North East family join campaign for safer roads after death of cyclist in London

Ashington-born teacher Mike Mason passed away just four days after his 70th birthday on Friday as his family held a vigil around his bedside

Michael Mason, who died after being struck by a car on Regent Street in London
Michael Mason, who died after being struck by a car on Regent Street in London

The family of an experienced cyclist killed on one of London’s busiest streets are joining the fight to make the capital’s roads safer.

Ashington-born teacher Mike Mason passed away just four days after his 70th birthday on Friday as his family held a vigil around his bedside.

A startling image of the father-of-two lying in a coma in hospital has been released by his loved ones in a bid to make drivers think hard about cyclists’ safety.

His daughter Anna Tatton-Brown, 33, a BBC journalist, said: “There’s a very strong message from this. Dad had been cycling in London since the 1970s. If this can happen to someone as experienced as him, then what about less experienced cyclists?

“The very last conversation I had with him was on how dangerous cycling in London is. Things seem to have got so much worse.”

The interior designer turned teacher grew up with parents Violet and Alex Mason, who were bakers at a shop in Ashington, and one of his three sisters, Monica Pearson, lives in Whitley Bay in North Tyneside.

Michael Mason with his daughter Anna Tatton-Brown
Michael Mason with his daughter Anna Tatton-Brown
 

After studying at St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in Newcastle and later at the city’s former King’s College, Michael married childhood sweetheart Angie, a former pupil of Sacred Heart Catholic High School, and moved to London.

He had been cycling home from the Apple store on Regent Street on February 25 when he was hit by a driver and fell from his bike.

The incident is now subject to a police investigation.

His tragic death is the second time a North East cyclist has died on London’s roads in recent years.

Eilidh Cairns, 30 from Ellingham, near Alnwick, died after being knocked off her bike on February 5, 2009 on her way to work.

The family of the former Duchess’s Community High School student has since campaigned tirelessly for cyclist safety and has helped secure a vote in the European Parliament on proposals which would see lorry cabs redesigned to eliminate their blind spots.

Michael’s daughter Anna said: “He still had his North East accent and he always spoke about how beautiful Newcastle was. He loved the regeneration of the city and the Baltic and the Sage.

“When I was little I had a little seat on his bike and he then he taught me how to ride.

“This is not just about driver awareness but also having cycling lanes and provision for cyclists. London has fallen behind other European capitals.”

Michael Mason
Michael Mason
 

Michael, who lived in Kentish Town, also has a daughter Sarah Wild, 46, who lives in Chicago in the USA. He was married to Angie for 47 years before the couple split up in 2013.

Five people were killed in nine days on London’s roads in November last year leading to an outcry among residents for better provision for people on bikes.

Michael was also active in promoting the safety of cyclists and had hoped to see dramatic improvements in the city’s infrastructure.

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Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
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Stuart Rayner
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