Kendal stonemason was killed in motorbike accident after 'taking corner on wrong side of road' (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Kendal stonemason was killed in motorbike accident after 'taking corner on wrong side of road'
A MOTORCYCLIST killed in a head-on collision with a car made a ‘minor error in judgment’ and lost control, an inquest heard.
Kendal stonemason Christopher Garside, 34, was killed in the accident on September 2 of last year on the A6 at Selside.
His Suzuki motorbike collided with a Renault Grand Scenic carrying a family of five from Bampton when he took a corner on the wrong side of the road.
Coroner Ian Smith said cocaine, ‘such as would have been having some effect on him at the time’, was found in his blood.
Car driver Christopher Wood told coroner Ian Smith he was travelling with his partner and three children to Kendal for Mintfest.
“There was nothing unusual or worrying about the journey until the last couple of seconds,” he said. “I was literally going into a corner and saw a motorbike coming; he was on the wrong side of the road and leaning over quite heavily. I remember thinking he’s not going to be able to pull back in time.
“It must have been less than a second to the impact. I didn’t have any chance to avoid him.”
Mr Garside’s friend David Boulton, also of Kendal, was riding his motorbike with him at the time of the collision.
He told the inquest they had been at his house before deciding ‘at the last minute’ to join a group of four other bikers to ride to Alston.
“Chris was riding up front and for a certain amount of time he was in sight on a straight section. I didn’t see the accident and I don’t know what speed he was doing.
“I got round the corner and saw Mr Wood getting his kids out of the car, and then saw the bike.”
He said Mr Garside, a former Kirkbie Kendal and Kendal College student, had been riding bikes since childhood and was an ‘able and competent’ motorcyclist. He also said that they knew the stretch of the A6 well.
Crash investigator PC Richard Wiejak told the inquest Mr Garside had lost control of the motorbike.
“The impact occurred as he was exiting the bend,” he explained. “There were two quite deep gouge marks on the southbound lane - 1.3 and 1.5 metres from the centre line.
“It is possible that on the approach his bike was travelling too fast to negotiate it and he had to take it wide. It is also possible he had gone on the wrong side of the road on purpose to negotiate it at a higher speed - this would be taking a risk because you can’t see what is coming.
“It was a relatively minor error of judgment and the speed magnified it.”
Mr Smith recorded a verdict of accidental death and said the cause was multiple injuries due to major trauma.
“I am not going to speculate on the speed but it is easy to make a misjudgement when on the roads,” he said. “Probably every time we are out on the roads we make a minor error. In a car you can get away with it but on a bike the error is magnified and you can easily end up on the wrong side of the road.
“The only part the other car played was simply being there.”
He said the cocaine ‘may well have had some effect on the way he was driving’.
“Driving after having taken any kind of drugs is a dangerous thing to do,” he said.