Tinted visor could have contributed to motorcyclist’s fatal crash at Holbeach

The coroner's court at Boston.
The coroner's court at Boston.
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A motoryclist’s tinted visor may have contributed to the crash that claimed his life on the B1168 near Holbeach.

Mark Pope (49) was riding in the direction of Holbeach St Johns as a yellow JCB Fastrac towing a green trailer turned right into Hurdletree Bank.

It was overcast, Mark had a tinted helmet visor – cutting out the same amount of daylight as normal sunglasses – and the colour of the trailer may have blended into surrounding greenery, an inquest heard.

The experienced rider, from Hocklesgate in Fleet, hit the trailer and died at the scene from a head injury on Friday, April 21

Coroner Paul Cooper said, if there was any solace, Mark’s death would have been instantaneous “and he would not have known anything about it at all”.

Summing up police evidence, Mr Cooper said the visor would have cut out something like 73-74 per cent of the sunlight and the green trailer would have blended into the green background.

He said if Mark had not seen the trailer, he would have seen no need to slow down.

Mr Cooper concluded Mark died as a result of a road accident.

Tractor driver Edward King said he saw an oncoming lorry ahead but had time to turn into Hurdletree Bank before it reached the junction.

He was nearly down Hurdletree Bank when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw the motorbike through his nearside window and thought to himself: “Where did that come from?”

Mr King said the motorbike was on its front wheel, with the back wheel off the ground, and he assumed it was braking.

Earlier, Peter Probyn said he was a passenger in a car driven by his wife and they were on their way to Coventry to visit their son.

They were travelling at about 50mph when the motorbike overtook them, and Mr Probyn said it was “really shifting” at an estimated 65-70mph.

Mr Probyn didn’t see the accident happen but soon came across the accident scene.

PC Stewart Cooke, a forensic collision investigator, read a statement from the lorry driver, who was also overtaken by Mark.

The lorry driver saw the JCB cross into the junction on his left and assumed the motorcyclist would pass by the back of the trailer but, instead, it hit the back of the trailer. He couldn’t recall seeing brake lights on the motorbike.

PC Cooke said the tractor and trailer were a combined length of 13.3m. His produced photographs showing the visibility limiting effects of the motorcycle helmet visor – which he described as “similar to a normal pair of sunglasses”.

He said it was possible the tinted visor made it harder for Mark to see the trailer and low tree branches made it harder for Mr King to see the motorcycle.

PC Cooke said the tractor driver’s view north was “obscured by foliage”, saying: “It would have restricted Mr Pope from the view of Mr King.”

Mark’s wife, Nicola, said her husband had ridden motorcycles since he was about 16 and he was a safe rider with no previous accidents.