Plea for lorry rear view cameras after death of motorcyclist
A GRIEVING family wants all lorries to be fitted with rear-view cameras following the death of a much-loved father and husband.
Experienced motorcyclist Michael Ellis stopped in the blindspot behind a large lorry just before it started reversing, an inquest heard.
The workshop manager was dragged 80 metres under the rear of the HGV before its driver realised there was something wrong, Gloucestershire Deputy Coroner David Dooley was told at the county coroner's court.
Mr Ellis, 41, of Willow Close, Woodmancote, died at the scene near Moreton-in-Marsh from multiple injuries, and the coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.
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Following the hearing, his wife Barbara said: "We are still trying to come to terms with his loss. His sudden and tragic death has left his family and friends in deep shock.
"He was brought up in a family of bikers and has been riding all his life. He loved nothing more than tinkering with bikes and restoring them.
"With the youngest of our three children in the middle of her finals at university, Mike and I had spent the weekend before he died planning the rest of our lives together."
She said she hoped lessons would be learned, and drivers unable to see behind them would stop and consider whether it was safe to reverse, making sure their intention was clear.
She said a campaign should also be started to require all lorries to have rear-view cameras fitted.
Currently, not all lorries are equipped with them.
The inquest heard that Mr Ellis, a former RAC patrolman, worked for Watsonian Squire at the Northwick Business Park near Blockley.
When the accident happened on April 2, he was road-testing a customer's bike in the business park.
Lorry driver Geoffrey Nicholls, who works for Palletline, was looking for an address in the park for a delivery.
He said he drove within the speed limit, regularly checking his mirrors, then thought he had gone too far, so stopped to reverse and ask for directions.
He put his rigid 18 metres-long HGV into reverse and checked his mirrors, which were clear, before starting to slowly reverse.
The vehicle had reversing lights and an audible warning which were both working, but he had the cab windows closed and he heard nothing.
He only realised something was wrong and stopped when he saw one of the motorbike's wheels in his mirror.
Accident investigator Darren Williams found that Mr Ellis had ridden up behind the lorry, right into the large blindspot where he was completely invisible to Mr Nicholls. Mr Williams said Mr Ellis had no time to get out of the way.
Summing up, Mr Dooley said in such situations, the Highway Code advised bikers to position themselves to one side or the other of the HGV so that they could be seen.
"But Mr Ellis appears to have stopped without being visible in the HGV's mirrors on this occasion," he said.
Speaking from her Woodmancote home yesterday, Mrs Ellis, 48, said she was moving away from the home she and Mr Ellis had shared.
She said: "He would do anything for anyone. People came knocking on the door, and he would always go to help out. He was that sort of person. He would help tow people out of snow drifts.
"I'm still feeling torn apart. I can't bear to be here, there are too many memories around here with his workshop."