SPECIAL safety measures are to be made at a notorious bridge which has claimed the lives of two cyclists within a year.

An interlocking post and rail barrier will be fixed to the parapet on one side of Dibbles Bridge on the Pateley Bridge to Grassington road, near Hebden, by March next year.

It will be designed to prevent cyclists striking the nearside of the bridge and being thrown 40ft into the ravine below.

The decision follows the death of consultant cardiologist Dr George Ballard, 41, of Ben Rhydding, who died on August 2 this year when his Scot cycle hit the parapet, throwing him over the handle bars as he rode down the steep hill towards Grassington.

His death came a year after 32-year-old Skipton cyclist James Nelson, who worked at Skipton Building Society, died at the same spot in similar circumstances.

North Yorkshire Coroner Rob Turnbull, who recorded that father-of-two Dr Ballard died of multiple injuries as a result of an accident, told an inquest in Skipton today he wanted to see the new safety measure set up before the busy cycling season began next spring.

Dr Nick Hayward, an Ilkley GP, told inquest he and Dr Ballard were among a group of five friends on a cycle ride in the Yorkshire Dales.

On reaching the steep hill down towards Dibbles bridge, Dr Hayward warned Dr Ballard to be careful about the decline and the bend at the bottom. As they set off down the hill Dr Ballard overtook him.

"I was slightly concerned," Dr Hayward said.

"I remember him coming passed and thinking is he going to slow down?

"He seemed to do so - his bike seemed to be slowing towards me and then I saw his back wheel lock and I thought he would go down but he held the slide.

"I thought wow he's done it. Then I saw him hit the wall. The bike careered along the parapet and the next thing I saw his feet going over the bridge," said Dr Hayward who gave first aid to his friend along with a nurse who had come from a nearby cottage.

Allan McVeigh, North Yorkshire County Council network strategy manager, said as a result of a feasibility study it had been decided to fit an interlocking rail and barrier across the left hand side parapet to prevent people being thrown over into the ravine.