‘Accidental’ death of Harbury motorcyclist prompts safety call

POLICE have called for changes to traffic signs at a spot near Leamington, following an investigation into a Harbury man’s death.

Father-of-three Graham Freeman was killed instantly after being thrown from his motorbike in Harbury Lane on June 8. Warwickshire coroner Sean McGovern recorded a verdict of accidental death at an inquest into Mr Freeman’s death at the Justice Centre in Leamington last Friday.

The 58-year-old forklift driver had collided with a car on the opposite side of the road outside the Mallory Court Hotel, after losing control of his motorbike. He had been riding behind postman David Gibbons, who was driving home from the bowls club in Whitnash.

Speaking at the inquest Mr Gibbons, who is also a community first responder with West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “As we came up to the hill, there was a car waiting to turn into the Mallory Court Hotel. I braked. It had rained so the road was greasy. Mr Freeman braked as well and he went down.”

Mr Gibbons attempted to resuscitate Mr Freeman, but it was later discovered that he had died immediately.

The inquest also heard from vet Graham Hall, whose car had struck Mr Freeman while travelling in the opposite direction. He said it was seconds between his first sight of the motorbike and feeling the impact of the collision.

Pc Dean Male, of Warwickshire Police’s investigation unit, told the inquest that the evidence suggests Mr Freeman had had to brake very suddenly, causing him to lose control of his motorbike and veer on to the other side of the road.

Although Mr Freeman had been riding within the speed limit, Pc Male said he has put forward recommendations to Warwickshire County Council, responsible for road safety, to put up a sign warning motorists of the hotel so they have time to slow down in case there are cars turning in and out.

He has also asked for the national speed limit sign to be moved and for a filter lane to be added for the turning traffic.

Mr McGovern said he would also write to the council to encourage the changes to be made. He added: “Mr Freeman would not have suffered. He would have been totally unaware of what happened.”