Motorcycle enthusiast killed in crash after attending fellow biker’s wake, inquest hears
06:30 10 October 2012
A motorcycle enthusiast who died after crashing into a car on the A47 near Dereham was returning home from a wake for a fellow biker, an inquest heard.
Matt Mallett, a “warm and caring” engineer from Terrington St Clement, died of severe head and neck injuries following the accident at the turning for Greenbanks Hotel in Wendling on Thursday, April 5.
The 41-year-old was riding in the direction of Swaffham when his Yamaha hit a Ford Focus turning right towards Wendling.
An inquest in Norwich yesterday heard the car’s driver, Martin Walpole, told a police interview: “I just can’t explain it. It just seemed black in front of me. I did not see any light at all. I did not see a light when he hit me. It did not shine on the car.”
Mr Walpole was initially cautioned by police, but no charges were brought and Mr Mallett’s mother told him she was sorry it had happened to him and “it could happen to any of us”.
Several motorists said Mr Mallett’s headlights were very dim, and his friend Laurence Catchpole said he had discussed problems with his lights.
However, he said had given Mr Mallett a thumbs up as he left the Blue Boar in Sprowston, where they were attending Graeme Fox’s wake, to let him know his lights were working. A police investigation found no mechanical defects, but concluded the bike was using its pilot light, similar to a car’s side lights.
Coroner William Armstrong said: “I accept without hesitation that Matt was usually a very careful, safety-conscious rider, but it’s clear Matt was riding his motorcycle with only the pilot light on and there’s some evidence that may have been the case for some time, so clearly he was not very visible to other road users.”
He recorded that Mr Mallett died as a result of a road traffic accident.