NOTHING could have been done to prevent the death of a motorcyclist who crashed head-on into a van, a coroner has ruled.

Grandfather Michael Mangan, aged 72, from Turton, died from multiple traumatic injuries while overtaking on a bend along the A396 in Wheddon Cross, Somerset, on September 11.

Mr Mangan, a keen motorcyclist and senior observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists, was returning to Minehead with his son Insp Dave Mangan from a trip to Land’s End, an inquest in Taunton heard.

Gina McIntyre, who had been travelling in front of them, said: “Traffic was slow moving but the two motorcyclists behind me appeared to be in no hurry and I didn’t feel threatened by them at any point.

“The road is narrow and bending so there are very few opportunities to overtake.

“When the road straightened out a bit, the first motorcyclist overtook at about 40 to 45 miles per hour and managed to overtake all three cars in front.

“When the second motorcyclist overtook, he was travelling at a safe speed but he was over the white line for the other side of the road and I could see a yellow van in the other lane.

“There was smoke, bits flying everywhere, the motorcycle had gone into a hedge and the motorcyclist had gone flying into a field.”

Belgian doctor Anton Wildier, who had been travelling on the road, was the first to treat Mr Mangan.

Another witness Steven Jones said the van driver, Patrick Stuthers, had been travelling at a safe speed. Insp Mangan told the court how he sat in the field for a few hours afterwards.

He said: “I saw my father’s headlights raise up, meaning he was accelerating, I was concerned as I didn’t know if he had seen the van.

“I stopped at Wheddon Cross and a car pulled up beside me and asked had I been travelling with another motorcyclist as there had been an accident.

“When I found my father in the field, I saw the doctor carrying out CPR and I said he was gone.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death, West Somerset Coroner Michael Rose said: “I am satisfied that Mr Struthers could have done nothing to prevent the accident. This is a tragic case.”

Insp Mangan has since launched a safety campaign to help motorcyclists.