Motorcyclist died after helmet clasp failed, inquest hears

Coroner hears warning against buying helmets online without professional advice

Stephen Hyland died of head injuries following a crash   in Dublin.

Stephen Hyland died of head injuries following a crash in Dublin.


The family of a motorcyclist has said he would still be alive if his helmet had not come off in the crash that killed him.

Stephen Hyland (24) from Rusheeney Avenue, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 died of head injuries following a collision on Hartstown Road in Dublin on October 22nd, 2016.

The clasp on his helmet failed after Mr Hyland clipped the motocycle in front of him and lost control of his Yamaha bike.

“We believe he’d still be alive if his helmet had not come off. Physically he was fine but for his head injuries,” his brother Michael Lowry said.

Family members described Stephen was kind, thoughtful, quiet and much loved.

“He had a heart of gold,” Mr Lowry said. “People need to be aware of this danger. We just want to prevent this happening anyone else,” he added.

Mr Hyland was travelling at the rear of a convoy of four motorcyclists along Hartstown Road. As the riders ahead of him slowed down, his bike struck “a glancing blow” to the motorcycle directly in front.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard the rear of his bike kicked out and he slid 34m along the road, losing his helmet. He hit a kerb and sustained injuries described by the coroner as “inconsistent with survival”.

He was pronounced dead at Connolly Hospital. The cause of death given at autopsy was head injuries. The autopsy found no trace of alcohol or drugs in his system.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Mr Hyland was wearing a helmet with a clasp buckle and a strap that had no stitching at the end to prevent the strap pulling right through the clasp.

This type of helmet can be bought online for less than €100, Alan Kavanagh of Arai Helmets, told the court. His company supplies helmets to An Garda Síochána.

“A traditional ‘double D’ strap will not pull through. The double D is the only strap that’s approved in all types of motor sport,” Mr Kavanagh said.

Asked if there were any guidelines for motorcyclists buying helmets, Mr Kavanagh said the only advice would be from sales assistants in shops. “However, in a lot of cases helmets are bought online where there is no advice,” he said.