Coroner calls for safety measures following crash that killed Accrington biker

Gary Roberts

Gary Roberts

First published in North West The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A CORONER has called for measures to prevent deaths on a road bend which has seen two fatal motorcycle collisions in two years.

South and East Cumbria coroner Ian Smith has written to Cumbria County Council following the death of Gary Roberts, of Accrington, on the A683 in Middleton, in March.

At an inquest at Kendal Magistrates’ Court, he gave a verdict that Mr Roberts, 63, died as a consequence of a collision, which took place on March 18.

The inquest heard the collision happened near the site of a previous fatal motorbike accident, a year earlier.

Mr Roberts had been riding from Shap to Kirkby Lonsdale with around seven others when it happened.

Mr Smith said on the road at Middleton, the back wheel of Mr Roberts’ bike slid away from under him, ‘leading to a loss of control’. Mr Roberts collided with a post. A post-mortem examination revealed he suffered severe head and brain injuries.

At the inquest, fellow rider Karen Rostrom, of Blackburn, said she had seen Mr Roberts’ bike touch a long stretch of gravel in the middle of the road before his back wheel ‘skipped out’.

Diane Bowman, the collision investigator, told the inquest: “It’s my belief that the strip of gravel is highly likely to have contributed to the collision.”

Cumbria County Council’s network highways manager Tony Beaty said since the death of Mr Roberts the site was inspected for debris on a weekly basis. He said: “I’ve tossed this over in my mind and I can’t think of anything that would improve it [the road] except regular sweeping, given the topography.”

In summing up, Mr Smith said he would write to the county council to record that there had been two fatal accidents on that stretch and a previous non-fatal incident.

“Something has to be done, and said, and recorded,” he said. “The letter would be addressed to the county council Highways Department, placing on record what has happened and that they need to carry on inspecting the road on a regular basis and to consider any extra options open. They should give it some further thought.”

Mr Roberts’ son Andrew Roberts, 36, of Horne Street, in Accrington, said it had been a hard year for the family.

His sister Debbie added: “I know it’s sad but I think Gary would be pleased the accident happened up here. He lived for riding, it was what he loved.”

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