Grouse flying into Yorkshire biker's helmet caused crash which killed him instantly

A keen biker was killed when he lost control of his machine after a bird struck his helmet, an inquest heard.

William Jackson, 73, was riding on a 60mph stretch of road when a bird, believed to be a grouse, hit his helmet which caused a crash that killed him instantly.

He had just overtaken two cars on his Yamaha bike near Sheffield, on March 30 when he was struck by a bird on his helmet shortly after midday.

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Sheffield Coroner’s Court heard there was nothing to suggest he had been driving too fast or carelessly.

William JacksonWilliam Jackson
William Jackson

Michael Pennells, a forensic collisions investigator, said two witnesses recalled seeing the bird fly out from the right hand side of the road and hit Mr Jackson.

One of the witnesses described seeing him slump in his vehicle and start veering to the right before his bike came off the road and flipped, throwing him from the his seat.

Mr Jackson, a much-loved grandfather, landed in a ditch.

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Is it believed a grouse flew into his helmet, causing him to lose control of his bikeIs it believed a grouse flew into his helmet, causing him to lose control of his bike
Is it believed a grouse flew into his helmet, causing him to lose control of his bike

The inquest heard there was no evidence of any road defects or weather conditions which might have contributed to the crash.

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PC Sam Clifford said one of the witnesses got out of his car and administered CPR before paramedics arrived to take over.

Tragically despite their best efforts he was pronounced dead at the scene at 12.48pm.

The court heard Mr Jackson death heard he had been ‘very fit’ and had ran a marathon last year.

His widow Carol said he was a passionate biker but when she was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago he had dropped all his hobbies to devote his time to helping her recover from surgery.

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His stepdaughter Leanne Schofield told the inquest: “He was an amazing, generous man. If he had been a witness to the accident that happened to him, he would have been there trying to resuscitate and doing the best he could.

"When I was at university, I had a massive relapse and he used to carry me to bed basically. He would feed me and everything. He was an amazing man, very generous and full of life. He didn’t live like he was in his 70s; he lived like he was in his 20s.”

Coroner Katy Dickinson described the incident as a ‘freak’ accident and concluded that Mr Jackson had died as a result of a road traffic collision.

She said: “He was riding his motorcycle appropriately when he was struck by a bird, which caused him to leave the carriageway and he died as a result of the collision. It must break your hearts. I’m so sorry you have found yourselves here today.”

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