Fatal crash caused by motorcyclist’s ‘error of judgement’

Paul Vincent was killed when his motorbike collided with a car on The Street, between Pulham St Mary

Paul Vincent was killed when his motorbike collided with a car on The Street, between Pulham St Mary and Starston. Photo supplied by family. - Credit: Archant

A momentary lapse of judgement led to tragedy when a motorcyclist collided head-on with a car he failed to see as he approached a bend.

Experienced rider Paul Vincent was killed after hitting an oncoming car which had been obscured by a hedge as he attempted an overtaking manoeuvre on The Street between Pulham Market and Starston on July 6 last year.

An inquest in Norwich yesterday heard that grandfather-of-six Mr Vincent, 61, had been taking an evening ride with his partner Marie von Morgen, who is still recovering from the serious injuries she sustained in the accident.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong recorded that Mr Vincent, a care home caretaker of Green Lane, Tivetshall St Margaret, died as a result of a road traffic collision.

Police forensic investigator PC Lee Smart said Mr Vincent had 'mistakenly satisfied himself' the road ahead was clear, not realising a vehicle was obscured by the bend and dip in the road.

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Speaking after the inquest, Mr Vincent's daughter Natasha Lawrence, said motorcycling had been her father's passion, and that he had been riding since the age of 18.

'He spent his whole life tinkering with his bikes in his garage,' she said.

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'Dad was an extremely safe, very competent and seasoned motorcyclist, who sadly made an error of judgement which has cost him his life,' she said. 'He was a first-class person –a dad, a brother, a grandad – and he will be sorely missed.'

As Mr Vincent pulled out to overtake a Volkswagen Passat at around 6.55pm, his bike collided with a silver Volvo driven by Richard Edwards.

'All I can remember is in a split second, the motorbike was on top of my bonnet, my windscreen shattered and the airbag came out,' said Mr Edwards. 'It was just a split second: he was there and it was all over.'

Ms von Morgen suffered multiple injuries in the accident, including a broken right femur, right and left knee, broken ribs and a fractured right ankle. She said it would take up to two years for her to recover.

In a statement read to the court she said she often rode pillion with Mr Vincent, and that riding conditions had been good.

'The next thing I recall is the bike losing control and I recall seeing a silver grey vehicle on my right hand side,' she said.

'I recall being thrown from the bike and landing further up the road.'

She said a woman came to her aid, and added: 'I asked if Paul was OK but they wouldn't tell me.'

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