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Home Kent News Article
A web designer died when he lost control of his motorbike and hit a lamppost after performing a wheelie, an inquest heard.
Luke Leary had been riding his Suzuki bike on the A228 at High Halstow on June 13 last year.
The 24-year-old, of Ridgeway, Darenth, was travelling on Sharnal Street at about 3:30pm when he hit the kerb after performing the manoeuvre.
This caused Luke to lose control of his motorbike, which veered to the left.
His head hit a lamppost before he struck the ground and the bike scraped along the road before coming to a stop.
The cause of death was given as multiple injuries, which included a fractured skull, broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
He was wearing a crash helmet at the time.
Police were not able to establish what speed Luke had been travelling at, and an inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Luke, who loved bikes from an early age, was with his friend Dean Mayze.
The pair met up in Strood and had something to eat at Nandos before setting off to ride around the lanes on the Hoo Peninsula.
In a witness statement read out at the hearing, Mr Mayze said Luke had performed two wheelies before his third attempt.
The third time, witnesses reported seeing Luke’s bike wobble after he had brought his front wheel back down to complete the manoeuvre.
Martin Stratford, an off-duty police officer, was riding his bicycle in the area. He said: “I noticed the bike began to wobble, it hit the nearside kerb and fell to the side.”
Gervaise Coultrip, who said he was driving around four car lengths behind Luke when the incident happened, said the bike went “crazy” after it clipped the kerb.
He said: “He [Luke] was trying to control it, the front wheel was still in the air. It was jumping about from left to right… It all seemed to be over in a matter of seconds.”
There was a group of girls walking on the opposite side of the road, and in written evidence they said they thought Luke was doing a wheelie to show off to them.
But coroner Patricia Harding said she was not satisfied this was the case, given the fact that he had previously performed two of them.
Addressing the family, she said: “I’m sorry for your loss.
"the accident in this particular case has had a tragic loss of life. i accept from the evidence that luke was an experienced rider" – coroner patricia harding
"The accident in this particular case has had a tragic loss of life. I accept from the evidence that Luke was an experienced rider.
“It wasn’t in accordance with how one should be riding on the road but that said, it was a manoeuvre that he had experience of on a number of previous occasions and I accept the evidence that he was generally competent at it.”
Speaking after the inquest, Luke’s parents, Stuart and Lisa Coates said it was “impossible” to explain the pain and grief caused by his death.
“He lived for thrills, excitement and laughter there was never a dull moment with Luke.
“We are amazed at how many people knew Luke and it has been a comfort seeing and hearing the huge number of tributes from friends who loved and respected him.”
“A Facebook tribute page has nearly two hundred members and we have had contact from people as far away as America and Canada.
“One of his best friends has had Luke’s ‘life motto’ tattooed on his right arm “We’re here for a good time, not a long time”.
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