Big wheels cause new biker's death

2012-10-19 15:01

A biker and his girlfriend died in a crash on his powerful new machine just three days after he had passed his test. It was suggested the inexperience of the parties involved could have contributed to the severity of the crash, as there are increasing calls to restrict younger drivers after passing their driving test.

The Daily Mail reported that an inquest into the crash had learned that the biker, Julian Farley, had passed his riders test only three days earlier.


Farley and his girlfriend, Jessica Ellis, died after he accelerated to overtake a Nissan Micra and collided with a road sign on the A339 in Hampshire, England. The couple was riding Farley’s 865cc Triumph Speedmaster, newly-purchased after the 25-year-old had passed his test.

A police investigation found Farley had been travelling at 108km/h in a 64km/h zone, the Daily Mail further reported.  

A friend of the couple, Imogen Wright, told the hearing that the couple had travelled from Portsmouth to Basingstoke to visit her on the day they died.

Wright said: “Jules had passed his motorcycle test on Wednesday and had bought a new bike.”

“He appeared very proud of his new bike; he took me on a ride around the block.”

The inquest heard that the pair intended to avoid freeways on their journey home.

On the way, they encountered college student Keiran Lenachan, who was travelling with two friends, in his Nissan Micra. The three were preparing to go out for the night.

At the hearing it was recalled that as the 17-year-old Micra driver was in a traffic circle in the left-hand lane, a biker with a pillion passenger in the right-hand tried to take the same exit.

Both drivers were forced to slow and the motorcycle tucked in behind the Micra until they came up behind a slow-moving Renault Clio, it was heard.

As the road widened to into a dual carriageway, Lenachan said he indicated and checked his car’s blind spots before overtaking the Clio.


'He didn’t look like he was going to overtake at all," Lenachan said. “The motorcyclist was directly behind me in my top mirror, probably about six feet or a car length behind.

“As I started overtaking I saw sparks (in my mirror) and someone said "Stop", so I pulled into the lay-by.”

The three got out of the car and ran back along the road, where they found the bodies of Farley and Ellis. A van driver, who had joined other people at the scene, felt for a pulse on Farley but said: “He’s gone.”

Police at the scene found a skidmark which showed that Mr Farley's front tyre had veered towards the centre of the road and gouges were found in the road surface up to the point where the motorcycle came to a rest further along the road.

Antony Johnson, a retired police officer and a member of the Hampshire Police forensic collision investigation team, said: “There is no physical evidence to suggest why the rider had taken this action - presumably because of events taking place in front of the Triumph.

“There is a possibility that experience, or inexperience, may have played a part in this incident,” Johnson added.

The inquest heard that Lenachan was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving but he was never charged.

Andrew Bradley, the coroner for north-east Hampshire, recorded a verdict of accidental death.