Family of dead cyclist place "ghost bike" on A23

The Argus: The ghost bike placed at the side of the A23 The ghost bike placed at the side of the A23

The family of a French cyclist who died as she rode along the A23 have expressed their anger that their daughter “died for nothing”.

Marie Vesco was involved in an accident as she and a group of friends made their way to a Smash EDO protest in Brighton last June.

But a year after her death, Marie's boyfriend Seb Achaibou, her father Jacques and her mother Dominique have seen their campaign for better signage to improve the safety of cyclists come to nothing.

In a statement they said: “One year has passed and Marie has died for nothing, like an animal squashed on the road, with not a single sanction for any of the responsible parties.

“Today we are very angry as we realise that in this affair, our daughter is the only victim.

“We are seeking justice for Marie – what about her human rights?

“We ask ourselves who will be next. We are angry that nobody cares and nothing has been done to protect us.”

They wanted clearer signage put up along the road to inform cyclists of cycle paths that were available for them to use.

Now, one year later, Marie’s family and friends have placed a white “ghost bike” to mark the spot where Marie was killed.

Speaking to The Argus, they criticised the authorities for not reacting more swiftly to prevent other accidents in the future.

Her parents said: “We are abandoned to grieve the loss of our beautiful child in the life-long knowledge that her death was treated as of no more value than a cat.”

At the inquest into her death, held in February, West Sussex Coroner Penelope Schofield called for an urgent assessment of the signage along the road through a Rule 43 recommendation.

That gives the coroner the power to make a report where they believe action needs to be taken to prevent future deaths.

But despite the coroner highlighting the issue of signage in February, nothing has changed.

Marie was just a week away from her 20th birthday when she died.

Speaking shortly after her death, her family paid tribute to her as “a brilliant pupil”.

They said: “Her intellectual ability did not prevent her from dreaming and hoping for a better world.

“She was an idealist who wanted to change the world, by raising awareness about and fighting against injustices such as conflicts, poverty and wasting resources.”

A Highways Agency spokesman said its plans to improve the cycle path network across Sussex had started two years ago and were ongoing.

He said: “The Highways Agency takes safety of all road users very seriously and since 2007 we have been working with our stakeholders on plans to improve cycle routes across Sussex, including national cycle route 20.

“We have co-operated fully with the police during their investigation and the ensuing coroners inquest following this tragic incident.”

Comments (21)

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9:27am Mon 8 Jun 09

pyrococcal says...

Samuel Underwood's cutting and pasting of the various parties' statements neglects to include exactly WHERE on the A23 the accident happened...

"They wanted clearer signage put up along the road to inform cyclists of cycle paths that were available for them to use." - there *is* fairly clear signage re: the National Route 20 cycle lane along most of the A23, so I'm not quite sure what the problem was. As we're all well aware, a large proportion of cyclists ignore roadsigns and designated cycle lanes and ride along wherever they feel like it.
However if a coroner agreed signage was lacking, perhaps there is something in it...
anyone who's ever reported problems with signage to the Council or Sustrans will know that they usually do b*gger all about it though (and that includes when people die - another death trap is on Saddlescomb Road, which Sustrans blithely advertise as "Regional Route 82")

Security word: DEAD-BIKE
Samuel Underwood's cutting and pasting of the various parties' statements neglects to include exactly WHERE on the A23 the accident happened... "They wanted clearer signage put up along the road to inform cyclists of cycle paths that were available for them to use." - there *is* fairly clear signage re: the National Route 20 cycle lane along most of the A23, so I'm not quite sure what the problem was. As we're all well aware, a large proportion of cyclists ignore roadsigns and designated cycle lanes and ride along wherever they feel like it. However if a coroner agreed signage was lacking, perhaps there is something in it... anyone who's ever reported problems with signage to the Council or Sustrans will know that they usually do b*gger all about it though (and that includes when people die - another death trap is on Saddlescomb Road, which Sustrans blithely advertise as "Regional Route 82") Security word: DEAD-BIKE pyrococcal

11:12am Mon 8 Jun 09

Cupra150 says...

This is on the slip road for Burgess Hill heading southbound on the A23. Quite eerie but also distracting the first time you see it.
This is on the slip road for Burgess Hill heading southbound on the A23. Quite eerie but also distracting the first time you see it. Cupra150

12:10pm Mon 8 Jun 09

jo w says...

Plonking that bike there looks like another accident waiting to happen as people try to see what it's all about. The police should remove it asap. Off course the accident was very sad but she chose to cycle down there, it's no-one else's fault!
Plonking that bike there looks like another accident waiting to happen as people try to see what it's all about. The police should remove it asap. Off course the accident was very sad but she chose to cycle down there, it's no-one else's fault! jo w

12:12pm Mon 8 Jun 09

PB says...

The last time I saw a cyclist wobbling dangerously along and getting in the way of the fast moving A23 traffic in the city, the cycle lane had white vans parked along most of its length.
The last time I saw a cyclist wobbling dangerously along and getting in the way of the fast moving A23 traffic in the city, the cycle lane had white vans parked along most of its length. PB

12:35pm Mon 8 Jun 09

pyrococcal says...

PB wrote:
The last time I saw a cyclist wobbling dangerously along and getting in the way of the fast moving A23 traffic in the city, the cycle lane had white vans parked along most of its length.
Dyke Road is the same - the Council & Sustrans boast about the £5 million quid they get for Brighton being a "Cycling Demonstration Town" but as usual all it amounts to is painting a few stupid lines either on the pavement (and letting pedestrians waddle over them) or on the road (and letting motorists park in them)

However the most ludicrous "cycle lane" in brighton is at the southern start of "National Route 20", on East Street, were a 3 foot wide strip of pavement with a GPO junction box on it is designated a "national cycle route" - it's barely wide enough to fit a pedestrian on, never mind share it with bikes.

Security word: BIKE-FAIL
[quote][p][bold]PB[/bold] wrote: The last time I saw a cyclist wobbling dangerously along and getting in the way of the fast moving A23 traffic in the city, the cycle lane had white vans parked along most of its length.[/p][/quote]Dyke Road is the same - the Council & Sustrans boast about the £5 million quid they get for Brighton being a "Cycling Demonstration Town" but as usual all it amounts to is painting a few stupid lines either on the pavement (and letting pedestrians waddle over them) or on the road (and letting motorists park in them) However the most ludicrous "cycle lane" in brighton is at the southern start of "National Route 20", on East Street, were a 3 foot wide strip of pavement with a GPO junction box on it is designated a "national cycle route" - it's barely wide enough to fit a pedestrian on, never mind share it with bikes. Security word: BIKE-FAIL pyrococcal

12:45pm Mon 8 Jun 09

Cherry Pie says...

I really feel for this girl's family and friends, but don't think that distracting other road users is the way to go about making their point. What if this caused another crash?
I really feel for this girl's family and friends, but don't think that distracting other road users is the way to go about making their point. What if this caused another crash? Cherry Pie

12:56pm Mon 8 Jun 09

magic_chimp says...

I agree - this is very distracting and not a very clever place to put this ghost bike. Also not a very clever place to cycle as there is a cycle path running the length of the A23 from Bolney to Brighton. I should know as I've cycled it many times myself.
Common-sense should tell people that cycling on a main road like the A23 is suicide at best and a lot of cyclists don't seem to have any common sense when it comes to where not to cycle. Case in point - driving home on the M23 yesterday morning to see a cyclist pedalling down the hard shoulder of the motorway in driving rain towards Gatwick!! Don't people read, or more importantly take note of the Highway Code anymore?!
I agree - this is very distracting and not a very clever place to put this ghost bike. Also not a very clever place to cycle as there is a cycle path running the length of the A23 from Bolney to Brighton. I should know as I've cycled it many times myself. Common-sense should tell people that cycling on a main road like the A23 is suicide at best and a lot of cyclists don't seem to have any common sense when it comes to where not to cycle. Case in point - driving home on the M23 yesterday morning to see a cyclist pedalling down the hard shoulder of the motorway in driving rain towards Gatwick!! Don't people read, or more importantly take note of the Highway Code anymore?! magic_chimp

3:24pm Mon 8 Jun 09

Brigadier Monty says...

There's a cycle lane the other side of the A23 that is perfectly safe. If they were on the other side next to fast moving cars well that's their fault, a terrible accident, but you are asking for trouble that side of the A23
There's a cycle lane the other side of the A23 that is perfectly safe. If they were on the other side next to fast moving cars well that's their fault, a terrible accident, but you are asking for trouble that side of the A23 Brigadier Monty

3:31pm Mon 8 Jun 09

pyrococcal says...

The coroner claimed the signage was inadequate, so I presume he means it wouldn't have been obvious there was a cycle lane for them to use on the other side?
Or is he talking nonsense, and the cyclists were actually at fault?
The coroner claimed the signage was inadequate, so I presume he means it wouldn't have been obvious there was a cycle lane for them to use on the other side? Or is he talking nonsense, and the cyclists were actually at fault? pyrococcal

6:25pm Mon 8 Jun 09

bibble says...

Cupra150 wrote:
This is on the slip road for Burgess Hill heading southbound on the A23. Quite eerie but also distracting the first time you see it.
Don't say that. The police will remove the bike for "safety reasons".
[quote][p][bold]Cupra150[/bold] wrote: This is on the slip road for Burgess Hill heading southbound on the A23. Quite eerie but also distracting the first time you see it.[/p][/quote]Don't say that. The police will remove the bike for "safety reasons". bibble

8:45pm Mon 8 Jun 09

Hugh Rinall says...

Anyone who rides a bike on the A23 must have a death wish.
Anyone who rides a bike on the A23 must have a death wish. Hugh Rinall

9:17pm Mon 8 Jun 09

Dave At Home says...

In a statement they said: “One year has passed and Marie has died for nothing, like an animal squashed on the road, with not a single sanction for any of the responsible parties."

Like an animal squashed on the road, that's a funny thing to say about your daughter, girlfriend!! Where was she going to? not too many houses around there, she must have come from very far away.
In a statement they said: “One year has passed and Marie has died for nothing, like an animal squashed on the road, with not a single sanction for any of the responsible parties." Like an animal squashed on the road, that's a funny thing to say about your daughter, girlfriend!! Where was she going to? not too many houses around there, she must have come from very far away. Dave At Home

9:38pm Mon 8 Jun 09

mr punch says...

I feel sorry for this girl's family but sticking a 'Ghost Bike'on the road is not a very clever thing to do. The police will remove it look for someone to pay the bill.
I feel sorry for this girl's family but sticking a 'Ghost Bike'on the road is not a very clever thing to do. The police will remove it look for someone to pay the bill. mr punch

7:29am Tue 9 Jun 09

John Steed says...

why worry about an old bike at the side of the road, if the price of metal is right, there are those that do as they likey, and the bike will get recycled at no cost to the public
other cyclists should watch out for missing drain covers
one thing puzzles me though, what were a couple of kermits doing protesting over here, I thought the entant cordiale was that we get stuck somewhere, normally a channel port or motorway by them protesting about something irrelevant to us and in return they do not get involved with our soap dodgers
why worry about an old bike at the side of the road, if the price of metal is right, there are those that do as they likey, and the bike will get recycled at no cost to the public other cyclists should watch out for missing drain covers one thing puzzles me though, what were a couple of kermits doing protesting over here, I thought the entant cordiale was that we get stuck somewhere, normally a channel port or motorway by them protesting about something irrelevant to us and in return they do not get involved with our soap dodgers John Steed

7:54am Tue 9 Jun 09

sussex2 says...

I am disgusted by the comments placed on here. Why is it that the brits always seem to attack those with the least defence. The facts of this collision are unknown, but, a vulnerable road user has been killed. The manner in which pedestrians and cyclists are treated (at long last recognised after EU pressure by the government) is a disgrace.
As for the xenophobic comments, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and imagine perhaps, having to seek to right a wrong in another country yourselves..
An utter disgrace the lot of you.
I am disgusted by the comments placed on here. Why is it that the brits always seem to attack those with the least defence. The facts of this collision are unknown, but, a vulnerable road user has been killed. The manner in which pedestrians and cyclists are treated (at long last recognised after EU pressure by the government) is a disgrace. As for the xenophobic comments, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and imagine perhaps, having to seek to right a wrong in another country yourselves.. An utter disgrace the lot of you. sussex2

8:10am Tue 9 Jun 09

alfieconnection says...

pikeys will have it for scrap
pikeys will have it for scrap alfieconnection

11:13am Tue 9 Jun 09

twosugars says...

sussex2 wrote:
I am disgusted by the comments placed on here. Why is it that the brits always seem to attack those with the least defence. The facts of this collision are unknown, but, a vulnerable road user has been killed. The manner in which pedestrians and cyclists are treated (at long last recognised after EU pressure by the government) is a disgrace. As for the xenophobic comments, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and imagine perhaps, having to seek to right a wrong in another country yourselves.. An utter disgrace the lot of you.
a vulnerable road user was killed. yes mate. Thats why the council put in a proper cycle route alongside and a safe distance from the main carriageway. if she chose not to use it (and cycle lane signs really not that hard to translate) then nationality is no excuse for putting other lives at risk.
[quote][p][bold]sussex2[/bold] wrote: I am disgusted by the comments placed on here. Why is it that the brits always seem to attack those with the least defence. The facts of this collision are unknown, but, a vulnerable road user has been killed. The manner in which pedestrians and cyclists are treated (at long last recognised after EU pressure by the government) is a disgrace. As for the xenophobic comments, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and imagine perhaps, having to seek to right a wrong in another country yourselves.. An utter disgrace the lot of you.[/p][/quote]a vulnerable road user was killed. yes mate. Thats why the council put in a proper cycle route alongside and a safe distance from the main carriageway. if she chose not to use it (and cycle lane signs really not that hard to translate) then nationality is no excuse for putting other lives at risk. twosugars

4:35pm Tue 9 Jun 09

sussex2 says...

'twosugars, seaford says...
11:13am Tue 9 Jun 09
sussex2 wrote:
I am disgusted by the comments placed on here. Why is it that the brits always seem to attack those with the least defence. The facts of this collision are unknown, but, a vulnerable road user has been killed. The manner in which pedestrians and cyclists are treated (at long last recognised after EU pressure by the government) is a disgrace. As for the xenophobic comments, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and imagine perhaps, having to seek to right a wrong in another country yourselves.. An utter disgrace the lot of you.
a vulnerable road user was killed. yes mate. Thats why the council put in a proper cycle route alongside and a safe distance from the main carriageway. if she chose not to use it (and cycle lane signs really not that hard to translate) then nationality is no excuse for putting other lives at risk.
sussex2 wrote: I am disgusted by the comments placed on here. Why is it that the brits always seem to attack those with the least defence. The facts of this collision are unknown, but, a vulnerable road user has been killed. The manner in which pedestrians and cyclists are treated (at long last recognised after EU pressure by the government) is a disgrace. As for the xenophobic comments, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and imagine perhaps, having to seek to right a wrong in another country yourselves.. An utter disgrace the lot of you.
a vulnerable road user was killed. yes mate. Thats why the council put in a proper cycle route alongside and a safe distance from the main carriageway. if she chose not to use it (and cycle lane signs really not that hard to translate) then nationality is no excuse for putting other lives at risk.

There is not much danger to a vehicle driver in a collision with a cyclist..
The prevailing attitude is what prompted my post eg 'someone walked in front of my car'..or a 'cyclist wobbled'..
Nothwithstanding that imagine the devastation of the parents, having as they are, to deal with authorities in another language.
It is the tone of the messages that annoyed me, most seeming to place the entire responsibility on the cyclist.
I live in two countries and it is the other, rather than the UK where I feel more safe being a pedestrian or cyclist eg. In parts of Spain it is obligatory to give way to cyclists at junctions, no matter WHICH direction they are travelling from. For all I know this may apply in France. What I do know is that by and large drivers of vehicles in those countries give cyclists a much wider clearance than in the UK (two metres is recommended).
I have the greatest sympathy for the distressed parents, how awful they must feel.
'twosugars, seaford says... 11:13am Tue 9 Jun 09 sussex2 wrote: I am disgusted by the comments placed on here. Why is it that the brits always seem to attack those with the least defence. The facts of this collision are unknown, but, a vulnerable road user has been killed. The manner in which pedestrians and cyclists are treated (at long last recognised after EU pressure by the government) is a disgrace. As for the xenophobic comments, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and imagine perhaps, having to seek to right a wrong in another country yourselves.. An utter disgrace the lot of you. a vulnerable road user was killed. yes mate. Thats why the council put in a proper cycle route alongside and a safe distance from the main carriageway. if she chose not to use it (and cycle lane signs really not that hard to translate) then nationality is no excuse for putting other lives at risk.[quote][p][bold]sussex2[/bold] wrote: I am disgusted by the comments placed on here. Why is it that the brits always seem to attack those with the least defence. The facts of this collision are unknown, but, a vulnerable road user has been killed. The manner in which pedestrians and cyclists are treated (at long last recognised after EU pressure by the government) is a disgrace. As for the xenophobic comments, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and imagine perhaps, having to seek to right a wrong in another country yourselves.. An utter disgrace the lot of you.[/p][/quote]a vulnerable road user was killed. yes mate. Thats why the council put in a proper cycle route alongside and a safe distance from the main carriageway. if she chose not to use it (and cycle lane signs really not that hard to translate) then nationality is no excuse for putting other lives at risk. There is not much danger to a vehicle driver in a collision with a cyclist.. The prevailing attitude is what prompted my post eg 'someone walked in front of my car'..or a 'cyclist wobbled'.. Nothwithstanding that imagine the devastation of the parents, having as they are, to deal with authorities in another language. It is the tone of the messages that annoyed me, most seeming to place the entire responsibility on the cyclist. I live in two countries and it is the other, rather than the UK where I feel more safe being a pedestrian or cyclist eg. In parts of Spain it is obligatory to give way to cyclists at junctions, no matter WHICH direction they are travelling from. For all I know this may apply in France. What I do know is that by and large drivers of vehicles in those countries give cyclists a much wider clearance than in the UK (two metres is recommended). I have the greatest sympathy for the distressed parents, how awful they must feel. sussex2

4:39pm Tue 9 Jun 09

sussex2 says...

Sorry, cocked up the quote. Para starting 'a vulneralble etc was a quote from 'Two sugars'..
Sorry, cocked up the quote. Para starting 'a vulneralble etc was a quote from 'Two sugars'.. sussex2

7:37pm Tue 9 Jun 09

Dave At Home says...

twosugars wrote:
sussex2 wrote:
I am disgusted by the comments placed on here. Why is it that the brits always seem to attack those with the least defence. The facts of this collision are unknown, but, a vulnerable road user has been killed. The manner in which pedestrians and cyclists are treated (at long last recognised after EU pressure by the government) is a disgrace. As for the xenophobic comments, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and imagine perhaps, having to seek to right a wrong in another country yourselves.. An utter disgrace the lot of you.
a vulnerable road user was killed. yes mate. Thats why the council put in a proper cycle route alongside and a safe distance from the main carriageway. if she chose not to use it (and cycle lane signs really not that hard to translate) then nationality is no excuse for putting other lives at risk.
Shame she and the party she was with could not read the road, with a proper cycle lane clearly marked, it appears she had to make yet another protest cycling on a main road where the speed limit is 70 MPH. I feel for the poor motorist that hit her as the cyclist was totally in the wrong and should not have been on the A23, but then as they don't pay anything towards the upkeep of the road little would have been done to her if she had survived the accident.

Anyway, the ghost bike has been removed now, so no further accidents with drivers being distracted by more street sign.
[quote][p][bold]twosugars[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sussex2[/bold] wrote: I am disgusted by the comments placed on here. Why is it that the brits always seem to attack those with the least defence. The facts of this collision are unknown, but, a vulnerable road user has been killed. The manner in which pedestrians and cyclists are treated (at long last recognised after EU pressure by the government) is a disgrace. As for the xenophobic comments, you should be ashamed of yourselves, and imagine perhaps, having to seek to right a wrong in another country yourselves.. An utter disgrace the lot of you.[/p][/quote]a vulnerable road user was killed. yes mate. Thats why the council put in a proper cycle route alongside and a safe distance from the main carriageway. if she chose not to use it (and cycle lane signs really not that hard to translate) then nationality is no excuse for putting other lives at risk.[/p][/quote]Shame she and the party she was with could not read the road, with a proper cycle lane clearly marked, it appears she had to make yet another protest cycling on a main road where the speed limit is 70 MPH. I feel for the poor motorist that hit her as the cyclist was totally in the wrong and should not have been on the A23, but then as they don't pay anything towards the upkeep of the road little would have been done to her if she had survived the accident. Anyway, the ghost bike has been removed now, so no further accidents with drivers being distracted by more street sign. Dave At Home

7:27am Wed 10 Jun 09

GerryP says...

Motorists can find their way from Crawley to Brighton simply by following signposts. The same is not true for cyclists. Marie and her friends were on a cycle path alongside the Brighton Road; the path finished before they got to the Pease Pottage roundabout where there are no signs for cyclists despite being less than a mile away from the cycle route. They followed the signs to Brighton. At some of the slip roads on the trunk road there are short cycle lanes to help cyclists to negotiate the junctions (thus legitimising the presence of cyclists on this road) however there are non at the Hickstead junction (which is an 'off-slip' rather than a normal slip road). The coroner demanded immediate action regarding signage for cyclists but it seems they will just take their time regardless.
Motorists can find their way from Crawley to Brighton simply by following signposts. The same is not true for cyclists. Marie and her friends were on a cycle path alongside the Brighton Road; the path finished before they got to the Pease Pottage roundabout where there are no signs for cyclists despite being less than a mile away from the cycle route. They followed the signs to Brighton. At some of the slip roads on the trunk road there are short cycle lanes to help cyclists to negotiate the junctions (thus legitimising the presence of cyclists on this road) however there are non at the Hickstead junction (which is an 'off-slip' rather than a normal slip road). The coroner demanded immediate action regarding signage for cyclists but it seems they will just take their time regardless. GerryP

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