A CORONER has expressed concerns about damaged road signs on a bendy Bostock road, where a man died in a crash in April.

Steve Thomas, of Ann Street in Northwich, was riding his motorbike with a sidecar when the wheels lifted off the ground during a turn in London Road.

Although the coroner Peter Sigee could not attribute the crash to the damaged chevron warning sign – especially given the accompanying ‘reduce speed now’ and ‘slow’ markings – he expressed his relief that the signs had been quickly repaired.

An inquest in Crewe heard that Mr Thomas had been driving safely and responsibly prior to the crash, which occurred when his sidecar wheels lifted off the ground while negotiating a left hand bend.

The momentum carried avid biker and lifelong motorcycle enthusiast Mr Thomas into the path of an oncoming Audi. He died at the scene, aged 63.

His son, Richard, told the coroner his dad had worked with motorcycles since the age of 15, riding consistently from 16 – undeterred by an accident which cost him his right leg in 1977.

Richard said: “From the 1980s onwards, he was working as a mechanic, and was very fond of riding and maintaining bikes.

“In 2015 he bought a motorbike with a side car, fitted by a friend. He weighed the sidecar down with a ballast.

“He was in high spirits in April. He had spent the day before [the crash] with me and my children, spoiling them as usual. He was jovial.”

Mr Thomas, a security guard, had been driving home from work via a garden centre visit when the crash occurred, shortly before noon on Sunday, April 8.

The driver of the Audi, Emma McCall, was driving in convoy with her husband, Stephen, behind her.

She told the inquest: “I was coming around the corner and he was towards the middle of the carriageway on the correct side, but the [sidecar] wheels were off the ground.

I was praying that it would right itself. I just kept focusing on the wheels because I was willing them to right themselves.

“They kept going and the bike went upside down, and I lost sight of Mr Thomas. My car was launched into the air and then everything stopped. I tried to phone the ambulance – I was distraught.”

The coroner also heard from a man driving in front of the Audi, who said the wheels had only started to lift as the bike took the corner.

Amy O’Shaughnessy, who was driving behind Mr Thomas for around 10 minutes prior to the accident, said: “I was very conscious that he was driving very responsibly.

“He just seemed to be enjoying a Sunday afternoon drive – even when he overtook some cyclists, he gave them a wide berth before returning to his side of the road.

“He slowed down approaching the bend, but as he hit it the wheels of his sidecar raised up in the air. I was just hoping they would come down again, but as they raised he veered more into the centre of the road, hit the front right wing of the Audi and flew through the air.

“I got out and tried to speak to him but unfortunately there was no response. It all happened very fast.”

A pathologist and toxicologist agreed that there was no trace of alcohol or any substances in Mr Thomas’ system. A crash specialist at Cheshire Police calculated the bike had been travelling at 37mph when it overturned – well below the 60mph speed limit – with Mrs McCall driving at between 30mph and 40mph.

Mr Sigee concluded that Mr Thomas had died as a result of multiple injuries sustained in a road traffic collision.