Thursday 13 December 2018

'He'd still be alive if his helmet hadn't come off' - family of young man killed in motorbike collision

Family members of Stephen Hyland outside Dublin Coroner's Court
Family members of Stephen Hyland outside Dublin Coroner's Court

Louise Roseingrave

The family of a motorcyclist say their loved one would still be alive if his helmet had not come off in the collision that killed him.

Stephen Hyland (24) from Rusheeney Avenue, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 died of head injuries following a collision on Hartstown Road in Dublin on October 22 2016.

The clasp style mechanism on his helmet failed after Mr Hyland clipped the bike in front of him and lost control of his bike.

“We believe he’d still be alive if his helmet had not come off. Physically he was fine but for his head injuries,” the man's brother Michael Lowry said.

Stephen Hyland
Stephen Hyland

Family members described Stephen was kind, thoughtful, quiet and much loved.

“He had a heart of gold,” Mr Lowry said. “People need to be aware of this danger. We just want to prevent this happening anyone else,” he added.

Mr Hyland was travelling at the rear of a convoy of four motorcyclists along Hartstown Road when the accident happened around 6.45pm. As the bikers ahead of him slowed down, his Yamaha bike struck ‘a glancing blow’ to the motorcycle directly in front. Dublin Coroner’s Court that the rear of his bike kicked out and the bike went into a slide. Mr Hyland slid a total of 34m along the road and lost his helmet as he slid. He collided with a kerb and sustained devastating injuries described by the coroner as ‘inconsistent with survival.’

Witness Chris Doyle said he saw ‘a massive amount of sparks.’

“The four were in single file...Next thing I saw the tail of the bike kick out towards the grass verge and the motorcyclist went straight down.” he said.

Mr Hyland was wearing a helmet with a clasp buckle and a strap that has no stitching at the end to prevent the strap pulling right through the clasp.

This type of helmet can be bought online for less than €100, Alan Kavanagh of Arai Helmets, who was brought in as an expert witness told the court. His company supplies helmets to An Garda Siochana.

“A traditional ‘Double D’ strap will not pull through. The double D is the only strap that’s approved in all types of motor sport.” Mr Kavanagh said.

Asked if there were any guidelines for motorcyclists buying helmets, Mr Kavanagh said the only advice would be from sales assistants in shops.

“However in a lot of cases helmets are bought online where there is no advice,” he said.

Mr Hyland sustained devastating injuries in the collision. He was pronounced dead at Connolly Hospital. The cause of death given at autopsy was head injuries due to a road traffic collision.

The autopsy found no trace of alcohol or drugs in his system.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

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