‘Happy-go-lucky’ young biker died on his way to work after crashing into a lorry

A ‘happy-go-lucky’ young man died after he collided with a lorry while riding his motorbike, an inquest heard.

Joseph Elliott left his home in Chadderton, Oldham, at around 7.20am on March 26, 2019, on his Kawasaki bike and headed to work at The Wheel Specialist.

The 22-year-old, known as Joe, was driving along at least 35 miles per hour past stationary traffic before the collision.

The driver of the lorry had indicated to move left and as he turned, Joe’s bike collided with the near side of the vehicle.

Joe was taken to the Manchester Royal Infirmary but sadly died of a traumatic chest injury.

His death have left his family ‘devastated’ and the HGV driver feeling like he ‘will never get over’ what happened.

Paying tribute to Joe, dad Simon Elliott told the inquest how he was ‘loving son’ who ‘would go out of his way to help anyone’.

He was ‘very helpful’ to his siblings and had three younger brothers and a sister.

“He was just a happy-go-lucky guy”, Mr Elliott added.

He said the entire family had been left devastated after Joe’s death.

“We as a family are devastated by what happened”, Mr Elliott told the hearing.

“Things won’t ever be the same again.

“His wider family are all heartbroken too and his younger brothers are still badly affected.”

An inquest into his death at Manchester Coroners’ Court heard how Joe left home for work as normal on the day of the tragedy.

He was an experienced motorcyclist who got his first bike at 16 and took the same route to get to work everyday.

Gary Boyle, the driver of the HGV, said he had left his depot in Horncastle at 3.45am that morning to deliver some supplies to a company.

He was stationary in his 52-foot long vehicle at a set of traffic lights at around 7.50am, the inquest heard.

As the lights turned green, he used his right indicator and moved over to the right lane of the carriageway as the inside lane turns into a bus lane.

After he had moved over, he immediately put his left indicator on to show that he would be turning left down Ridings Street.

“Once I had made my manoeuvre, I immediately changed indicators to the left”, Mr Boyle said.

“I double checked my mirrors, triple checked my mirrors in fact. I am always very vigilant when making any manoeuvre.

“I was driving very cautiously and only when I am 100 per cent positive will I make a turn.

“I was driving about one or two miles per hour as I made the turn, I did not see any bike or hear any bike until the impact.”

Mr Boyle called the emergency services as soon as he realised that Joe’s bike had collided with his lorry.

Police tested him for any drugs or alcohol in his system at the scene and both tests came back negative.

PC Paul Joynson, of Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, told the inquest how Mr Boyle was initially arrested following the incident but after giving a ‘full and frank account’ of what happened, was eliminated from the enquiry.

Police found that Mr Boyle was an experienced driver who was fit to drive his vehicle and had passed all of the necessary checks and tests.

Jamie Taylor, an eyewitness who was also driving on the road on the day of the incident, said in a statement that he was stationary at a junction in his car when he first noticed a motorbike driving past traffic.

He said the bike was ‘going fast’ and ‘drove close to his car on the left’.

“The bike did not slow down as it drove past my car”, Mr Taylor added.

“The traffic started to move off very slowly and there was a side road on the left.

“I saw the lorry turn very slowly as if to go down the road on the left hand side and the bike hit the side of the lorry.

“The driver landed on the pavement and the traffic then stopped on both sides of the road.”

Joe died at the Manchester Royal Infirmary despite the best efforts of medics.

The medical cause of his death was recorded as multiple injuries.

A toxicology report showed there was a small amount of cannabis in Joe’s system at the time of his death.

The amount – 1.8 microgrammes per litre of blood – was below the legal limit allowed for driving of 2 microgrammes.

Toxicologist Dr Evans said it was ‘not possible to provide any specific comment as to whether this would have affected his decision at the time of his death’.

Recording a conclusion of a road traffic accident, coroner John Hobson said: “On the morning of March 26, 2019, Joe was travelling by motorcycle towards Manchester along Oldham Road when he was involved in a collision with an articulated lorry which had been begun to turn left into Ridings Street.

“He suffered traumatic injuries and was transferred to the Manchester Royal Infirmary but he was sadly pronounced dead.

“It’s clear that he was much-loved son and brother and is missed by all of his family.”

The hearing heard how Joe loved socialising with friends and playing pool.

He was a pupil at the former St Augustine’s High School in Oldham before going on to study catering at The Manchester College.

He worked as a chef at The Hornet pub and restaurant in Rochdale before taking a full-time role at The Wheel Specialist.

After his death, his mum Mel said: “He was a real hard-working lad. He worked part-time since he was 14 and was never out of a job.

“He was a motorsports fan and a complete and utter Harry Potter fan. He loved his Formula One.

“He lived life to the full really – he loved his brothers, loved his sister and loved his family.

“He will always be here with us.

“He had a huge smile and he will always be loved. He would help anyone – he was that sort of person.”

Joe’s family asked for donations to North West Blood Bikes in his memory after his death, as he was a blood donor.

The charity consists of volunteer bikers who answer calls from hospitals or ride out to help deliver urgent supplies of blood, platelets or samples.

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