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Great Britain
An article was changed on the original website

Double white lines on death crash road 'could help prevent another tragedy'

A CORONER will be urging a council to reassess measures on a rural road following the death of a motorcyclist.

Ex-serviceman Shaun (Dave) Neal, from Jarrow was killed in a collision on the A68 between Consett and Tow Law on September 2, 2017.

A keen biker, the 54-year-old was on his way home from a ride out with his friend when the incident happened at about 1.30pm.

Mr Neal was riding his Honda CBR motorcycle on the northbound side of the A68 when he was involved in a collision with a BMW 330 travelling in the opposite direction.

Sitting at Crook Coroner's Court yesterday, assistant coroner, James Thompson, heard from several witness, including the driver of the BMW, Wayne Gascoigne.

Mr Gascoigne, of Wolsingham, was acquitted of causing death by both dangerous and careless driving last year.

He said he was travelling home from the gym when he attempted to overtake a slower Volkswagen Tiguan in front of him.

He said he did not see Mr Neal and the crash happened with an "almighty bang" within half-a-second of him pulling out.

Other witnesses, including three motorcyclists travelling behind the BMW, suggested Mr Gascoigne was travelling too "tight" behind the Tiguan to see Mr Neal.

Rider, Colin Jameson, said the collision was "instantaneous" while his brother, Ian Jameson, saw the father-of-two coming down the hill and said he looked relaxed, riding "upright" and within the speed limit.

"As I was coming out of the bend I saw the BMW move out and I shouted 'no'," he said.

Mr Jameson, along with the passenger from the Tiguan - retired nurse Bonnie West - were first to rush to Mr Neal's aid but as first aiders, quickly realised there was nothing they could do.

Mrs West said she felt for a pulse but could not find one and despite the best efforts of the emergency services, Mr Neal was pronounced dead at the scene at 2.20pm.

A post-mortem examination concluded Mr Neal - who was wearing a helmet and full protective clothing at the time - died of a broken neck.

Forensic collision investigator, PC Paul Harris, read out his report to the court where he said the BMW was travelling "too close" behind the Tiguan to have a "forward view of the road" which had broken white lines.

He also said it was his opinion that solid white lines - if obeyed - would help prevent another collision.

Mr Thompson said he had been "much persuaded" by PC Harris that a law-abiding driver would be "discouraged" from overtaking with the presence of solid white lines and would be writing to Durham County Council's Highways Department asking officers to re-survey the road with the view to replacing the markings with solid white lines.

Brian Buckley, the council's strategic highways manager, said: “We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr Neal.

"Safety on our road network is of paramount importance to us and we will consider the coroner’s findings once we receive them.”

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