‘Target fixation’ may have been a factor in motorcyclist’s death


- Credit: Archant

A “split-second decision” made by a biker who was killed when his motorcycle collided with a van may have cost him his life, an inquest heard.

Ben Daniells, died on March 20, in a crash on the B645, in Great Staughton, when he became unseated from his blue Honda Hornet motorcycle before being hit by a silver Renault van.

An inquest held at Lawrence Court, in Huntingdon, on Thursday, heard that Mr Daniells was on his way back from Moggerhanger, in Bedfordshire, with his father, Raymond, when the accident occurred.

Raymond Daniells said: “We were having a lovely ride together; I don’t know what went wrong.

“I don’t know what made me look but I saw Ben and his bike flying through the air,” he added in his statement.

“There was nothing to suggest that he was having any difficulties or wanting to stop.”

Senior coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, David Heming, heard that before the accident, Mr Daniells of Rounds Road, Wellingborough, and his father were following a Vauxhall car before the pair decided to over-take the vehicle.

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The driver of the Vauxhall, James Jarvis said he had “no cause for concern” when

Raymond overtook as there was a clear view of the road ahead and felt the same when Ben, an agricultural worker, began the same manoeuvre.

The Renault van was being driven by Ronald Stanley-Smith, from Perry, who, in his statement, recalled seeing Mr Daniells and his father overtake the Vauxhall before the 26-year-old “went down in a heap”.

In evidence at the inquest, collision investigator Simon Burgin said that Mr Daniells was going between 55 to 58 mph but that there was a possibility “that he [Mr Daniells] thought he was travelling at a greater speed” and would have made the “split -second decision” to apply the breaks to slow himself down.

Mr Burgin added that this would have caused the motorbike to tip and Mr Daniells to skid down the road.

He said the evidence pointed to Mr Daniells, being an experienced rider, but added that a phenomenon known as ‘target fixation’ might have been a factor.

Mr Heming recorded a conclusion that Mr Daniells’ death was accidental.