Coroner to visit danger junction where experienced biker died in crash

A coroner is to visit a "horrible junction" where an experienced motorbike rider died in a crash to check whether an overgrown hedge still poses a hazard to motorists.

Michael Williams
Michael Williams

John Gittins, senior coroner for North Wales East and Central, said he wanted to see the situation himself before deciding whether to issue a Prevention of Future Deaths report.

An inquest in Ruthin heard how motorists described a junction of Green Lane with the A525 at Hollybush, near Bangor-on-Dee just over the Shropshire border in Wales, as “horrible” because of the poor visibility.

Michael Howard Williams, 56, died when his 750cc Honda motorbike collided with an Audi car emerging from the side-road on March 13 last year.

Mr Williams, of Upper Wharf, Chirk, was an experienced rider and witnesses told police that he was travelling at about 50mph when approaching a long left-hand bend just before the junction.

Audi driver Amy McCarthy said in a statement read at the hearing that the junction was notorious and that she always turned off her radio and wound down the window to listen for oncoming vehicles coming from the Bangor-on-Dee direction because visibility to her right was so poor.

Miss McCarthy, a carer who was taking a client to Wrexham at the time, said: “We all know it is a horrible junction but we have to do it.”

She said she was always particularly worried about motorbikes because her partner rode one.

No mechanical defects were found on the Audi or Honda and no action is to be taken against Miss McCarthy.

The police report on the fatality stated: “Her account of her actions are totally credible and her actions do not fall below those of a competent driver.”

A post-mortem examination revealed that Mr Williams, a director of the family firm Chirk Plant Hire, died of severe chest and abdominal injuries.

Recording a conclusion that his death was the result of a road traffic collision, the coroner said it would be unwise of him to issue a Prevention of Future Deaths report before checking whether the situation regarding the hedge remained the same.

If he decides to issue a report it will be to Wrexham County Borough Council’s highways department or the owner of the property to whom the hedge belongs.

“If things have changed, then excellent,” he said.

It was very clear, he added, that there was very little that Miss McCarthy could have done to avoid the collision.

After his death, Mr Williams' family paid tribute to him saying he was was a caring father and a fantastic grandad. They said motorbikes were his passion.

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