Wind may have caused A19 crash that killed teenage motorcyclist, inquest finds
An 18-year-old biker who died in a crash in North Yorkshire may have been blown into oncoming traffic by a strong gust of wind, an inquest has heard.
Thomas Ferguson was pronounced dead at the scene after being thrown from his KTM motorcycle on the A19 near Great Thirkleby on September 27 last year.
An inquest heard the Selby chief was driving behind a vehicle but then veered into the right lane of the unlit rural road and collided head-on with a gray Seat Terraco at around 6.15am.
A post-mortem examination revealed that he had suffered a number of injuries serious enough to cause death and that there was alcohol in his system, but he was within the legal limit for drunk driving. .
Crash Investigator Nigel Varney told the inquest that Mr Ferguson may have been blown into the right-hand lane by a strong gust of wind or attempted ‘a misjudged overtake’.
Mr Varney said the wind was ‘quite strong’ and gusts of up to 19mph were recorded at the scene of the collision that morning.
He said Jessica Kirk, who was driving the Seat Terraco, “didn’t have time to react to avoid a collision” and the motorcycle “suddenly appeared” in front of her.
The crash investigator also said the teenager’s tinted visor, which was not designed to be worn in the dark, and the alcohol in his system “would have affected his vision and judgement”.
But he agreed that no witnesses had raised concerns about Mr Ferguson’s driving before the collision and that he was wearing the appropriate protective equipment.
Ms Kirk, who was driving with her four-month-old daughter, said the motorbike stopped in front of her and she had ‘no time to react’.
“I don’t remember if I braked or not. I don’t remember how I reacted. It happened so fast,” she said.
“It happened in a second. There was no time to react. There was no time. I didn’t see it before.”
The car left the road, went through a bush and rolled onto its side before coming to rest in a field. Ms Kirk and her daughter were helped by an off-duty police officer before being treated at the scene by paramedics.
Stacy Lees told the inquest that her son, who worked as a chef at the Loftsome Bridge Hotel, had spent “every penny of his hard-earned salary” on his motorbikes and loved riding them.
She added: “Someone as truly wonderful as him and so dearly loved will never leave, Tom will be with us every day. He is missed beyond belief.
“There will never be a goodbye, because the pain is too great.”
After hearing the evidence, Deputy Coroner Jonathan Leach entered a verdict of death by traffic collision.
The coroner said it was unclear whether Mr Ferguson had been blown into the right lane of the carriageway before the fatal collision or whether he was trying to pass the vehicle ahead.