British endurance cyclist ‘died instantly’

Image copyright Gene Kehoe Image caption Mike Hall was fatally struck by a car during a road race in Australia

Briton Mike Hall, one of the world’s best ultra-endurance cyclists, died nearly instantaneously when he was hit by a car during a race in Australia last year, an inquest has heard.

Mr Hall, 35, had been competing in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race when he was hit on a highway near Canberra.

An inquest has heard evidence that it was dark at the time and would have been hard for a motorist to see.

Driver Shegu Bobb, 19, thought he had made a kangaroo, the hearing was told.

Mr Hall, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, suffered major head, spinal and abdominal traumata, the Coroner’s Court in the Australian Capital Territory heard.

He had been in second place when he was hit by Mr Bobb’s car at 06.22 local period on 31 March last year. The vehicle was travelling at 100 km/ h( 62 mph ).

The coast-to-coast race – in which cyclists ride a 5,500 km( 3,400 miles) road from Fremantle to Sydney – was known for its difficulty, the inquest heard.

Image copyright EPA Image caption A tribute to Mike Hall at the site of the accident

Counsel assisting the inquest, Ken Archer, described the event as a “Hunger Games on wheels”, with some riders completing up to 400 km a day and sleeping only four hours a night.

He said Mr Hall had been wearing dark clothing with little reflective material at the time of the collision.

However, the inquest was also played documentary footage of Mr Hall racing at night in which he was visible.

Cycling community shock

Mr Bobb was on his style to work at the time of the accident.

Police told the court that he had been confused by a parked truck as he turned on to the highway, and had no time to avoid the collision.

No charges have been laid against Mr Bobb. He had suffered significant distress and shock after the accident, the inquest heard.

The cyclist’s death shocked the sport and inspired memorial rides in Australia and the UK. It also led to the cancellation of this year’s Indian Pacific Wheel Race.

Hall won the 2012 World Cycle Race and had been living in Monmouthshire, South Wales.

His family has travelled to Australia to attend the inquest, which concludes on Thursday.

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