Motorcyclist crushed to death outside Chessington World of Adventures in "unfortunate set of events", coroner rules
A motorcyclist died after being crushed beneath a petrol tanker he tried to overtake, an inquest heard.
Andrew Fitzgerald, 39, from Tillingbourne Road, Shalford, was killed instantly after falling from his Triumph Sprint outside Chessington World of Adventures at about 11.15am on July 18 last year.
The events manager slammed on his brakes after realising he could not overtake the petrol lorry, lost control of his bike, crashed into a traffic island, and fell under the wheels of the 40-tonne tanker.
Mr Fitzgerald’s wife, Susanna, attended the inquest into her husband’s death along with his parents and two sisters at South West London Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, September 18.
The court heard Mr Fitzgerald, who was an experienced motorcyclist, was travelling at 27mph before braking.
A layer of dust and debris on the road may have contributed to him losing control of his bike.
Witness Nokutula Ncube was driving immediately behind the petrol tanker.
She said: “I saw the motorcycle hitting the traffic island in the middle of the road then the driver lost control of the bike and let go of the handle bars.
“The bike fell to the right. The rider was thrown to the left. He went straight under the truck.”
Metropolitan Police collision investigator PC Adrian Armstrong told the court Mr Fitzgerald passed about half of the tanker before braking, which caused his wheels to lock and the bike to slide.
He said: “He was sliding along the road surface for about four-and-a-half metres before he got to the island.”
PC Armstrong said Mr Fitzgerald almost immediately collided with the tanker, which was travelling at 16mph northbound on the A243 to deliver fuel to New Malden’s Tesco petrol station.
He said both drivers were familiar with the Leatherhead Road, in Chessington, and could not have avoided the crash.
Driver of the petrol lorry David Bywaters said he saw the motorbike hit the traffic island, but Mr Fitzgerald was not on it.
He said: “That’s when I noticed that he was under my wheels.”
The court heard Mr Fitzgerald had no sign of alcohol in his blood and showed no sign of life when the ambulance arrived at 11.18am.
Coroner Alison Thompson recorded a verdict of accidental death.
She said: “I am simply dealing with an unfortunate set of events which unfolded.
“This was a genuine accident. “No more could have been done by either party.”