Motorcyclist died after being hit by bird on Mortimer Road in Sheffield, inquest hears, as family pay tribute
The family of a motorcyclist who was hit by a bird and died in Sheffield have paid tribute at the inquest into his death.
William Jackson, known to his friends and family as Bill, was riding along Mortimer Road in Bradfield when a bird, believed to be a grouse, hit his helmet, causing him to crash and die.
At his inquest, his family described how the 73-year-old retired manager, who was born in Sheffield and lived in Huddersfield at the time of his death, had been ‘very fit’ and ran a marathon only last year.
His widow, Carol, told how he was a passionate biker but when she was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago he had dropped all his hobbies to devote his time to helping her recover from the operation she needed.
His stepdaughter Leanne Schofield said: “He was an amazing, generous man.
"If he had been a witness to the accident that happened to him, he would have been there trying to resuscitate and doing the best he could.
"When I was at university, I had a massive relapse and he used to carry me to bed basically. He would feed me and everything.
"He was an amazing man, very generous and full of life. He didn’t live like he was in his 70s; he lived like he was in his 20s.”
Mr Jackson’s daughter, Rachel Wibberley, said: “He was an amazing and loving father, who had a heart of gold for all who needed his support.
"My dad was taken away from us all too early by a tragic freak accident and everybody who knew my dad held the utmost respect for his kindness and ability to lift people’s hearts and put a smile on their faces.
"Dad was my rock and he inspired me from an early age to always treat everyone kindly. Words can’t express the void left in my life. He will always live within our hearts and he has paved the way for the Jackson family unit to be reunited and close again.”
The inquest, held at Sheffield Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, November 9, heard how Mr Jackson had been riding on his Yamaha bike towards Stocksbridge on March 30 this year and had just overtaken two cars when he was struck by a bird on his helmet shortly after midday.
Michael Pennells, a forensic collisions investigator for South Yorkshire Police, read statements from two witnesses who recalled seeing the bird fly out from the right hand side of the road and hit Mr Jackson.
One of the witnesses described seeing the much-loved grandfather slump in his vehicle and start veering to the right, before his bike came off the road, flipped, throwing him from the vehicle, and landed on the other side of a fence.
Mr Pennells said there was nothing to suggest Mr Jackson had been driving too fast or carelessly on the 60mph country road before being hit by the bird and losing control in what the coroner Katy Dickinson described as a ‘freak’ accident.
He added that there was no evidence of any road defects or weather conditions which might have contributed to the crash.
PC Sam Clifford told how one of the witnesses had got out of his car and begun giving Mr Jackson CPR before paramedics arrived to take over, but despite their efforts he was pronounced dead at the scene at 12.48pm.
Ms Dickinson concluded that Mr Jackson had died as a result of a road traffic collision.
She said: “He was riding his motorcycle appropriately when he was struck by a bird, which caused him to leave the carriageway and he died as a result of the collision.”
She added: “It must break your hearts. I’m so sorry you have found yourselves here today.”