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. 

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.”

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the 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 and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has 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 journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.