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Motorcyclist travelled at 90mph before crash

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 12, 2014

TOO YOUNG: Adam Smart.

Comments (2)

A 20-YEAR-OLD motorcyclist who died after hitting a lorry just outside Saltash had been driving at 90mph, an inquest heard.

Police investigating the morning rush-hour crash told Plymouth Coroner's Court last week that CCTV images showed Adam Smart, from Saltash, approaching the "give way" markings at the Carkeel roundabout at an average speed of 90mph.

Motor patrol constable Marcus Rowe said he had passed the last marker at which he should have started to brake; something officers call "the point of no return".

He added: "He was always going to enter the roundabout without being able to stop at those speeds."

One witness whose account was read out said the biker had overtaken him "like a bat out of hell" on the way to the junction at around 7.45am on Monday, June 10.

The inquest heard Mr Smart's black Kawasaki Ninja Z600 motorbike appeared to be wobbling slightly and that he was accelerating in an attempt to upright himself.

The former Saltash.net school pupil ended up crashing into the rear of a waste tanker already on the roundabout, sustaining serious head injuries as a result.

The driver of the tanker, Graham Trotter, gave evidence at the inquest saying that the first he saw of the biker was when he saw him and the vehicle lying on the road after the collision.

The deceased's father, David Smart, told Mr Trotter during the proceedings: "We do not blame you."

After the incident, motorists stopped to try and help the motionless young rider.

They removed his helmet, at the advice of ambulance control staff, and lay him on dust sheets as traffic continued around them.

An off-duty policeman, a midwife and a nurse all gave first aid, including CPR and chest compressions.

However, Mr Smart showed no signs of life before paramedics arrived and was bleeding from his head according to eyewitness evidence.

Inspections found the bike and the lorry to be in full working order.

The post-mortem examination found Mr Smart, a duty shift manager, had died from a severe head injury.

Assistant Coroner Andrew Cox recorded the cause of death as the result of a road traffic accident.

In his summary, he said: "I'm going to express the view that the cause was the speed at which Adam was travelling immediately beforehand.

"Adam should have given way to Mr Trotter but because of his speed he went into the back of his vehicle.

"There was nothing Mr Trotter could have or should have done to prevent the accident. He suffered the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He added: "This was far too young for a young man to have died."

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  • YTDenizenV1  |  March 10 2014, 7:11PM

    No no no, Josdave, you're just generalising. This incident was far from your run of the mill accident. I wish only those who knew Adam would comment, and not those who just watch the news. Adz was an -extremely- competent rider, highly skilled and more than capable of handling his machines. He was an altogether confident, aware, responsible and mindful rider, friend, son and brother to his sisters. Your suggestion that he had no idea how to control his bike is utter speculation; misguided at best, a slur any other way. Your condolences are, if you will, akin to a back-handed compliment, and I for one (a rather close friend of Adam's - amongst dozens more) do not accept your comment as it comes on the back of an insult. If it is true that Adam suffered a tank ******* at speed (a speed from which he could have slowed and safely gotten to work just around the corner), then the motorcycle couldn't have been slowed safely, because you run the risk of the ******* getting worse. Some say a rider needs to increase speed (so the tyre is traveling further and gripping more). Some say to go light on the bars - but any advice you or I could suggest now was nothing short of second nature to Adam. So no - he had every idea as to controlling a bike. This is the sort of accident that is very very difficult to avoid and is one that every biker has to accept may occur - be it as a result of rider error or unforeseen, unpredictable circumstance. Bear in mind that while 90mph is clearly exceeding the speed limit, it does not link intrinsically to his departure. Far from it. We should not be talking about the speed, or his ability, but rather about conditions. We should be driving home the idea of giving ourselves more time to reach our destination if nothing else. Your comment is similar to likening Michael Schumacher's accident to his inability to control his speed. All I have to say is thank you to whomever is still laying a tribute.

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  • josdave  |  February 12 2014, 11:05AM

    Condolences to friends and relatives but he is just one in a long line of youngsters who have no idea of how to control a car or motorcycle. It's a culture thing and until reason rules we will get many more incidents like this.

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