Apr 07 |  North East Wales
Four cyclists killed in car crash
08 Jan 06 |  North West Wales

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