Teenager died after brakes on kit bike failed, inquest hears

The family had recently returned from the US where victim’s mum runs a chain of bicycle shops

A teenage cyclist was killed after the brakes on the kit bike he had built from scratch apparently failed as he rode down a hillside with his father and sister, sending him speeding towards a busy A-road where he collided with a van.

The father of 14-year-old Kadian Harding told how the pair had been laughing and swapping jokes moments before he then watched the schoolboy move ahead of him at uncontrollable speed as the track they were riding along in Wiltshire descended towards the A4.

Thomas Harding, a writer from Steep in Hampshire, said it was “100 per cent clear” in the moments after the collision that Kadian had died instantly when he crashed into a Mercedes van at an estimated 25-30mph.

An inquest heard that the teenager had taken his £1,200 Long Haul Trucker bicycle to a repair shop hours before the accident near Marlborough last July after his father raised concerns about the brakes.

Mr Harding, who is the cousin of former Times editor and new BBC head of news James Harding, said the brakes had seemed “much firmer” after the visit to the shop, adding: “From my narrative, [Kadian] would not have had the problems he had on the Wednesday [the day of his death] if he had not gone to the bike shop.”

Philip Birkett, who owns the Acceler8 cycle shop in Marlborough, told the hearing that Kadian had come into his store and asked him to look at the gears and the rear brakes, resulting in the decision to replace the rear brake cable. Mr Birkett added: “I stand by my work and everything I did was correct. When that bike left the shop it was in a perfectly safe condition.”

Mr Harding said his son had been excited about having the bike, which he had assembled himself. But he added he had been clear with the teenager that the cycle would have to be checked by a professional before it was cleared for use on the roads.

The family, who had recently returned to Britain from the United States where Kadian’s mother runs a chain of bicycle shops, had been part of a group of six people cycling to visit a relative near Marlborough when the accident happened.

Kadian was attending a day-time summer school at Marlborough College and had finished for the day.

Describing the moments before the crash, Mr Harding said: “I was right behind Kadian. We were talking and he was laughing and making jokes. We weren’t going that fast. We were cycling in tandem and then he was suddenly ahead of me.”

Paying tribute to his son Mr Harding said: “He was the kind of person that was extremely careful, cautious and methodical.”

A witness who saw Kadian’s final moments said he had heard screaming and looked around to see the teenager, who suffered fatal head injuries, standing on the pedals of his bike and pumping the brakes but had made no attempt to jump off or slow the bicycle with his feet.

The hearing continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Fertility Nurse

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join the ho...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash