Tragic cyclist 'a wonderful man'

A 66-YEAR-OLD cyclist killed taking part in an open road time trial on the A12 yesterday was a "wonderful, wonderful" man, his devastated partner said last night.

A 66-YEAR-OLD cyclist killed taking part in an open road time trial on the A12 yesterday was a "wonderful, wonderful" man, his devastated partner said last night.

Jim Perrin, of Cressing Road, Braintree, was killed as he rode on the inside lane of the major trunk road at around 7.20am yesterday.

He is the second time-trial cyclist to die on the road in the space of six weeks and his death has prompted renewed police calls for the sport to be banned from the A12.

Mr Perrin, a father-of-two and a cyclist of 50 years' experience, had set off from Marks Tey village hall earlier in the morning with around 100 cyclists competing in the 25-mile test.

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He was in collision with a silver Kia people carrier travelling on the northbound carriageway near the Eight Ash Green junction and was declared dead at the scene.

The driver of the people carrier, a 37-year-old woman from Braintree, was treated for shock and taken to Colchester General Hospital.

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Police investigating the incident closed the busy road for three hours with Bank Holiday traffic having to be diverted through Colchester.

Ann Allen, Mr Perrin's partner for 22 years, last night paid tribute to her "dear Jim". She said: "He was just a wonderful, wonderful man. He loved his cycling.

"I'm trying to come to terms with it. He'd taken it a bit easier this year, but had been cycling around in France a couple of times."

His only brother Harry, comforting Miss Allen at her home last night, said he could not believe what had happened. "We keep expecting him to walk through the door," he said.

Mr Perrin's death comes just six weeks after 64-year-old Colin Rodd, from Hockley, south Essex, was killed cycling near the A12's junction with the A120.

Mr Rodd died after he was in collision with a minibus just after the break of dawn on Sunday, July 13.

His death prompted police to voice concerns over the wisdom of staging time trials on busy roads.

Last night, Pc Jason Boots of Stanway's road policing unit reiterated the potential dangers.

He said: "In my opinion, the A12 is far too busy a road to be cycling on – at any time. Even though cyclists may be wearing all the equipment, it's still the major trunk road for the eastern counties.

"I know over the years we have tried to have these trials banned, but we are not in a position to stop them.

"They may well have started years ago when the roads were quieter, but that is no longer the case." Yesterday's event was organised by the Essex Roads Cycling Club, and Mr Perrin was a member of the Cyclos Uno club, in Hainault.

Terry Andersen, honorary secretary to the London East branch of the sport's governing body Cycling Time Trials' Association and a friend of Mr Perrin, defended the sport against the police's criticism.

He said: "We deliberately organise these events for early Sunday mornings – or like yesterday on a Bank Holiday – when we know the volume of traffic will be low.

"We always aim to get the bikes off the road by 9am. Up until six weeks ago we've only ever had one fatality on the A12 and now we've had two in a short space of time, but that doesn't mean they should be stopped."

He said the recently retired Mr Perrin was a "decent, quiet, unassuming man, dedicated to his sport"

"I'm absolutely devastated," he added.

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