Quad bike rider (85) died in collision with car, inquest hears

Jury urges cutting of overgrown hedges after possible blocking of Nicholas Murtagh’s view

Nicholas Murtagh died in Sligo University Hospital on June 17th, 2017, two weeks after the crash near his home at Doocastle, Ballymote, Co Sligo. Photograph: Alan Betson

Nicholas Murtagh died in Sligo University Hospital on June 17th, 2017, two weeks after the crash near his home at Doocastle, Ballymote, Co Sligo. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

An 85-year-old man died after the quad bike he was driving was in collision with a car at a junction on a rural road in Co Sligo, an inquest heard on Monday.

Nicholas Murtagh died in Sligo University Hospital on June 17th, 2017, two weeks after the crash on the Ballymote to Charlestown road near his home at Doocastle, Ballymote, Co Sligo .

A jury at Sligo Coroners Court recommended that people driving quad bikes should wear helmets and they also urged that where overgrown hedges cause a safety risk, they should be cut back by the relevant authorities.

During the inquest, coroner Eamon MacGowan was told that some insurance companies insure quads under farm insurance. He was also told by gardaí that quads must have a certificate of conformity and are restricted to a speed limit of 30km/h.

Martin Coffey, the driver of the car which collided with Mr Murtagh’s quad bike, said he believed his car was travelling at about 80km/h.

Right of way

He said he had jammed on his brakes and tried to avoid the quad bike when it pulled out from the left in front of him.

Mr Coffey had the right of way at the junction.

The jury heard that Mr Coffey’s phone was later examined by an expert who found that there had been no incoming or outgoing texts or messages at the time of the collision. A file had been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions and no prosecution was recommended, the coroner heard.

A number of witnesses said that Mr Murtagh was always very careful on the quad.

Local woman Eleanor O’Connor told the jury he was always a very careful driver. She said vegetation was overgrown at the junction where the crash happened. There was also Garda evidence that Mr Murtagh’s view would have been diminished because the hedge and vegetation were so overgrown at the junction.

The coroner recommended a verdict of accidental death and the jury also found that the cause of death was blunt force head trauma as a result of a road traffic accident.