Horror as cyclist plunges to death at Dales accident blackspot

The scene at Dibbles Bridge after the accident. Picture: Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association
The scene at Dibbles Bridge after the accident. Picture: Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association
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A CYCLIST has died after plunging 15 metres into a stream at one of Yorkshire’s most notorious accident blackspots.

The 41 year-old man was cycling on the B6265 in the Yorkshire Dales when his bike hit Dibbles Bridge and threw him over the parapet into the stream below, police said.

He was heading towards Grassington from the direction of Pateley Bridge at the time of the accident, which happened at the scene of one of Britain’s worst road accidents when 33 people died after a coach’s brakes failed and it plunged off the road and overturned in the air more than 40 years ago.

The latest accident took place on Sunday morning, and some 15 members of Grassington’s Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance attended the scene.

A spokesman for the fell rescue organisation said: “Sadly, the cyclist had sustained fatal injuries and the team was stood down while the police accident investigation took place.

“The team, many of whom are active cyclists, would like to offer their sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.”

The accident came a year after another cyclist, James Nelson, 32, from Skipton, died at the same spot. His body was found next to the stream under the bridge.

An inquest heard the ‘keen, well-liked’ cyclist died after his bike hit a bridge parapet and he fell almost 35 feet.

He was out alone on an evening training ride last August when he braked and the wheels on his cycle locked as he reached Dibbles Bridge.

His body was found the following morning by two female Environment Agency workers who were conducting a survey of the river Dibb. A post-mortem examination later concluded he had died from multiple injuries to his head and chest. The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Dibbles Bridge is notorious as the scene of a horror coach crash 40 years ago, in which 33 people were killed.

A group of pensioners had been picked up in May 1975 from Thornaby-on-Tees for a mystery outing that took them first to Ripon and Knaresborough before they headed to Grassington.

But the brakes on their coach rapidly overheated as it ran down the half-mile long one-in-six hill, crashed through a steel safety barrier, hit the parapet of Dibbles Bridge, and plunged 15ft.

The coach turned over in the air and came down on its fibreglass roof in the garden of a cottage.

As it hit the ground the aluminium sides of the coach buckled and the nearside was completely crushed.

Emergency crews found the dead and injured in a small space in the wreckage.

Fourteen people survived the crash, and it took weeks for experts, including a Department of Transport vehicle examiner, to confirm what the driver had already told witnesses as he lay dying, that brake failure had caused the tragedy.

Fifty years earlier, on June 10, 1925, Dibbles Bridge was the scene of an almost identical accident when the brakes failed on a coach carrying members of the York Municipal Officers Guild, and it crashed through the parapet and overturned, killing seven people and injuring 14.

The latest accident at the blackspot happened on Sunday morning, at about 8.30am, and police are appealing for witnesses.

North Yorkshire police said: “Police are appealing for witnesses after a fatal road traffic collision on B6265 Dibbles Bridge, between Grassington and Pateley Bridge.

“The collision occurred when a pedal cycle heading towards Grassington, from the direction of Pateley Bridge, collided with the bridge throwing the rider over the bridge into the stream below.

“The rider of the pedal cycle, a 41 year old man, received fatal injuries.”

Anyone with information about the tragedy is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101.