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Father of tragic Norwich cyclist hopes changes might now save others

PUBLISHED: 15:26 31 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:26 31 December 2018

Warren Dowling, 32, was described as a

Warren Dowling, 32, was described as a "legend" who will always be remembered. Photo: Dowling family

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The father of a cyclist who died from serious head injuries after crashing down a flight of steps said he hopes other people's lives will be saved in his son's memory following a raft of safety changes.

Patrick Dowling with pictures of his son Warren. PIC: Peter Walsh.Patrick Dowling with pictures of his son Warren. PIC: Peter Walsh.

Warren Dowling, who had been to the Sunday Sessions festival at Earlham Park, was cycling home after helping to take a couple of girls home.

But the 32-year-old got lost and failed to see the steps ahead in an alleyway between Dereham Road and Ranworth Road.

Mr Dowling, of Bullard Road, Norwich, had not been wearing a cycle helmet and was declared dead at the scene by paramedics having also had a cardiac arrest.

An inquest into Mr Dowling’s death heard the path was poorly lit, overgrown and that the steps could not be seen before their approach.

A view of the steep steps at The Loke shortly after Norwich cyclist Warren Dowling died. Picture: Patrick DowlingA view of the steep steps at The Loke shortly after Norwich cyclist Warren Dowling died. Picture: Patrick Dowling

Mr Dowling’s death, at just before 12.20am on May 28, prompted the installation of barriers to slow cyclists down before the steps at The Loke but also led to a safety review which has led to changes at other sites.

Inspections were carried out at other sites after a call by coroner Yvonne Blake “to stop anyone from catapulting down there too”, with recommendations that bollards were now installed on a path between Mile Cross Road and Burgess Road to prevent cyclists reaching them “at speed”.

It was also recommended that foliage was cut on a path between Heathgate and Mousehold Street to help “improve illumination of the steps”.

Mr Dowling’s father Patrick, of Fugill Road, Heartsease, who had called on Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council to improve safety for cyclists, said: “It’s given me a little relief that his death has caused this reaction and hopefully he may have prevented further injuries or deaths on those other footpaths over Norwich.”

The 70-year-old added: “I think my son’s death deserved that kind of reaction to be honest.”

At Mr Dowling’s inquest the coroner concluded a narrative verdict, stating the medical cause of death as multiple traumatic head injuries, due to falling down steps while on a bicycle and having some alcohol consumption.

The city and county council said they would work together following instructions given to them at the inquest, adding that following fatal incidents they conducted assessments to see whether further measures should be considered.

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