Tribute to dead cyclist on A23 removed by council bosses

Tribute to dead cyclist on A23 removed by council bosses

Tribute to dead cyclist on A23 removed by council bosses

First published in News by

A roadside tribute to a student killed while cycling has been removed - less than a week after it was put up.

French student Marie Vesco was hit by a car and run over by a second as she rode along the A23 to Brighton last June.

As a memorial, her family and friends chained a painted white bike, known as a “ghost bike”, to a lamp post at the scene on Thursday – a year to the day of the incident.

But on Tuesday, the Highways Agency took it away, claiming it was a health and safety hazard as it would potentially distract drivers along the busy road.

Ghost bikes are commonly left as tributes to cyclists who lose their lives on the roads.

One appeared at the junction of Devil’s Dyke Road and Saddlescombe Road north of Hove to mark the spot where 23-year-old James Danson-Hatcher was hit by a car in April last year.

A spokesman for the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership said roadside tributes were normally permitted to be left for 12 weeks after a fatal accident after which are removed and stored.

If they are then not claimed by friends or family of the victim they will then be disposed of.

He said the decision to remove this particular tribute was taken by the Highways Agency as the A23 is its responsibility but added that such a memorial on any road would be deemed a distraction and quickly removed.

Since Marie's tragic death, her parents Jacques and Dominique Vesco and her boyfriend Seb Achaibou have campaigned for cycle lane signage along the busy road to be improved.

Speaking yesterday, Seb told The Argus he understood why the bike had been removed but said he found the 12-week limit for tributes “unrealistic”.

He said: “Most families would want to leave a tribute at the anniversary of an accident.

“It is hard for people to be organised enough to get one put up right away.”

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “We sympathise with Marie's family. It is a terrible thing to have to deal with.

“The bike was a touching memorial but roads are dangerous places and we have to make sure that they are safer.”

Comments (13)

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10:41am Thu 11 Jun 09

bibble says...

That didn't take long, did it. The faceless and nameless "health and safety" mob strikes again.

Next time there is a "collision", can the police boards appealling for witnesses be removed in less than a week? They are very distracting and may lead to further accidents.
That didn't take long, did it. The faceless and nameless "health and safety" mob strikes again. Next time there is a "collision", can the police boards appealling for witnesses be removed in less than a week? They are very distracting and may lead to further accidents. bibble
  • Score: 0

1:02pm Thu 11 Jun 09

mackeson says...

They can't remove all the fly-tipping as quick as that, or all the "travelers"
They can't remove all the fly-tipping as quick as that, or all the "travelers" mackeson
  • Score: 0

2:21pm Thu 11 Jun 09

HootieMcBoob says...

I recall this incident when originaly reported by the argus last year, the woman who died was taking part in a 'critical mass' protest (where large groups of people on push bikes ride around very slowly to hold up the vehicular traffic....anti climate change and all that) and sadly picked a 70mph arterial route to do it on.

security word: common-sense



I recall this incident when originaly reported by the argus last year, the woman who died was taking part in a 'critical mass' protest (where large groups of people on push bikes ride around very slowly to hold up the vehicular traffic....anti climate change and all that) and sadly picked a 70mph arterial route to do it on. security word: common-sense HootieMcBoob
  • Score: 0

3:34pm Thu 11 Jun 09

Mary Hinge says...

Sad story but as usual the Argus has made a mess of it.

"He said the decision to remove this particular tribute was taken by the Highways Agency as the A23 is its responsibility"

... so it wasn't the decision of the council after all, unlike what the headline suggests.

Typical lefty-loving Argus, why let the truth ruin an opportunity to knock the council. Either that or it's lazy journalism at its best.
Sad story but as usual the Argus has made a mess of it. "He said the decision to remove this particular tribute was taken by the Highways Agency as the A23 is its responsibility" ... so it wasn't the decision of the council after all, unlike what the headline suggests. Typical lefty-loving Argus, why let the truth ruin an opportunity to knock the council. Either that or it's lazy journalism at its best. Mary Hinge
  • Score: 0

4:07pm Thu 11 Jun 09

Andy R says...

She did no such thing. The critcal mass event takes place in the centre of Brighton not the A23!

Security word : check-facts-before-p
ontificating
She did no such thing. The critcal mass event takes place in the centre of Brighton not the A23! Security word : check-facts-before-p ontificating Andy R
  • Score: 0

4:48pm Thu 11 Jun 09

Jim BB says...

There was an article about this tribute when it was put up and one of the posters said that it was very distracting.

There needs to be a central place for tributes where the friends and families can grieve without being upset about things being taken down - or tributes potentially causing accidents as in the case of ghost bikes.

I wonder if families could be offered the chance to grow a tree or some type of living monument - they'd understand its significance without others being distracted by it.
There was an article about this tribute when it was put up and one of the posters said that it was very distracting. There needs to be a central place for tributes where the friends and families can grieve without being upset about things being taken down - or tributes potentially causing accidents as in the case of ghost bikes. I wonder if families could be offered the chance to grow a tree or some type of living monument - they'd understand its significance without others being distracted by it. Jim BB
  • Score: 0

5:11pm Thu 11 Jun 09

ICantThinkOfAName says...

Why do the authorities regard these tributes as distractions. They seem to operate double standards. At Shoreham on the busy A259 there is a permanent memorial to a brave policeman who who killed there. I assume the powers that be, approved of this tribute. I believe that all grieving relatives should have the opportunity to mark the passing of their loved one at the place where they were mortally injured. No memorial should be removed. After all how many advertising boards are adjacent to our highways, are they not a distraction?
Why do the authorities regard these tributes as distractions. They seem to operate double standards. At Shoreham on the busy A259 there is a permanent memorial to a brave policeman who who killed there. I assume the powers that be, approved of this tribute. I believe that all grieving relatives should have the opportunity to mark the passing of their loved one at the place where they were mortally injured. No memorial should be removed. After all how many advertising boards are adjacent to our highways, are they not a distraction? ICantThinkOfAName
  • Score: 0

5:36pm Thu 11 Jun 09

GerryP says...

HootieMcBoob wrote:
I recall this incident when originaly reported by the argus last year, the woman who died was taking part in a 'critical mass' protest (where large groups of people on push bikes ride around very slowly to hold up the vehicular traffic....anti climate change and all that) and sadly picked a 70mph arterial route to do it on.

security word: common-sense



Hootie; your memory does not serve you well (or do you just want to blame the victim?). The group of about 12 cyclists were ON THEIR WAY to a protest (against a weapons manufacturer). They had not arrived at the protest when Marie was killed. They would rather not have been on that road but there is inadequate signage for cyclists.
When a pathway is shared by cyclists and pedestrians it is the responsibility of the cyclist to slow down and take care when approaching the more vulnerable party. The same principle applies when motor vehicles approach cyclists. If you want to know what common sense is then read the Highway Code: respect the right of other vehicles; do not overtake when turning left; leave a gap of at least 2 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. If these principles had been adhered to then Marie would not have been killed.
[quote][p][bold]HootieMcBoob[/bold] wrote: I recall this incident when originaly reported by the argus last year, the woman who died was taking part in a 'critical mass' protest (where large groups of people on push bikes ride around very slowly to hold up the vehicular traffic....anti climate change and all that) and sadly picked a 70mph arterial route to do it on. security word: common-sense [/p][/quote]Hootie; your memory does not serve you well (or do you just want to blame the victim?). The group of about 12 cyclists were ON THEIR WAY to a protest (against a weapons manufacturer). They had not arrived at the protest when Marie was killed. They would rather not have been on that road but there is inadequate signage for cyclists. When a pathway is shared by cyclists and pedestrians it is the responsibility of the cyclist to slow down and take care when approaching the more vulnerable party. The same principle applies when motor vehicles approach cyclists. If you want to know what common sense is then read the Highway Code: respect the right of other vehicles; do not overtake when turning left; leave a gap of at least 2 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. If these principles had been adhered to then Marie would not have been killed. GerryP
  • Score: 0

5:56pm Thu 11 Jun 09

goldstone says...

All such "tributes" are a distraction and should be removed immediately. If a loved one dies in a hospital bed can you leave a tribute in the hospital ward? Of course not. The same should be the rule for roadside tributes.
All such "tributes" are a distraction and should be removed immediately. If a loved one dies in a hospital bed can you leave a tribute in the hospital ward? Of course not. The same should be the rule for roadside tributes. goldstone
  • Score: 0

7:33pm Thu 11 Jun 09

bibble says...

ICantThinkOfAName wrote:
Why do the authorities regard these tributes as distractions. They seem to operate double standards. At Shoreham on the busy A259 there is a permanent memorial to a brave policeman who who killed there. I assume the powers that be, approved of this tribute. I believe that all grieving relatives should have the opportunity to mark the passing of their loved one at the place where they were mortally injured. No memorial should be removed. After all how many advertising boards are adjacent to our highways, are they not a distraction?
The council doesn't get any money from homemade signs, whereas advertising boards no doubt attracts some tax.

That's what it comes down to.
[quote][p][bold]ICantThinkOfAName[/bold] wrote: Why do the authorities regard these tributes as distractions. They seem to operate double standards. At Shoreham on the busy A259 there is a permanent memorial to a brave policeman who who killed there. I assume the powers that be, approved of this tribute. I believe that all grieving relatives should have the opportunity to mark the passing of their loved one at the place where they were mortally injured. No memorial should be removed. After all how many advertising boards are adjacent to our highways, are they not a distraction?[/p][/quote]The council doesn't get any money from homemade signs, whereas advertising boards no doubt attracts some tax. That's what it comes down to. bibble
  • Score: 0

7:34pm Thu 11 Jun 09

jo w says...

Thank god for common sense. It was an ill-thought out action to put the bicycle there and a distraction for drivers who should be concentrating on their driving, not pointless roadside objects. Of course I feel sad for the family but a memorial should be placed in a far more appropriate and safer place.
Thank god for common sense. It was an ill-thought out action to put the bicycle there and a distraction for drivers who should be concentrating on their driving, not pointless roadside objects. Of course I feel sad for the family but a memorial should be placed in a far more appropriate and safer place. jo w
  • Score: 0

8:29pm Thu 11 Jun 09

sussex2 says...

'jo w, haywards heath says...
7:34pm Thu 11 Jun 09
Thank god for common sense. It was an ill-thought out action to put the bicycle there and a distraction for drivers who should be concentrating on their driving, not pointless roadside objects. Of course I feel sad for the family but a memorial should be placed in a far more appropriate and safer place'

On the A259 at Shoreham there is a memorial to a policeman killed by a hit and run driver a few years ago - it is attended by two speed cameras, is solid and could easily distract passing drives. Would you also advocate its' removal'
'jo w, haywards heath says... 7:34pm Thu 11 Jun 09 Thank god for common sense. It was an ill-thought out action to put the bicycle there and a distraction for drivers who should be concentrating on their driving, not pointless roadside objects. Of course I feel sad for the family but a memorial should be placed in a far more appropriate and safer place' On the A259 at Shoreham there is a memorial to a policeman killed by a hit and run driver a few years ago - it is attended by two speed cameras, is solid and could easily distract passing drives. Would you also advocate its' removal' sussex2
  • Score: 0

11:14pm Thu 11 Jun 09

bibble says...

jo w wrote:
Thank god for common sense. It was an ill-thought out action to put the bicycle there and a distraction for drivers who should be concentrating on their driving, not pointless roadside objects. Of course I feel sad for the family but a memorial should be placed in a far more appropriate and safer place.
So, do you think the Cenotaph should be knocked down? After all, it's a memorial and it's right in the middle of a road...
[quote][p][bold]jo w[/bold] wrote: Thank god for common sense. It was an ill-thought out action to put the bicycle there and a distraction for drivers who should be concentrating on their driving, not pointless roadside objects. Of course I feel sad for the family but a memorial should be placed in a far more appropriate and safer place. [/p][/quote]So, do you think the Cenotaph should be knocked down? After all, it's a memorial and it's right in the middle of a road... bibble
  • Score: 0

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