An experienced motorcyclist and radio presenter died when she lost control of her motorbike while trying to avoid a turning tractor on a back road near Settle, an inquest heard yesterday.
Bingley mum-of-one Gail Richards, 42, was following a friend on his motorbike as they headed for the Dales on a sunny day last May when the accident happened on a straight 300m stretch of the B6479 from Settle to Horton-in-Ribblesdale.
Coming up behind a tractor indicating to turn right, she locked front and back brakes and was thrown ten metres in the air on to a kerbstone edge, which caused her multiple internal injuries and haemorrhaging.
Miss Richards, a presenter on internet station Biker FM, died at the scene of the accident attended by a passing doctor and Yorkshire Air Ambulance paramedics.
North Yorkshire Police collision expert PC David Taylor said rather than overtake the red Massey Fergusson 5445, Miss Richards had first locked her back wheel, and then her front wheel in attempting to slow from a speed in excess of 59mph.
Tests showed there were no drugs or alcohol in Miss Richards’ blood and PC Taylor said that police checks on the black Suzuki GSXR 750 had found it to be mechanically in good order.
Miss Richards’ friend and riding partner David Gardner, 41 of Leyland, Lancashire, said a couple of weeks earlier she had changed the brakes’ master cylinder, which had solved previous poor braking performance.
Mr Gardner, who was riding a black Kawasaki ZX10R, checked Miss Richards’ brakes before they set off. “They were working and fine,” he said.
Senior Coroner Rob Turnbull reached a verdict of death as a result of a road traffic collision and extended sympathy to Miss Richards’ family.
Speaking after the inquest, relative Shirley Tordoff thanked all those who had tried to help.
“It was a terrible case of circumstances which came together,” she said. “She was a bubbly, lovely person, never bored and who lived life to the full.
“A single mum, she had just got a degree in leadership and management from Bradford University and this is just a tragedy.”