Crash which killed grandfather in Dartford was an accident, inquest hears

11:53am Wednesday 19th June 2013

By Sam Christie

A GRANDFATHER died after crashing his motorbike in Dartford on a road with “faded and poor” markings, an inquest heard.

Brian Reddin was riding along Princes Road when he came off his Kawasaki at the roundabout where the road meets the A282 and M25 on the morning of July 17 last year.

The 56-year-old, of Lunsford Lane, Larkfield, collided with a post and died at the scene. A post-mortem examination ruled the cause of death to be chest injuries.

An inquest into his death at Gravesend’s Old Town Hall on Thursday (June 13) heard how an investigation was launched by Kent County Council into the state of the bus lane markings following the tragedy.

KCC is due to lay down a new road surface and refresh the road markings on the approach to the roundabout.

Forensic collision investigator Angela Holmes, of Kent Police, said: “The roundabout markings are not clear, the markings are faded and poor. “There has been a site visit and it is due to be looked into this financial year.”

North Kent Coroner Roger Hatch told the inquest: “The markings in relation to the bus lane and roundabout - what is the appropriate lane to be in if you’re turning left? The markings are in such condition, again, it’s far from clear.”

Two witnesses claimed a woman driving a white Peugeot 306 crashed into Mr Reddin and caused him to fly off his bike. Paul Hay, who was driving from Darenth towards the A2, told the court the motorcyclist was on the Peugeot’s right-hand side.

He said: “I saw the collision very clearly. I had no traffic behind me in my lane, I had no traffic coming on to the roundabout, I had no traffic ahead of me.

“The white Peugeot moved to the right, it was a very gentle movement but it was a clear movement.”

Jeanette Watts was driving her delivery van from Dartford towards the M25.

Fighting back tears, she told the inquest: “I knew something was going to happen. I can honestly say I’m not 100 per cent sure but it appeared the car hit the motorcycle. The driver of the white Peugeot denied hitting the father of two and causing him to crash.

Frances Tree, the driver of the White Peugeot, was en route to a funeral in Beckenham from her home in Boston, Lincolnshire, when she got lost.

Giving evidence, she said: “He (Mr Reddin) was over my left-hand side, there’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever. “Everything seemed to go into slow motion. I could see his face out of the back passenger window and went into the gantry to get out of his way.”

She added: “I drove straight in the gantry to get out of his way. I don’t know that part of the world and I had instructions to take the first exit.

“He seemed very close to my car, I thought ‘if I didn’t get out the way he was going to hit me’.”

The inquest heard how drivers rushed to help the motorcyclist.

The police investigation into the incident, which happened at about 8am, found no evidence the woman had crashed into the motorcyclist, the inquest heard.

Summing up, Mr Hatch said: “I make it perfectly plain to assert how Brian Reddin came by his death. I am not concerned about matters of liability, cival or criminal matters – that is for the courts decide.

"Having heard the evidence I am satisfied that Mr Reddin’s death was due to an accident.”

He passed on his condolences to the family.

Following the inquest, Mr Reddin’s family said in a statement: "We would just like to thank the two witnesses for attending the inquest and giving their accounts of what happened that devastating day.

“We would also like to thank the witnesses for showing Brian the care that they did and for staying with him. It gives us great comfort that someone was with him when we couldn't be.”

A Kent County Council spokeswoman said: "We were deeply saddened to hear of this tragic accident.

"While the road markings were mentioned at the inquest, the coroner ruled that the cause of the fatality was 'accidental death'.

"We have taken on board the comments about the road markings, and will be laying down a 'high friction' road surface to improve the 'anti-skid' on the approach to the roundabout.

"At the same time, we will also be refreshing the road markings - including the bus lane and the adjacent lane markings."

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