Coroner: Crash that killed much-loved biker was an accident

The scene of the Garboldisham crash, which killed a motorcyclist in his 20s The scene of the Garboldisham crash, which killed a motorcyclist in his 20s

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
9:56 AM

A south Norfolk man who died following a crash on his new motorbike in Garboldisham had told a friend just days before it was the biggest bike he had owned and he did not know his limits with it.

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James KellyJames Kelly

James Kelly, 22, of Bridge Road, Scole, had only owned the blue Yamaha R6 motorcycle for a week when he came off it on the B1111 Harling Road just after 3pm on March 24.

At the inquest into his death in Norwich yesterday, toxicology reports revealed traces of cocaine and cannabis in his system, which can impair driving, but it could not be determined how much this would have affected his handling of the motorbike on the day in question.

Statements from both a retired doctor, who had found Mr Kelly dead at the scene of the crash at about 5.15pm, and police who arrived later said there was evidence to suggest he had been travelling above the 30mph speed limit.

A statement from his friend, Thomas Bowden, who worked with him as a plasterer and labourer, described him as a “very good driver and very confident”.

Mr Bowden said Mr Kelly had been involved in a crash about a year before and had then not owned a motorbike until buying the Yamaha R6.

“This was the biggest bike he’d had,” said Mr Bowden.

“He was a very good and confident driver and used to stick to speed limits in villages but used to speed out on the open roads. He said he ‘didn’t know his limits on this bike’ to me in a cautious way.”

Mr Bowden said his friend had been in a good mood when they parted at 3pm after work, heading off on a date.

The only thing he complained about was lower back pain, which he said Mr Kelly may have taken painkillers for.

Mr Bowden would normally have followed his friend along the road, but stopped off to make a phone call and said he still wonders what would have happened if he had travelled behind him instead.

Police who carried out an investigation into Mr Kelly’s death said there was no sign of emergency breaking or another vehicle being involved in the crash.

Paying tribute to Mr Kelly, his family, including mother Tracey Ford and father Steven Kelly, said: “James is a much-loved son, brother, nephew and grandson, who has left a huge hole in our lives.

“He was fun-loving, had a big group of friends and lived life to
the full. He loved his job as a plasterer and his motorbike was his dream.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake explained it was not clear what had caused Mr Kelly to come off the road.

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