EXPERIENCED motorcyclist and radio presenter Gail Richards died when she lost control of her bike while trying to avoid a turning tractor near Settle, an inquest heard.
Miss Richards, the mother of a teenage daughter, was following a friend on his motorbike when the accident happened on a straight stretch of the B6479 between Settle and Horton-in-Ribblesdale.
Coming up behind a tractor indicating to turn right, she locked her brakes and was thrown 10 metres in the air onto a kerbstone edge which a post-mortem examination found caused multiple internal injuries and massive haemorrhaging.
The 42-year-old presenter on internet station Biker FM died at the scene, attended by a passing doctor and paramedics from the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
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Police collision expert PC David Taylor said rather than overtake the red Massey Ferguson 5445, Miss Richards had first locked her back wheel, and then her front wheel to slow from a speed in excess of 59mph.
Tests showed there were no drugs or alcohol in Mrs Richards blood and PC Taylor said checks on the black Suzuki GSXR 750 had found it to be in good mechancial order.
However Miss Richards’ friend and riding partner that day told how there had been recent issues regarding the bike’s braking system. David Gardner, 41 of Leyland, said a couple of weeks earlier she had changed the brakes’ master cylinder which had solved previous poor performance.
They had set out from Miss Richards’ home in Bingley on May 25 and stopped in Settle, he said.
Ms Richards had commented on how her bike felt somehow different.
“She said it didn’t feel like her bike yet,” said Mr Gardner, who checked her brakes before they set off.
Tractor driver John Carr, 24, was returning to Bracken Bottom Farm and preparing to turn right when he was overtaken by Mr Gardner.
“It made me jump as it went past. It was going about 60mph,” Mr Carr said.
He then heard a bike skidding and from the corner of his eye saw what happened behind him. “I saw the bike hit the kerb and Gail tumbling along the road. I didn’t see what caused it.”
He called 999 as car drivers, including a Harrogate doctor and a nurse, came to help Miss Richards.
Coroner Rob Turnbull recorded a verdict of death as a result of a road traffic collision.
Speaking after the inquest, relative Shirley Tordoff thanked all those who had tried to help.
“It was a terrible case of circumstances which came together,” she said.