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Motorist cleared of causing biker's death in Lincoln

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 14, 2012

Lincoln Magistrates' Court

Lincoln Magistrates' Court

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A charity worker has been cleared of causing the death of a motorcyclist in a crash in Lincoln.

Motorist Celia Madden, 53, pulled out of a junction into the path of John Baxter, 51, from Branston, who was seriously injured and died in hospital.

Mrs Madden turned right from Hall Drive, Canwick, as Mr Baxter rode his Suzuki bike along Canwick Road away from the city after visiting his daughter.

Lincoln Magistrates' Court heard the impact broke one of the bike's wheels and pushed the front of the Ford Focus sideways.

One witness described seeing the motorbike coming up the hill "at a heck of a lick".

But police were unable to say how fast it was going.

Neither was it possible to say whether Mrs Madden could see the motorcycle, the court heard.

Another motorist said he went to the crash scene where Mrs Madden said: "I didn't see him."

The court heard Mr Baxter appeared to attempt to swerve around the front of the car, rather than the expected escape option behind it.

Mrs Madden, of Cliff Lane, Washingborough, denied causing death by driving without due care and attention on September 29, 2011 and was found not guilty.

She had been heading to Morrisons in Lincoln with her mother and had taken the Hall Drive diversion to avoid heavy traffic.

Lloyd Edwards, defending, asked Mrs Madden how sure she was that, in her last glance to the right before moving from the junction, the road was clear.

"One hundred per cent sure," replied Mrs Madden, who is project manager for West Lindsey Domestic Abuse Service.

In police interview, Mrs Madden said: "As far as I could see the road was completely clear.

"So I pulled out, I must have been near the middle of the road and the bike came really quickly.

"I would say he was going 50mph or more.

"All I can remember was seeing him a few metres away and then he hit. It happened so quickly.

"I got out of the car. I had to go and find out if the bloke on the bike was all right."

District Judge John Stobart said: "I have deep sympathy for Mr Baxter's family but I cannot say that his death results from any lack of due care and attention of Celia Madden and I find her not guilty."

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  • Roadscource  |  September 19 2012, 1:15PM

    Food for thought. If you cant see out of a junction because of its age or layout, wind down your windows, turn off your radio and you may be just be able to HEAR an approaching vehicle.

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  • baddadbill  |  September 16 2012, 11:12PM

    Chronosea Sorry to hear about your Dad, unfortunately this sort of thing is happening time and time again. I have experienced "Both" sides of the bikers verses cars situation and as far as I am concerned it is a dangerous hobby. I have no doubt that your Dad was a sensible and safe driver but unfortunately this sort of "Accident" occurs every so often and in this case there is no point in blaming anyone. I do hate the "Blame the car" brigade who pop up on situations like this though. Regards

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  • gsx1100  |  September 16 2012, 10:53PM

    Chronosea, please accept my sincere apologies if I have caused any distress to you, or your family, from any of my postings. If I have, it was unintentional. I refuse to apologise for attacking the "heck of a lick" comment in this article because I don't think it had any substance to it, although from your post, it was only half of the quote. Best wishes for the future.

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  • chronosea  |  September 16 2012, 8:41PM

    As the SON of the deceased, i feel its time for me to step in and say a few words... Firstly, don't always assume you have the full story just by reading the articles in the Lincolnshire Echo... as you don't unfortunatly. I was infact there for the court case and all previous court appearances involving the death of my Dad. The article fails to mention the postitioning of the car, the possible reasoning behind my Dads actions upon collision, accusations put to Mrs Madden by my father defence placing Mrs Madden at fault, Mrs Maddens personal defence and also the entirety of the winess statements. I will not go into details as i feel the case is over and finished for all involved. The witness that was quoated as saying "a heck of a lick" in relation to my Dads speed, also stated that she wouldnt be able to put a speed on the bike and that she said that now 'quote of the case' in the moment of panic whilst phoning the emergancy services. I would like to also say that my late Father was a very experienced motorcyclist. His bike was his pride and joy and he thoroughly enjoyed using it. He wasn't a boy racer, nore was he one to take danger lightly and had the upmost respect for the power and danger involved with riding a motorbike. I agree, there are a minority that give bikers a bad name, but my Dad did NOT fall into this catagory. Its the same as boy racers - you cannot tarnish all car drivers with the same brush... The verdict given by the judge (who incidently, is a motorbiker i believe) was that it was a tragic accident. Neither Mrs Madden OR my Father were found to be to blame for this tragedy. I feel the verdic was fair and well founded as i do not hold Mrs Madden personally responsible for my loss. It was simply, as Lemony Snicket authored, "A Series of Unfortunate Events." My sure Mrs Madden would agree (should she read this) that we have all been through enough, and wish to put this horrible case of events behind us and move on.

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  • baddadbill  |  September 16 2012, 8:39PM

    My dads dead so I have to look after myself lol Not anti bike like I said before its stupid, dangerous, careless and arrogant drivers that I am anti against Gsxiioo " such idiotic statements like that." Its not idiotic its stating facts I can go on as well if you like lol

    |   -4
  • mrpdoff  |  September 16 2012, 8:15PM

    Sounds like "i bet our dad could hit your dad".

    |   -1
  • gsx1100  |  September 16 2012, 7:50PM

    If I am wrong, I am big enough to hold my hands up and apologise baddadbill. I am, however, a tad disappointed an ex biker can hold such anti bike views such as the "think bike, think accident waiting to happen" when, if you have been a biker, you would have been the target of such idiotic statements like that. Please don't feel the need to explain bikes to me, especially 1970/80s Japanese, which I have a passion for, as we've had bikers in the family circle for around 60 years. That covers an awful lot of bikes. "Mr GSX1100, now thats a Suzuki if I remember right". Well, if you have rode a Katana 1100 (designation Suzuki GSX1100S) and a tuned Suzuki GSX1100, it would be hard to forget without alzheimers. Ah, the Bonnie T120 pre unit, pre '63, probably the best Triumph Bonnie built until John Bloor took command and brought Triumph out of the dark ages and started producing world class bikes. If you wish to carry on, please feel free.

    |   3
  • baddadbill  |  September 16 2012, 6:12PM

    "From your anti-bike tirades and your comment on the Hayabusa, baddadbill, I still maintain your knowledge of bikes is low. However, we can be what we want behind a keyboard, so I'll have to take your word that you were once a biker." Mr GSX1100, now thats a Suzuki if I remember right. I do not profess to know much about modern day bikes other than they all look the same and are tiny in size compared to the older bikes. I am not really anti bike but I am anti any idiot who drives too fast in a dangerous manner or situation, be that cars or bikes. Unfortunately bikes seem to be the majority in these cases. I know there is plenty of sensible bikers but I am not talking about them I am talking about the idiots and they know who they are. Now my biking history, I started with a RD250 (that is an air cooled Yamaha to save you doing a Google) Then a CB550 4 cyl. Honda. I also had a CB250 Superdream for £50 and a G5 (Honda 250 twin) for a tenner. I then had a CB900F which was lovely (I saw a Blue one today V nice) I traded that in for my GPz1100A1. Meanwhile I often worked on and sometimes rode my brother in laws Katana 1100 (Suzuki) and tuned GSX1100 and 750 which he raced in the late 80's with some success. My wife also rode her pre unit Bonneville 650 (That's a Triumph by the way), it had 11.5 pistons and due to the compression and lack of "Electric start" she either parked on a hill or asked a passing large bloke to kick it over "That means stamping on the lever to get the engine started" But no your probably right I just looked all this up on the tinternet to try and impress the readers of a local newspaper.

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  • gsx1100  |  September 16 2012, 5:40PM

    I disagree. The witnesses statement was his opinion, not something to be set in stone. Peoples perceptions are altered by how statements are phrased. If the witness had said that he thought the bike was going too fast, instead of a "heck of a lick", then the statement has the drama taken out of it. Nevertheless, as you admitted, it was an inaccurate judgement. I have read your post correctly and still don't understand why you feel the need to add an "if" to a factual item.

    |   2
  • 917199  |  September 16 2012, 4:10PM

    @ gsx1100 Your first post states that the witnesse statement speaks for itself, while in your second, you admit it was an inaccurate judgement. Make your mind up, it can't be both. You need to read my post about the pushbike as there is nothing about it hitting a car." The witness statement does speak for itself, as i said in my post if you read it correctly ( reffering to your comment, a pushbike can look fast ) you will notice i said IF it was a pushbike involved, the witness quite simply would not have said he was going like a lick! suggesting the motorcyclist must have been going at some pace.

    |   -1

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