A BRIDEGROOM who died in a horrific motorcycle crash just two days after his wedding was an inexperienced rider who had only recently passed his test, an inquest has been told.
Phillip Cleary, 34, was killed when his motorbike was hit by two cars on a country road after marrying his fiancee Gemma in front of 80 guests at Hazelwood Castle, near Tadcaster.
He lost control of his motorbike on a sweeping bend on the A614 at Middlethorpe Farm, Market Weighton, colliding with a Toyota Rav and his bike hitting another. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
An inquest in Hull was told Mr Cleary, a company director who lived in Howden, had passed his test on his first attempt two months earlier, and had a scare previously when his bike “snaked.”
In a statement read to the court, his widow Gemma said he had bought a bike for “the freedom of being able to get out on his own and relax”.
They had come back from the wedding and on the Monday, Phillip had gone out for a ride for an hour. He went out again later for a ride and to get cigarettes for her.
Mrs Cleary said: “On the day he lost his life he was really happy, over the moon with everything, life was at its best. He was recently married with no financial problems; work was good and busy with no worries, he was a very popular person with lots of friends and lots to live for.”
Michaela Collins, who was driving home to Sheffield with her mother Patricia and children after a day out at the coast, in the Toyota, said she first saw Mr Cleary she thought he was turning right onto a dirt track on the side of the road.
Both motorcyclist and bike were “twitching” as if the motorbike was out of control.
In a statement she said: “I turned and tried to brake to get out of the way; the rider then separated from the motobrike and came towards me and hit the car; the motorbike then went past me and collided with the car behind me.”
David Watkin, in a Ford Focus, travelling behind the Toyota, told the inquest: “It was all over in a second; it was extremely quick. I did get the impression he was struggling with his bike...as if he was fighting to gain some control. The instant it struck the Toyota I noticed that his bike came down the side of the car heading straight for us - half a second later his bike hit our car.
He added: “As soon as we got out of the car my son-in-law ran across to Mr Cleary and tried to get him to respond.”
He told Mr Cleary’s family: “My son-in-law was holding his hand; he wasn’t on his own; there was nothing anyone could have done about it, it was over so quick.”
Accident investigator Steven Jackson said the tyres of the Honda CBR were different front and rear and were slightly underinflated, although within the limit. The imbalance of the tyres may have caused involuntary movement and he possibly may have instinctively applied his brakes.
He said: “In my opinion, although speculative, Mr Cleary’s relative inexperience of riding motorbikes may have played a significant part in this collision. As a consequence of his actions or inactions Mr Cleary has allowed his motorcycle to cross the centre line and enter the opposing lane bringing him into conflict with the approaching Toyota.”
There was no physical evidence to suggest any excessive or inappropriate speed.
Mr Jackson said afterwards: “If there han’t been another vehicle to contend with he may have had enough time to remain on the road and regain control of his motorcycle - and it would have been put down to experience. Unfortunately he didn’t have that opportunity - it is very tragic.”
Mr Cleary had been diagnosed with an irregular heart beat in May, but no evidence of a natural cause of death was found in a post mortem examination.
Deputy coroner Rosemary Baxter recorded a verdict of accidental death.