Speed a factor in death — coroner

The crash happened on Cardrona Valley Rd. File photo: Getty Images
The crash happened on Cardrona Valley Rd. File photo: Getty Images
An Albert Town man who crashed his motorbike near Cardrona four years ago "loved to ride fast", a coroner’s report says.

A motorist found the body of Matthew Simon Clark, 44, near his Yamaha YZF1 motorbike in a paddock by Cardrona Valley Rd on the morning of March 6, 2020.

In her findings, coroner Ruth Thomas said Mr Clark failed to negotiate a left-hand bend and rode straight ahead off the road, across a gravel berm, down a grass bank and through a wire fence into the paddock.

A pathologist concluded the cause of death was probably asphyxiation as a result of the chin bar of his helmet pushing against his nose and mouth as he lay face down and comatose on the ground.

A toxicology analysis detected cannabis in his blood, although the amount and level of impairment it may have caused to his riding was unknown .

Several witnesses saw and heard a Japanese motorbike with a rider in black clothing on the road between 7pm and 8.30pm the previous evening, Ms Thomas said.

One heard a motorcycle "screaming" towards Queenstown between 7pm and 7.30pm, while another said he saw a motorcyclist dressed in black "flying" towards the resort town about 7.15pm.

The same witness later saw the same motorcycle overtake his vehicle and two others at a speed he estimated was more than twice the 95kmh he was travelling at.

A third witness who saw a motorcyclist going towards Cardrona about 8.30pm said they were going so fast he commented on the "enormous speed" to his wife.

A police traffic crash report said the night of March 5 was cold, with the possibility of there being dew on the road.

Although there was no forensic evidence available to calculate Mr Clark’s speed at the time of the crash, there was evidence of late braking before the bend, she said.

No mechanical fault was found with the motorcycle.

Ms Thomas said a friend of Mr Clark stated he was an experienced motorcyclist who "loved to ride fast".

Based on the witness accounts from March 5, it could be inferred Mr Clark was "riding his motorcycle at speed", the coroner said.

It was "highly likely" that high speed led to him losing control and leaving the road.