Tragic motorbike death crash at Wheddon Cross was ‘unavoidable’

Tragic motorbike death crash at Wheddon Cross was ‘unavoidable’

MOTORCYCLIST Michael Mangan, left, and his son Dave.

THE scene of the collision at Wheddon Cross last September. PHOTO: Submitted.

First published in News

NOTHING could have been done to prevent the death of a motorcyclist who crashed head-on into a van, a coroner has ruled.

Grandfather Michael Mangan, aged 72, from Bolton, died from multiple traumatic injuries while overtaking on a bend along the A396 in Wheddon Cross, Somerset, on September 11.

Mr Mangan, a keen motorcyclist and senior observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists, was returning to Minehead with his son Insp Dave Mangan from a trip to Land’s End, the inquest in Taunton on Thursday heard.

Gina McIntyre, who had been travelling in front of them, said: “Traffic was slow-moving but the two motorcyclists behind me appeared to be in no hurry and I didn’t feel threatened by them at any point.

“The road is narrow and bending so there are very few opportunities to overtake.

“When the road straightened out a bit, the first motorcyclist overtook at about 40 to 45 miles per hour and managed to overtake all three cars in front.

“When the second motorcyclist overtook, he was travelling at a safe speed but he was over the white line for the other side of the road and I could see a yellow van in the other lane.

“The motorcycle struck the van – it was like an explosion.

“There was smoke, bits flying everywhere. The motorcycle had gone into a hedge.”

Mr Langan was found in a field. Belgian doctor Anton Wildier, who had been travelling on the road, was the first to treat Mr Mangan.

Another witness, Steven Jones, said the van driver, Patrick Stuthers, had been travelling at a safe speed.

Insp Mangan told the court how he sat in the field for a few hours afterwards.

He said: “I saw my father’s headlights raise up, meaning he was accelerating, I was concerned as I didn’t know if he had seen the van.

“I stopped at Wheddon Cross and a car pulled up beside me and asked had I been travelling with another motorcyclist as there had been an accident.

“When I found my father in the field, I saw the doctor carrying out CPR and I said he was gone.”

Police officer Sam Paul said there would have only been a second between the drivers seeing each other and the collision due to the bend in the road.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, West Somerset coroner Michael Rose said: “I am satisfied that Mr Struthers could have done nothing to prevent the accident.

“This is a tragic case and I extend my deepest sympathies to the family.”

Insp Dave Mangan has launched a campaign to ensure other riders get home safely .

You can watch the film, ‘Mike’s Last Ride’, which offers advice, on YouTube.

He said: “The campaign is a positive legacy for a wonderful man who didn’t deserve to go as he did.”

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