A sneeze may have cost a motorcyclist his life on a notorious stretch of road, an inquest has heard.
Hayfever sufferer Alex Leigh Page, aged 25, died after he came off his motorbike on the A630 Sheffield Road in Conisbrough.
The railway engineer – who was due to get married – had been on his way to Bradford to complete the sale of the motorbike he was riding, a green Kawasaki ZX6.
His elder brother, James Richard Page, was making the journey too in his red Peugeot, intending to drive Alex back to his home, in Burcroft Hill, Conisbrough, afterwards.
James had been driving in front of Alex at the time of the collision on June 27 last year and a black Renault van had been driving behind both of them.
The accident happened at just after 5pm on the 60mph single carriageway north of Archers Way.
In a statement read to Doncaster Coroner’s Court, James said Alex had been suffering from hayfever symptoms earlier that day, including sneezing and itchy eyes.
He said: “We’d just come through some temporary traffic lights when I looked in my mirrors and saw a motorbike fly up in the air. There was lots of dust. I knew it was Alex.
“I don’t know why he came off, he was always a careful rider. He’d had his licence for six months and went out on his bike at weekends. He’d never been in any kind of accident before.”
Alex died from multiple injuries at the scene.
Investigating officer Neil Morrell, told the inquest: “There is no explanation as to why Alex lost control of the motorbike, he had been driving responsibly and at a reasonable speed. It is possible that he could have suffered from a bout of sneezing because of hayfever, and that caused a momentary lapse in concentration, but it is impossible to say for sure.”
The driver of the Renault van, Joel Williams, stopped and tried to help Alex. His girlfriend Melissa Stevenson, who was also in the van with their six-month-old daughter Lottie, called an ambulance.
Joel, who was visibly distressed, told the inquest: “The Peugeot was in front of me and then the motorbike came past me. He was close to the kerb, but he wasn’t driving inappropriately.
“I didn’t see it happen, I just saw a big cloud of dust. I stopped the van, but I couldn’t see anything because of the dust. I got out and shouted to the rider to see if he was okay. I got no response from him.”
PC Mark Smith, a collision investigator, confirmed that there had been no defects with the bike or the road which could have contributed to the crash.