Motorcyclist killed after pheasant flew into his helmet causing him to leave the A606 and crash - inquest hears

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A motorcyclist died in tragic accident after a pheasant flew into his helmet, causing him to momentarily lose control, leave the road and crash - an inquest heard today (Thursday).

Michael Jakes (50), of Stathern, had been heading along the A606 Oakham Road, towards Melton, when the freak accident occurred on November 1 last year.

Mr Jakes’ black Dukati had lawfully overtaken a white transit van, driven by Melton man Roger Tinsley, shortly before the incident.

Giving evidence at Loughborough Coroner’s Court Mr Tinsley said: “I was coming down the hill when I saw the motorbike approaching. I was only doing 40 or 45mph and he was probably doing 50mph by the time he’d overtaken me.

“I was looking down the road and all of a sudden a pheasant flew out of the hedge and smacked into the rider’s helmet. It all happened so quickly. The bike just went straight through a hedge and then disappeared. I saw his brake light come on, I think it was just a sudden impact.

“If it hadn’t have been for the pheasant I think he would have been okay.”

Mr Tinsley, who gave assistance to Mr Jakes at the scene, said the motorcyclist had been driving ‘perfectly fine’ in the moments before the accident which happened on the A606 Oakham Road, in the Somerby parish, about 800m south east of the Whissendine Road junction, north west of Leesthorpe.

The inquest heard there were no defects to Mr Jakes’ bike which caused or contributed to the accident, he wasn’t under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time of his death and excess speed wasn’t a factor in what happened. The road was dry and in a good state of repair and the weather wasn’t a factor.

Dr Stuart Hamilton, of the Forensic Pathology Unit at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, concluded Mr Jakes died at the scene from chest injuries sustained in the crash, adding his death would have been ‘almost instantaneous’.

Accident investigator Pc Emma Thacker said the pheasant flying into Mr Jakes’ helmet would have caused him to momentarily lose control, leading to his subsequent collision with a drainage culvert.

Deputy coroner for Rutland and north Leicestershire Carolyn Hull recorde thta Mr Jakes died as a result of a road traffic collision and offered his family her condolences.

She said: “This was a tragic accident. It was totally unknown to him that the pheasant would fly out. It happened within seconds. There’s nothing he could do and he wouldn’t have seen the culvert.”