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Uncharacteristic overtake led to tragic death

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A man from Holton le Moor died after attempting to overtake a convoy of cars on a blind bend on the A631 near Ludford, an inquest heard.

Robert Byatt, 63, was riding his Suzuki DC650 motorcycle when the collision occurred on October 17, 2013.

He was travelling behind a seven-and-a-half tonne ‘box’ lorry, a Ford Fiesta and a Mercedes before attempting to overtake on a bend in which his view, according to witnesses, would have been obscured by the lorry.

Mr Byatt collided with the front, right hand side of an Audi Q7 4x4 which was on the opposite side of the road as he attempted to overtake.

He was thrown from his bike and landed on the grass verge at the side of the road.

Mr Byatt was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering multiple injuries.

The collision with the Audi Q7 caused the front, offside tyre to come off the car. The tyre then collided with a Mercedes convertible.

The driver of the Audi, Lucy Fisher of North Elkington, said she was approaching a slight bend in the road and saw a line of cars approaching in the opposite direction.

In her witness statement to police she said she then saw a motorcyclist attempt a “confident overtaking manoeuvre” and added in court that “there was no time to react”.

Ms Fisher recalled the driver hitting the offside wing mirror of the car and said that she tried to keep control of the car but the breaks didn’t seem to be working.

“I was a literally a passenger in my car until it came to a stop,” she said.

Richard Marshall, deputy coroner, presiding, noted there was “significant damage” to the offside section of the car.

David Jacklin, of Scotter, was driving a Vauxhall Combo van and told the inquest that it was a bad idea to attempt an overtake on that bend.

In a statement, Mr Byatt’s wife Janet said that Robert had a lifelong interest in motorcycles and he took riding seriously, adding he was a “careful and competent rider.”

Mrs Byatt added at the inquest that Robert attempting a manoeuvre like this was “out of character.”

PC Godfrey Barlow, of Lincolnshire Police, said that a number of factors could have contributed to Mr Byatt’s death, including his view of the road ahead being obscured by the lorry at the front of the group of cars and that there was a slight rise on the road.

Mr Marshall concluded that it was a “tragic decision” that led to Mr Byatt’s death last year.

 

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