Inquest: Uncut grass 'obscured driver's view of motorbike'

Inquest: Uncut grass 'obscured driver's view of motorbike'

Inquest: Uncut grass 'obscured driver's view of motorbike'

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

LONG grass on a dual carriageway central reservation may have blocked a car driver’s view of a motorcyclist just before a crash that claimed two lives, an inquest heard.

Bernard Gage and Richard Sinclair both died instantly from multiple injuries in the high speed crash on the A412 at George Green on May 4.

Car driver Mr Gage was attempting to turn right from the A412 onto Wexham Park Lane when he cut across the path of Mr Sinclair’s Honda motorbike. The motorcycle struck Mr Gage’s green BMW with such force it sent it spinning over onto its roof.

Collision investigator Simon Bishop told the inquest he believed 59-year-old delivery driver Mr Gage, of Long Furlong Drive, Slough, would have had his view of Mr Sinclair partially obscured by the length of the grass on the central reservation.

He said: “As the BMW approached the break in the central reservation, the view would have been restricted by the grass on the central reservation. It wouldn’t have obscured the view, but made it more difficult to identify. The grass would have offered some obstruction.

“A traffic management officer contacted me the next day. It was due to be cut within the next day or so from the collision, and I believe it was done.”

He added: “I find it unlikely he was aware of the motorbike.”

PC Bishop said the controls on Mr Gage’s car froze when the electrics cut out at the moment of impact. They suggested he was travelling at 22mph and the rev counter showed 1,200RPM.

PC Bishop said subsequent tests carried out on a similar vehicle said this combination was only possible if the car was in fourth gear.

He told the inquest he believed, as a result of reconstructions carried out by police, Mr Gage had not brought his car to a halt on the slip road and had pulled out into the path of Mr Sinclair’s motorcycle having been satisfied there was no approaching traffic and the carriageway was clear.

Witnesses told the inquest they believed 41-year-old Mr Sinclair, a panel technician from Griffin Close, Slough, was travelling at between 60 and 80mph just before the crash.

PC Bishop said he was unable to establish Mr Sinclair’s precise speed but experience of dealing with previous high speed collisions led him to believe witnesses’ estimates were accurate.

He added Mr Sinclair would have had less than a second to react and avoid hitting the car as it crossed his path.

Coroner Richard Hulett ruled both men died as a result of a road traffic collision.

Comments (7)

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8:48am Mon 28 Jul 14

Mr Totterdge Hill says...

...and about now we need to hear how the long grass attracts the wildlife...

Also interesting this appearing a few days after the piece mentioning that the council haven't the energy to cut the grass...

Apart from this needless death, I wonder how many other collisions & incidents have/are occurring because of this?
...and about now we need to hear how the long grass attracts the wildlife... Also interesting this appearing a few days after the piece mentioning that the council haven't the energy to cut the grass... Apart from this needless death, I wonder how many other collisions & incidents have/are occurring because of this? Mr Totterdge Hill
  • Score: 14

9:20am Mon 28 Jul 14

rem708 says...

Two deaths probably caused by long grass and the councils money saving ideas. How many more lives is it going to take before someone is brought to task for duty of care to the public in a Health and Safety failure
Two deaths probably caused by long grass and the councils money saving ideas. How many more lives is it going to take before someone is brought to task for duty of care to the public in a Health and Safety failure rem708
  • Score: 13

9:26am Mon 28 Jul 14

HonkHonk says...

“As the BMW approached the break in the central reservation, the view would have been restricted by the grass on the central reservation. It wouldn’t have obscured the view..."

So there you go. It wouldn't have obscured the view.

Terrible as any accident is, driving is a serious issue and attention and care must be taken at all times. So many people take needless risks when driving, totally disregarding that the slightest mistake or lack of due care and attention can be fatal.

Symptom of today's society, always find someone else to blame. It was the council's fault for not cutting the grass... What next?
“As the BMW approached the break in the central reservation, the view would have been restricted by the grass on the central reservation. It wouldn’t have obscured the view..." So there you go. It wouldn't have obscured the view. Terrible as any accident is, driving is a serious issue and attention and care must be taken at all times. So many people take needless risks when driving, totally disregarding that the slightest mistake or lack of due care and attention can be fatal. Symptom of today's society, always find someone else to blame. It was the council's fault for not cutting the grass... What next? HonkHonk
  • Score: -21

9:32am Mon 28 Jul 14

motco says...

It's a deliberate policy to obscure the view at the approach to roundabouts in some misguided belief that it will slow the traffic and 'save lives'.
It's a deliberate policy to obscure the view at the approach to roundabouts in some misguided belief that it will slow the traffic and 'save lives'. motco
  • Score: 16

12:15pm Mon 28 Jul 14

jdough says...

Certainly not the first Coroner's report to finger TfB's lackadaisical attitude towards highway maintenance (eg: A40/Mumfords Lane, A413 between A40 and Chalfonts - multiple times), and sadly probably not the last :-(

Time for a Corporate Manslaughter charge?

TfB = not fit for purpose.
Certainly not the first Coroner's report to finger TfB's lackadaisical attitude towards highway maintenance (eg: A40/Mumfords Lane, A413 between A40 and Chalfonts - multiple times), and sadly probably not the last :-( Time for a Corporate Manslaughter charge? TfB = not fit for purpose. jdough
  • Score: 40

2:01pm Mon 28 Jul 14

A VOTER says...

So we have the council saying that they haven't the energy to cut the grass, and previously, decided to spend more on the removal of street lighting, than they would save on electricity by leaving them in-place.

Both decisions have been deemed to be the cause of deaths.

Time to vote these killers out of office.
So we have the council saying that they haven't the energy to cut the grass, and previously, decided to spend more on the removal of street lighting, than they would save on electricity by leaving them in-place. Both decisions have been deemed to be the cause of deaths. Time to vote these killers out of office. A VOTER
  • Score: 8

6:24pm Mon 28 Jul 14

mother henpeck says...

shame on you council !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!
shame on you council !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!! mother henpeck
  • Score: 9

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