Coroner’s call to cut speed limit after Doncaster biker death

Nathan Hemstock, 31, of Cusworth, who died in a motorcycle accident in June 2015.
Nathan Hemstock, 31, of Cusworth, who died in a motorcycle accident in June 2015.

A Doncaster Coroner is calling for the speed limit to be reduced on a road that claimed the life of a young motorcyclist.

Speaking yesterday at the inquest into the death of Nathan Scott Hemstock, aged 31, Coroner Fred Curtis said he would write to Doncaster Council’s highways department urging them to reduce the speed limit from 60mph at the scene of the crash in Back Lane, Cusworth.

Nathan was riding an orange Yamaha motorcycle on June 29 this year when he collided with the back of a dark Audi A1 travelling in the same direction at around 8.50am, close to the junction with Sheep Walk Lane.

The court was told that, although Nathan and the Audi driver had been driving within the speed limit, the impact caused Nathan and his motorcycle to be thrown in to the air – landing in the opposite lane.

Nathan, of Cusworth, was then hit by a red Toyota Hiace van. He died at the scene as a result of his injuries.

Crash scene investigator Adrian Burgoyne said the van driver, Stephen Christian, could not have avoided hitting Nathan.

He added that, having just come around a bend, Nathan would not have seen the Audi and therefore would not have had time to brake and prevent the collision – although tyre marks on the road show that he did try and do that.

He said: “This is a tragic chain of events. If just one of these had been taken away this would not have happened. I have no reason to believe that the motorcycle was being driven recklessly.”

The court was also told that trees and bushes on the rural road prevented drivers from having a clear view around the bend.

In a statement, Nathan’s mother Sharon Arnold said her son, who was a salesman at J&S Motorcycles, had a love of motorbikes from a young age.

“He’d had five motorbikes and he got out on them whenever he could, in all weathers,” she said.

He had set off to work in his car on the morning of the accident, but had returned home to Laurel Avenue at around 8.45am to swap vehicles as traffic was busy.

He then made his way along Back Lane instead of taking his usual route along York Road, which was congested due to maintenance works on St George’s Bridge. The driver of the Audi, Caroline Gascoigne, had also taken this diversion.

Recording a verdict of road traffic collision, Mr Curtis said would also be recommending that the foliage on the bend was cut back to help prevent future accidents.