Fatal cyclist Kadian Harding 'had brake concerns'

Kadian Harding
Image caption Kadian Harding died after his bike was involved in a collision with a van

A cyclist killed in a road accident had taken his bicycle for repairs hours before he died because of concerns over the brakes, an inquest has heard.

Kadian Harding, 14, suffered fatal injuries in a collision with a Mercedes Van on 25 July in Wiltshire.

He was riding down a steep path with his family when he was unable to stop as he approached the A4.

Kadian had been to the repair shop to have the brakes checked on the self-assembled bike hours before the crash.

His father, Thomas Harding, told the hearing in Salisbury he had wanted the bike to be cleared for use on roads.

"We were always clear with him that the bike would have to be checked by a professional bike mechanic before it was deemed roadworthy," he said.

"It was always his intention to get it checked."

Mr Harding said Kadian had taken the bicycle to one bike shop near his home in Steep, Hampshire, on at least two occasions and again to a different shop on the day he died.

'Safe to ride'

He told the inquest that two days before his son died, his brakes were "functioning" but "not optimal".

On the morning of his son's death, Mr Harding said, he told Kadian to get them checked by a professional. The brakes were checked and a cable was replaced, he added.

Mr Harding was riding behind his son before the fatal collision and told the inquest it made "no sense" that he would not stop because there was "plenty of time".

After the collision he went to his son's side. "It was 100% clear to me that he was immediately dead," he said.

He estimated Kadian's speed was between 25mph and 30mph as he travelled down the slope.

'Gears check'

Owen Pattinson, owner of Owens Cycles in Hampshire, the first cycle shop Kadian took his bike to, told the hearing Kadian had visited his shop on at least two occasions with the bike and may well have come in for a third time.

Asked about the last time Kadian came in, Mr Pattinson said he was asked to check the gears and not the brakes.

"The last thing I said (to him) was 'You need to finish the bike by doing the brakes'," he said.

Mr Pattinson said had he been asked to check the whole of the bike he would have booked it in to his workshop and the job would have taken a few days.

Philip Birkett, who owns the Acceler8 cycle shop in Marlborough, which Kadian visited on the day of his death, told the inquest the teenager asked him to look at the gears and the rear brakes.

Mr Birkett said Kadian had not mentioned anything about the brakes in general.

"Nothing at all. If that had been mentioned I would have suggested that the bike stay for longer."

He said he adjusted the gears because they were "ticking" and replaced a rear brake cable and reset the rear brakes.

"I stand by my work and everything I did was correct. When that bike left the shop it was in a perfectly safe condition," he said.

Ian White, driver of the Mercedes van in collision with Kadian, told the inquest he heard a "whack" but had not realised what had happened.

"I didn't have a clue what it was until I brought the van to a stop," said Mr White.

The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.

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