Man, 85, died after his quad bike collided with car at junction

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 yesterday.

Man, 85, died after his quad bike collided with car at junction

By Marese McDonagh

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 yesterday.

Nicholas Murtagh died in Sligo University Hospital on June 17 last year — two weeks after the incident near his home at Doocastle, Ballymote, Co Sligo, on the Ballymote to Charlestown road.

A jury sitting in Sligo Coroner’s Court recommended that people driving quads should wear helmets and that, where overgrown hedges cause a safety risk, they should be cut back by the relevant authorities.

Eamon MacGowan, the coroner, was told that some insurance companies insure quads under farm insurance.

He was also told by gardaí that quad bikes must have a certificate of conformity and are restricted to a speed limit of 30km/h.

Martin Coffey, who was driving the car which collided with Mr Murtagh’s quad bike, said he believed he was travelling at a speed of 80km/h.

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

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 — no prosecution was recommended, the coroner heard.

Mr Coffey had the right of way at the junction.

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

Local woman Eleanor O’Connor told the jury that he was always a very careful driver.

She said vegetation was overgrown at this junction. 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.

Mr MacGowan, the coroner, recommended a verdict of accidental death.

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

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