TRIBUTES have been paid to a cyclist from Ilkley who died at a notorious accident blackspot in the Dales.

Consultant cardiologist Dr George Ballard died after falling 15 metres from Dibbles Bridge near Hebden.

A colleague at Leeds General Infirmary described the 41-year-old as an outstanding doctor, with a quick wit.

Chief medical officer for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Dr Yvette Oade, said: "George’s tragic and untimely death has deeply shocked his friends and colleagues.

"He was an outstanding doctor with a quick sense of humour, who will be sorely missed by staff, patients and families across Leeds and the wider region.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are very much with George’s family at this sad time."

The accident happened at 8.30am on the B6265 road on Sunday and police are appealing for witnesses.

Dr Ballard's death comes a year after 32-year-old Skipton cyclist James Nelson died at the same spot, on the Hebden to Pateley Bridge road, when he was thrown over the parapet.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Nelson, who worked at Skipton Building Society, had died of multiple and traumatic injuries.

The latest fatality happened after Dr Ballard collided with the bridge parapet and was thrown onto the stream bed below as he travelled towards Grassington.

Among those helping at the scene were 15 members of Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

A spokesman for the association said: "The team, many of whom are active cyclists, would like to offer their sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased."

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council also added the organisation's condolences.

"We are very sorry to hear a cyclist died at Dibbles Bridge at the weekend and extend our sympathies to his family and friends," he said.

"We cannot comment on the circumstances of this incident whilst both we, as the local highway authority, and North Yorkshire Police are undertaking our respective investigations.

"We would urge everyone planning to cycle in the Dales to make sure they and their bicycle are fully prepared, to look carefully at the route guidance available online, including on our own website, and to treat these challenging roads with respect and caution, especially on long descents that can be more demanding than people may expect."

Commenting on the accident on Skipton Cycling Club’s Facebook page, Richard Sutcliffe said: "Can we not, as a club, lobby NYCC (I assume it’s their responsibility) to do something about this? Surely they could put a line of barriers on top of the parapet wall?

"Given recent events, I would have thought this spot should have moved up towards the top of their list of priorities in terms of road safety spending."

Dibbles Bridge was also the scene of Britain’s worst coach crash 40 years ago when 32 passengers were killed when the vehicle’s overheating brakes failed and it smashed through the bridge parapet and overturned.