Coroner calls for safety improvements after cyclist dies on A23

A CORONER has demanded improvements are made to cycle lanes near the A23 after a 19-year-old cyclist died in a collision near Burgess Hill.

Marie Vesco was travelling with friends from London to Brighton to take part in a protest against a weapons parts manufacturer.

The French student was one week away from her 20th birthday when she died on the roadside at Hickstead on June 4 last year.

An inquest into Miss Vesco's death, held at Haywards Heath Magistrates Court, was told the student died after a car collided with her on the southbound carriageway.

During the inquest, cyclists who were with Miss Vesco at the time said cycle paths were not clear from London to Brighton and they took the legal route of the A23 not knowing how busy it was.

A representative from the Highways Agency admitted they knew signs for the London to Brighton cycle paths needed to be clearer and plans to update the route began in 2007 but the work had not started.

West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield said: "This has given me a great deal of concern about cyclists' safety on the A23 and the updating of clear signs is crucial.

"I am going to ask the Highways Agency to give immediate effect to the improvements suggested in their report to prevent any further such tragedies."

A post mortem held at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, showed that Miss Vesco had sustained multiple injuries.

Coroner Penelope Schofield recorded a narrative verdict and told the inquest: "Marie was in collision with a Ford Galaxy whilst on the A23. This caused her to fall to the ground and she was then struck by a Ford Mondeo and sustained fatal injuries. Either single or jointly Marie and Mrs Sweetman misjudged the others' intending paths."

Read the full story in the Mid Sussex Times