Bird strike may have caused Brandon motorcyclist to crash into van, inquest told

Thursday, July 31, 2014
9:01 AM

A bird strike may have caused a 38-year-old motorcyclist to ride into the path of an oncoming van, an inquest has heard.

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Family attended the inquest into the death of Charles Lake, from Warren Close, Brandon, which was held in Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday.

Mr Lake - known as Charlie or Chaz - had been riding his Honda motorcycle on the B1106 at North Stow on September 23 last year when it was involved in a collision with a Vauxhall Vivaro van which was being driven south by Dale Carter.

The inquest heard from police officer Jason Lambourne, who had been involved in the investigation into the crash.

He said within a heavily forested section of the road the motorcycle had travelled into the opposing lane and collided with the van, with the bike catching fire.

He said the collision investigator who had examined the scene found a fresh carcass of what appeared to be a pigeon and a fresh scattering of feathers.

He said a bird strike was raised as a possible explanation for why the motorcycle had crossed into the opposing lane.

“It’s possible the presence of a bird rising from the verge may have caused Charlie to alter his position and he’s come into the path of the van,” he said.

Coroner Dr Peter Dean said: “Although he cannot categorically say that’s the cause, he’s looked at a range of other causes and there’s no apparent other cause so that leaves him with the view it appears to be a bird strike.”

He said the toxicology results had revealed alcohol or drugs had not been a factor in the crash, and no defects with the vehicles had been found which could have led to it.

Dr Dean said: “I think from the nature of the head injury one must feel it’s likely from that split second of impact he would not have known anything about it which may be some small comfort to the family.”

A report from Mr Lake’s wife Tabitha said he loved his motorbikes, computers, movies and spending time with his family.

“She says family and friends were very important to him,” Dr Dean said. “If you needed Charlie he was there for you.”

Dr Dean concluded Mr Lake’s death was accidental.

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