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Speed killed tragic biker

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

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A MOTORCYCLIST who was killed when he smashed into an oncoming lorry was going ‘too fast’, an inquest has heard.

Thomas Higgs, of Duchess Close, Linton, died on March 28 after ploughing into the heavy goods vehicle on a bend in Caldwell Road, near Drakelow.

The 54-year-old had been making the left-hand turn on his Suzuki Bandit when he drifted across to the opposite side of the carriageway and crashed into the lorry.

At an inquest held into Mr Higgs’ death yesterday, Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner’s Court heard that a combination of a low rear tyre pressure and high speed were the most likely causes of the crash.

Philip Shaw, who was driving the lorry when the accident happened at about 5.30pm, said he first saw Mr Higgs’ bike as he entered the corner.

He said: “He was going quite fast and his front wheel came over to my side of the road.

“My truck was over on the left-hand side and was going at 38mph. There was seconds between me seeing the bike and the collision.

“He struck my lorry on the corner of the front of the cab, where the headlights are.

“I tried to brake and turn to the left but I just could not avoid it.

“I struck him and I just screamed.”

PC Darren Parkin, of Derbyshire Constabulary’s collision investigation unit, said that after Mr Higgs was flung from his bike onto a nearby verge, several witnesses tried giving him first aid and the emergency services were called.

He said the road had a 60mph speed limit but could not estimate Mr Higgs’ speed.

“One witness said the motorcycle was going ‘at some speed’,” he told the court.

“Mr Higgs was riding too fast to negotiate the bend safely and the low pressure in the rear tyre may also have compounded the situation, but we can’t be 100 per cent sure how much it contributed.

“He was not necessarily travelling in excess of the speed limit but the speed he was travelling at when he crashed into the vehicle was too fast.”

The court heard Mr Higgs, a divorced bricklayer, died at the scene from his injuries.

His cause of death was given by a pathologist as multiple injuries.

Deputy coroner Louise Pinder recorded a verdict of accidental death.

She said: “The tragic part of this was that he was only metres away from being in the position of the road where he would have avoided this accident.”

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