NCR20 audit in memory of Marie Vesco


Well-Known Member
North London
Marie Vesco (a student from France) was killed on 4/06/08 whilst cycling to Brighton with a group of friends.
Unfortunately the one member of the group who knew the route broke down along the way so the remainder followed the signs to Brighton which led them to the busy A23 South of Crawley at the point where the M23 ends. The road is just like a motor-way but without the hard shoulder. Cyclists have a right to use this road. A driver exiting the road decided to overtake Marie on the off-slip and touched her handle-bars causing her to fall. The driver less than 1.2 seconds behind the first killed her almost immediately. Neither drivers were prosecuted! (I do not think that the police investigation was thorough).

The National Cycle Route 20 runs parallel to the A23 South of Crawley to Brighton but 2 years ago you would have needed a specialist map in order to find it. At the inquest the coroner instructed the Highways Agency to improve the signage for cyclists. They had plans on the drawing board but were still "discussing" them. At my recommendation they have also installed additional signs so that if cyclists get lost in Crawley (still likely, as the signs in Crawley need improvements) they are re-directed before joining the "dangerous" trunk road.

To mark the second anniversary of this tragedy a group of friends accompanied Marie's parents and brother on a cycle ride to Brighton:

To remember Marie.
To model best practice (sharing the road).
To audit the two NCR's (National Cycle Route). From this we celebrate the improvements that have been made and comment on improvements that are still needed. We will be sending a copy of our findings to the Highways Agency and Sustrans.

I've posted a storyboard on Flickr (18 pictures with captions, partly a mini-audit, partly a memorial):

The Cycling Lawyer: barrister Martin Porter; his comments more learned than mine (he also reprinted our press release here). His blog:

Press Response:
bbc "sussex breakfast" (sorry, link no longer valid).

We did not have time to do a thorough audit so I'll be visiting the route (between Redhill and Brighton) on a number of day trips this summer. If anyone in the area would like to meet up, even for a few hours, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
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