A 30-year-old man who died when his motorbike collided with a car on a major Derbyshire road was travelling 'in excess of the speed limit', an inquest heard.
Robert Baker was riding a green Kawasaki motorcycle on the B6013 Chesterfield Road, Pentrich, on May 13 2018 when his vehicle crashed into an oncoming Riley RMA Saloon.
The HGV driver was taken to Queen’s Medical Centre but was pronounced dead a short time later. The driver of the Riley, a 66-year-old man, was also taken to hospital with serious injuries.
An inquest at Chesterfield Coroner’s Court on Friday heard that Mr Baker, from Sutton-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, had been travelling along the road as part of a group of six bikers who “may have been encouraging other to drive competitively” before the crash.
Four of the men were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving but were released pending a police investigation.
Forensic collision investigator, PC Nick Bettney, of Derbyshire Police, said that Go Pro cameras were seized from the group containing footage which showed the motorcyclists driving ‘at very high speeds’.
PC Bettney added that the Crown Prosecution Service was currently assessing whether charges should be brought against one of the motorcyclists.
Mr Baker’s heartbroken father, William Baker, claimed that the motorcyclist in question had been attempting to race his son and overtake him on the left, causing him to swerve into the opposing carriageway.
He argued that the motorcyclist ‘must have been’ travelling ‘in close proximity’ to his son at the time of the collision, as his leathers and motorcycle were ‘covered in coolant fluid’ that had exploded from Mr Baker’s engine on impact.
“I just want whoever caused the death of my son to pay for what they did,” he said, going on to describe him as a ‘good, well-kept lad’ who ‘had never been in trouble before’.
But area coroner for Derbyshire, Peter Nieto, said there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to back up these ‘firm views’.
He added: “While members of the group may have been encouraging other to break the speed limit, it was the decision of each individual member to drive in that manner- posing serious risk to themselves and to others.”
Mr Nieto concluded that Mr Baker had died from combined thoracic and abdominal injuries in a road traffic collision.
Hundreds of tributes left to Mr Baker at the time of his death painted him as 'a lovely young lad' who 'had a fantastic outlook on life'.
Cousin Emily White said: "I will be sure to take extra care when driving today. And for the rest of my life. A life that had just begun, sadly snatched away.
"I will not cry for the loss, I will smile for all the memories, jokes, outrageous banter and laughs.
"Our family won't be the same again."
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