Family of cyclist killed in circuit racing accident to sue after accidental death verdict


The family of a cyclist who died in a high-speed crash at the end of a circuit race in Portsmouth said they would take legal action over what they consider dangerous conditions which have led to his death.

Richard Phillips-Schofield died on March 11, 2014, two days after sustaining serious head and chest injuries at the end of a race on the Mountbatten track in Portsmouth.

A jury inquest at Portsmouth Coroner’s Court returned a verdict of accidental death on Monday February 12, concluding that “Richard died of injuries sustained as a result of high speed contact with an inflexible object after falling from his cycle”.

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However, this verdict did not satisfy the Phillips-Schofield family, Richard’s father Frederick saying questions still needed to be answered as to why the race was allowed to take place in the first place.

“It has been a traumatic experience for the whole family and although we have some answers, there really isn’t a feeling of closure,” said Mr Phillips-Schofield. Portsmouth News.

“The barriers played an important role in Richard’s death and in our opinion were clearly dangerous and we believe the event should never have happened. We are upset that British Cycling did not express its condolences at the time of Richard’s death. “

The investigation had previously learned how the 33-year-old was competing in a 60-lap outdoor track race with around 45 cyclists, with the crash taking place on the last lap of the race.

“Someone in front of me got stuck against the barriers or braked because someone moved in front of them, they fell very quickly and others fell,” Thomas Morris told the inquest, another runner participating in the race.

“I got over my handlebars to someone else. There was no swerving or braking, it’s straight. I saw immediately that it was serious.”

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In the months following Phillips-Schofield’s death, British Cycling introduced new safety measures and installed new fences on the Mountbatton track, as well as other outdoor tracks in Brighton and Carmarthen.

However, Mr Phillips-Schofield said this was just further evidence of insufficient efforts to prevent his son’s death.

“It is telling that since Richard’s tragic death, late as it is, the dangerous barriers on all three closed-circuit tracks have been replaced.

“While this required the preventable death of my son before any action was taken, I hope it means other families don’t have to go through what we’ve been through.”

Mr Phillips-Schofield also paid tribute to his son following the conclusion of the investigation, describing him as “a loving son, brother and partner … who passed away at such a young age and in such tragic circumstances in playing the sport he loved “and also thanked friends and family for the support they offered during the investigation.


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