Dad, 24, killed while speeding on rural road just weeks after passing driving test



A motorcyclist died after crashing head-on into a car just weeks after passing his driving test.

Kyle Barlow had passed his test allowing him to ride his 600cc Yamaha R6 less than two months before he crashed into a Toyota Hilux traveling at about 6pm on Friday, October 8 last year.

The 24-year-old was riding along the A588 Lancaster Road between Cockerham and Pilling, in Lancashire, when he lost control while speeding around a bend.

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An inquest on Tuesday (March 8) heard that Mr Barlow, a groundworker who lived in Blackpool, was taken to Royal Preston Hospital but died the following day. Eyewitness Paul Lewis, who was driving the Toyota, had been on his way to pick up his son from Cockerham at the time of the crash, Lancs Live reports.

“I’d just moved house and was going back to my caravan at Pilling to pick up my son to go and get some paint from B&Q in Preston,” Mr Lewis told the hearing at Preston Coroner’s Court.

“I was following some other cars on the A588. I’ve had a caravan up there for 12 years, that’s why I decided to move up there, it’s fantastic I love it.”

The inquest heard Mr Lewis had only had the Hilux, his work vehicle, for six months. As he went round the bend where he would meet Mr Barlow he slowed down to 41mph – a speed which was later confirmed by the airbag module on his truck.

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“It’s a winding road and it’s quite a dangerous road if you don’t know it,” Mr Lewis said.

“It’s national speed limit but a lot of people go a lot faster down it. That particular corner that Kyle didn’t see is one of the worst.”

Mr Lewis recalled seeing Mr Barlow ‘almost clip’ the car in front of him and, a motorcyclist himself, could see Mr Barlow brake which caused his bike to ‘sit up’ and continue traveling in a straight line.

“It happened so fast but it seemed really slow,” he said.

“I moved over as much as I could and braked but not too much because I thought if I could get past him he might miss but he didn’t quite get to the corner and he lost control because he was braking. If he had sat back off the accelerator he possibly would have gone round [the corner] but he sat up. It was as if time had slowed down, it was very strange, as soon as the crash happened time sped back up.

“I couldn’t see behind me as he’d hit my mirror and all I could hear was the roar of the motorbike as it impacted.”

The inquest heard Mr Lewis has not ridden his own motorbike since the collision last October. Mr Barlow, dad to Patience, was taken to Royal Preston Hospital but he never regained consciousness. The cause of death was given as a devastating brain injury.

PC Barry Moore, from Lancashire Constabulary’s Collision Investigation Unit, told the inquest he estimated that Mr Barlow had been riding at 71mph when he rode into the bend. The officer confirmed there were signs to indicate a left-hand bend as well as chevrons on the road surface to warn motorists. There were no defects with either vehicle or the road and the weather was dry and visibility good at the time of the crash.

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“He has tried to apply the brakes which has caused the bike to sit up and he has gone onto the opposing lane,” PC Moore added. “There was nothing else [Mr Lewis] could have done to avoid that collision.”

Concluding that Mr Barlow died as a result of a road traffic collision, Area Coroner Richard Taylor said: “It may be that Mr Barlow was a little inexperienced with the size, speed and power of the bike he was riding. He had only very recently passed his test to ride such a bike.For whatever reason it would seem that at the time of the collision the speed of his bike was inappropriate for the negotiation of the bend.

“It would appear he recognized that and was trying to brake but as we have heard from Mr Lewis and PC Moore in braking as hard as he would have that would make the bike sit up and go straight on. That would mean he would not go around the coroner and he would cross into the other carriageway.

“Mr Lewis – he himself a motorcyclist, on coming round the bend could see Mr Barlow approaching him, and thinking that the speed was too much recognized what Mr Barlow was trying to do in braking, and Mr Lewis did what he possibly could to avoid the collision by slowing down and moving as far as he possibly could. Sadly it would seem that whatever Mr Lewis would try to do it was inevitable that the collision would occur and very sadly it did.”

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After Mr Barlow’s death his family, who did not attend today’s inquest, released a tribute to him.

They said at the time: “From an early age Kyle loved being involved with both BMX and motor cross and has been passionate about bikes. He will be missed by his parents Anne-Marie and Lee, his brothers Jordan, Reece, JayJay and Logan, his girlfriend Rebecca, niece Sofia and especially his daughter Patience, and all other family members and friends.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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