Leeds A63: Biker died after van driver failed to check mirrors - inquest

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A van driver failed to do proper checks before attempting a manoeuvre which led to a 70-year-old biker suffering fatal injuries, an inquest heard.

Gordon Brear was riding his powerful Honda VTR 1000 machine on the A63 Selby Road at Garforth when he tried to overtake a Citroen panel van, Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard.

Meanwhile, van driver Stephen Lascelles – who was heading in the wrong direction for his next delivery – started to turn tight in to a drive way with the intention of turning his vehicle around.

The court heard Mr Brear’s machine struck the driver’s door and he was flung around 25ft in the air and ended up in a field a around 1pm last November 18.

Mr Brear, of Gawthorpe, near Ossett, suffered multiple extensive injuries was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where he died last December 1.

Van driver Stephen Lascelles told the inquest he indicated right and checked his wing mirror and did not see Mr Brear.

Andrew Dryden, who was a passenger in the Citroen van, told the court he did not hear the indicator when Mr Lascelles started to turn right.

Mr Dryden said: “I would say it was a fairly quick turn. It wasn’t like an emergency stop braking action, but it was fairly quick.”

Motorist Kenneth Gallop told police in a statement he believed the van driver was as fault. Mr Gallop, who stopped at the scene of the incident, told the court: “The (van) driver was muttering I never saw him, I never saw him.’”

Recording a narrative verdict, West Yorkshire deputy coroner Melanie Williamson said there were no rear windows on the van and there was a “tapering” 30m long blind spot.

Miss Williamson added: “Despite the existence of the blind spot, the motorcycle would have been visible to the driver of the van immediately prior to the collision by means of the view afforded by the van’s offside wing mirror. The driver of the said van failed properly, or at all, to look in his said wing mirror prior to commencing the aforesaid manoeuvre.

“In addition, the driver of the said van failed to look over his shoulder before commencing the same.”

After the hearing, a spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Police, said: “No charges were made and no further action will be taken, because investigating officers could not apportion the whole blame to either party.”

Councillors Pat and Graham Latty.

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