E-bike rider died after his brakes failed on Yorkshire descent 

Craig Barnhart and his wife had both been riding electric bikes in North Yorkshire

Police tape
(Image credit: Getty Images)

An e-bike rider died after his brakes failed on a dangerous Yorkshire descent, an inquest has heard.

Craig Barnhart was cycling with his wife in North Yorkshire during the coronavirus lockdown earlier this year, when he crashed while descending towards Dibbles Bridge on the B6265. 

An inquest into the 66-year-old’s death heard that Mr Barnhart has been descending the 16 per cent gradient when the brakes on his bike failed on April 22, The Yorkshire Post reports.  (opens in new tab)

The American electric engineer, who had lived in Yorkshire for almost 20 years, collided with a parapet on the bridge and fell onto a barn. 

After surviving the crash, Mr Barnhart then fell from the barn roof to the floor and suffered injuries to his chest, head and pelvis. 

Paramedics arrived on the scene shortly after but Mr Barnhart died at the scene from his injuries.

His wife told the inquest, held at Country Hall in Northallerton, that they were aware the front brakes on his bike were defective before the crash, and that Mr Barnhart had intended to get them fixed after the lockdown.  

The couple had set out at around 4pm to ride from their home in Bewerley near Pateley Bridge to Hebden, Burnsall and Barden Tower.

Mr Barnhart had reached speeds of 47mph, recorded by his Garmin GPS device, when he was unable to negotiate the tight bend and hit the bridge. 

There have been two other fatalities at this location, after cyclists James Nelson and Dr George Ballard died in separate incidents in 2014 and 2015.

North Yorkshire Council has since installed safety mesh on the west side of the bridge following these incidents, however the mesh did not extend to the section where Mr Barnhart fell.  

>>> Five killed, four injured after truck driver hits group of cyclists on ‘retirement ride’

New safety measures will be put in place and signs will be put up warning cyclists of the dangers of the descent. 

Mrs Barnhart said: “He was fit, strong and energised, but he was such a safe man. 

“He would have preferred to die doing something he loved to his last breath.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.