‘This was just an accident’ says father of Blackskull Road biker

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The family of a 24-year-old Blackskull Road biker who was killed in Lisburn in 2012 in a two-vehicle crash, have said that they accepted that ‘it was just an accident’.

Neil Graham, a mechanical engineer, was killed in a motorbike accident and sustained head injuries when his bike struck a Nissan Quashqai car on the Hillsborough Road at Woodland Park on May 11, 2012.

The other driver, Rebecca Richards, who was 17 at the time, wept uncontrollably as she gave evidence to the inquest via video link.

At the hearing at Belfast Coroner’s Court, barrister Neil Rafferty acting on behalf of the Graham family read out a statement.

“The deceased’s father said to me, ‘I wish she would just understand that this was just an accident. He was going too fast; she turned right when she shouldn’t have. It was just an accident.’”

Mr Graham had been wearing a helmet and leathers at the time and was travelling at speeds between 55 to 77mph when he hit the car that was turning right.

Forensic scientist Dr Emerson Calendar said he believed that motorcycle should have been visible to the motorists for at least 3.5 seconds before the impact.

Coroner John Leckey, said that he believes that a hard hitting ad in the 1970’s should be aired again to make motorists more aware of motorcyclists. He said that the advert ‘Think Once, Think Twice, Think Bike’ was still relevant even now.

The advert features actor Eddie Judd and is part of a campaign aimed at making motorists more aware of the risks bikers face.

“It is a good catchphrase,” said Mr Leckey.

Ms Richards sat with her head in her hands.

She told the court that she had deliberately blanked out the accident.

She said: “I have honestly blanked it out. I don’t want to remember and I didn’t want to listen to what was said but I had to. I didn’t see him.”

Mr Leckey, described the accident as a ‘tragedy,’

“We cannot rewind time,” he said.

In his findings he concluded Mr Graham died as a result of head injuries sustained in the collision.

The coroner also expressed ‘deep sympathies’ to the Graham family.

He added, “I hope that the fact that the inquest has now concluded will be of assistance to the grieving process. It is an event that had to happen and it has now happened. You can both try to move on.”