Police alerted to cyclist before tragedy

POLICE were warned about a man riding a push-bike on a dual carriageway up to 45 minutes before a cyclist was killed in a tragic accident, it emerged today.

POLICE were warned about a man riding a push-bike on a dual carriageway up to 45 minutes before a cyclist was killed in a tragic accident, it emerged today.

Dennis Bailey, 58, of Rogaston Close, Stanway, Essex, died from head injuries after his bicycle was in collision with a white lorry on the A12 southbound carriageway near East Bergholt at about 6.40pm on Wednesday.

However it has emerged a cyclist, riding in the dark without lights or reflective clothing, was spotted near the A12 some time before the accident.

Natasha Mann, 20, of Pinewood, said she was a passenger in a car getting on to the A14 slip road towards Felixstowe at Copdock when the car in front braked suddenly for a cyclist.

She said: “He was all over the place, I thought there was going to be an accident there and then.

“I phoned the police to warn them about it.

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“I thought there was either going to be an accident or he would end up killing himself.”

Mrs Mann said she believes the man she witnessed was likely to be Mr Bailey and called the police around 6.15pm.

She said: “He was heading down the slip road and I thought he was trying to get to Felixstowe.

“He must have gone back up on to the A12.”

However a spokeswoman for Suffolk police said the force did not have a log of a call at 6.15pm but did respond to a call from a member of the public shortly before 6pm.

The caller reported a man on a cycle coming off the A14 eastbound, up the slip road towards Tesco at the Copdock Interchange.

The spokeswoman said a broadcast was put out to all traffic units for “any observations” but nobody was tasked specifically with finding the cyclist.

She said it is not clear if the man reported on the slip road is believed to be Mr Bailey.

She said: “Investigations into the fatal road traffic collision on the A12 at East Bergholt on Wednesday February 13 are ongoing. “Any findings from this investigation will be passed to the coroner.”

A spokeswoman for road safety organisation Brake said it is important for anyone riding a bike at night to use lights and reflective clothing, especially when using a busy road.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the collision, which happened on the southbound carriageway near the junction with the B1070 at around 6.40pm.

Anyone who saw the incident or may have further information should contact Pc Andrew Masterson at Suffolk's Roads Policing Unit on 01473 613500.

Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Bailey? Call the news desk on 01473 324788, write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Trish Halsall, 48, who lived in the same block of council-owned flats as Mr Bailey, said he was always out and about around the county on his bike.

She said: “Everyone liked him. It was difficult to understand him sometimes, but other times you could understand perfectly what he was talking about.

“I never saw anybody go up there (to his flat) though. He was a dear soul that just chatted away to himself. He was happy in his own little world.”

She said she had felt “really quite upset” upon hearing the news of his death and several neighbours had also spoken to her of their sadness.

Ms Halsall, who has lived there for the past 13 years, said: “He was forever clearing up around here and tidying up - picking up crisp packets and things. He just took an interest in the area he lived in.

“But he was always on his push bike. We used to refer to him as Mr Bean as he looked like Rowan Atkinson. From a young lad upstairs to the other older residents in here, they just liked him.

“I have just been praying that he has some family out there.”

Mr Bailey is thought to have lived in his flat since the block of eight was opened in the early 1980s and was referred to by some people as “one of the originals”.

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