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Poorly signed roadworks 'caused biker's paralysis'

A Wolverhampton-based road maintenance company has been fined after a motorcyclist was paralysed following a collision with a set of traffic signs.

Glynn Turner, 47, from Ipswich, was riding his bike south on the A21 in 2010 when he hit signs at an area of road that had been closed pending construction work.

Ipswich Crown Court was told that Mr Turner, a father of three, was diagnosed with serious injuries as soon as he arrived at hospital. He is now unable to move any part of his body, or communicate with relatives.

This has left him needing 24-hour residential care and with no hope of a substantial recovery.

In order to establish the facts of Mr Turner's case, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an inquiry.

It was found by investigators that Carillion AM Government, which was in charge of construction work along the A12, had not properly placed signs warning motorists of the works.

HSE inspectors concluded that the first indication of the roadworks was less than 200 metres from where the obstacles were places, substantially less than the 800 metre guideline set out by the Highways Agency.

With the speed limit in the area set at 50 mph, this gave Mr Turner little chance of stopping in time and Carillion ultimately pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

This resulted in a fine totalling £180,000, as well as costs in excess of £28,500.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sandy Carmichael said: "This was a tragic incident that was utterly life-changing, not just for Mr Turner but also for his wife and family. He was an experienced driver who travelled that route regularly between his home in Ipswich and his work in Sizewell.

"Had Carillion complied with the industry's code of practice ... to alert motorists in good time to the roadworks, this dreadful incident could have been avoided."

By Chris Stevenson