17-year-old Jacob Douglas died 'riding a bike four times more powerful' than licensed to
A Cheddar teenager who died in a motorbike accident on his way to work was riding a bike he was not licensed to use, a court heard on Thursday.
17-year-old Jacob Douglas was killed on April 29 after his motorbike collided with a van and a car on the B3151 in Cheddar Road.
He was on his way to work, sticking-up at a local skittles game.
The court heard evidence from David Beard, a recovery truck driver who had been on his way to look at a new car with his 12-year-old daughter.
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As he took a right-hand-bend, he was confronted with the sight of a motorcycle sliding towards him on its side.
Despite hitting the brakes, he heard a “big thud.”
“There was nothing I could do to avoid it,” he said.
Graham Whitcombe had been overtaken by the bike as he travelled along the road in his Ford Ka at 8.05pm.
“I was doing around 45-50mph,” he said.
“The motorcyclist came up behind me.
“I could see him going around the next bend in front of me.
“He took the corner on a sharp angle – his knee was almost touching the floor.
PC Steven Phipps of the collision investigation unit of the police said there were no defects with any of the vehicles but he noted the motorbike had not had a restriction kit fitted, and Mr Douglas only held a license which allowed him to drive a 125cc bike.
The bike was registered to his father, but Jacob had been insured to ride it.
He estimated the bike had been travelling at around 50-60mph, and that Mr Beard would have had only a second to react to the scene unfolding in front of him.
West Somerset coroner Michael Rose said: “This was a tragic accident that took the life of a young man who was just 18 years old.
“What we have is a young man who was riding a bike four times more powerful than he should have been on – restriction kits are available for a good reason.
“West country roads are not perfect and there is no dispute what happened here.
“I have no doubt that Mr Beard was driving in a proper manner, and what made Jacob take the bends at such speeds, I don’t know.
“There was nothing Mr Beard could have done – he did not have any time to react before what must have been a very powerful impact, and sadly, Jacob died as a result.”
He returned a conclusion of accidental death as a result of multiple injuries and thanked members of the public who had tried to save Jacob’s life by carrying out CPR at the scene.
“This is a tragic matter,” Mr Rose continued. “We have all been young, we all know the pressures that come with that.
“But laws are made for very good reason, and if they had been applied in this case, it may have saved a young man’s life.”
He expressed sympathy to Jake’s friends and family, and assured Mr Beard he was “in no way responsible” for the outcome of the accident.