Coroner to make reccomendations to highways authority over hazard which caused biker's death (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Coroner to make reccomendations to highways authority over hazard which caused biker's death
A CORONER has made a series of recommendations to the highways authority over the way it deals with road hazards following the death of a motorcyclist on a Yorkshire Dales road.
The inquest heard how Mr McCourt was renowned for being a “safe and competent” motorcyclist but was unaware of running water on the road as he rounded a bend.
He braked as he tilted his bike and passed through the water, causing his wheels to lock.
The motorcyclist and his bike skidded across the road into a stone walll. Mr McCourt died instantly of serious head injuries.
Earlier this week, the Northallerton inquest, heard that a flood warning sign was put up but was lying flat at the time.
Water had been running across the road from the adjacent fell and into the River Swale for about ten months and other accidents and near misses had already occurred during that time.
The inquest heard two people living along the road reported their concerns about the water danger to North Yorkshire County Council’s highways department.
Head of highways operations, Mike Roberts, told the inquest he could find no record in their system of the problem being reported.
Following an accident in June, a member of the department visited the scene and arranged for flood warning signs to go up.
He also made a series of phone calls to the Ministry of Defence to establish whether they owned the land which was causing a problem. But the MoD only confirmed it did not own the land.
Summing up, coroner Rob Turnbull said it was a matter of concern that there were incidents on the road before Mr McCourt's death and three seperate communications were made to the highways authority.
“I have no reason to presume that the telephone calls and emails were not sent.”
He said he was also concerned that regular inspections of the A road had not recorded the water hazard.
Mr Turnbull concluded that Mr McCourt died of injuries sustained in a road traffic accident and said he would be making a series of recommendations to North Yorkshire County Council’s highways department over the way information and hazards were recorded.
A council spokesman said it would study the coroner’s recommendations as soon as they were received.
• The road is one of two between Reeth and Richmond which will be closed for 12 weeks from February for a £1m programme of repairs.
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