‘Riders need to take extra care’

A CORONER has warned experienced riders of the dangers of taking risks on roads following the tragic death of a Maltby motorcyclist.

Charles Hollis, 53, died after he overtook a car on the A631 from Tickhill to Maltby and collided in a car coming in the opposite direction on 24th March this year.

Rotherham deputy coroner Fred Curtis said Mr Hollis had shown an ‘error of judgement’ when overtaking and urged motorcyclists to take extra care.

“It seems to be there have been a lot of mature riders involved in accidents such as this, and perhaps mature riders should take note of the fact they need to exercise as much care as any other rider,” he said.

Rotherham Coroners Court heard last Thursday how Mr Hollis, 53, of Mclaren Crescent, had taken his red Aprilia motorbike out for a test drive on Saturday afternoon after repairing it that day.

The engineer and keen motorcyclist was on the last leg of his route when he overtook a blue Peugeot before colliding with a blue Citroen Xsara driving in the opposite direction towards Tickhill.

He was thrown from his bike and landed on the windscreen of a blue Mini being driven towards Maltby by Rebecca Curran.

In a statement provided to the court, Ms Curran recalled the awful moment when Mr Hollis hit her vehicle.

“I had a premonition something was going to happen but I suddenly heard the sound of a huge impact,” she said.

“The man had landed in a field and he had lost one of his boots . The driver of the Citroen Xsara was very shaken - he said he had been unable to avoid the motorcycle and that he had just gone into him.”

The court heard how many drivers had chosen to use the A631 that afternoon as part of the M18 had been closed for resurfacing.

Kevin Hussey was driving the blue Citroen Xsara towards Tickhill and said weather and driving conditions were good.

“I could see the motorcycle coming towards me and I braked to try and avoid it but it just came head on,” he said.

“It was coming at some speed and I was aware of it ‘twitching’. I remember getting out of my car afterwards - I was dazed and I could see smoke coming out of the motorcycle.”

Jacqueline Slack, who was driving the blue Peugeot, said she couldn’t believe how fast the accident happened after Mr Hollis overtook her.

“I remember seeing the back wheel of the bike shimmering like on a banana skin. The bike just disintegrated into pieces,” she said.

Mr Curtis also heard evidence from South Yorkshire police officers who attended the scene and said he was satisfied that the Mini, Peugeot and Citroen were being driven in a ‘proper manner’ and at the correct speed.

The court also heard evidence from Mr Hollis’ long-term partner of four years Susan Jones who said that he had been working long hours away from home and had spoken of feeling ‘absolutely shattered’.

Mr Curtis said his tiredness may have been a factor in terms of his ‘his judgement’ and acknowleged the A631 route does require ‘some care’ due to the number of bends in the road.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, he said: “No-one else had a role in this - it was an error of judgement in overtaking,” he said.

“I extend my deepest sympathy to all his family - this was a tragic accident which could have been avoided.”

South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership Manager Ken Wheat urged all riders to take extra care when out on the roads.

“We would reiterate the words of the Coroner and encourage all motor cycle riders to take extra care on the roads, especially at this time of the year,” he said.

“Riders should make themselves as visible as possible to other road users, ride within the speed limit and take into account the prevailing road conditions.”

“Motor cyclists can also equip themselves with additional skills by undertaking advanced training.”

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