Saturday 19 January 2019

'Stephen would be alive if helmet had not failed', say biker's family

The family of bike crash victim Stephen Hyland
The family of bike crash victim Stephen Hyland

The family of a motorcyclist killed in a crash have said he would still be alive if his helmet had not come off.

Stephen Hyland (24), of Rusheeney Avenue, Clonsilla, died of head injuries following a collision on Hartstown Road, 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 Yamaha.

"We believe he'd still be alive if his helmet had not come off. Physically he was fine but for his head injuries," said Mr Hyland's brother, Michael Lowry.


Family members described Mr Hyland as kind, thoughtful, quiet and much-loved.

"He had a heart of gold," Mr Lowry said, adding: "People need to be aware of this danger. We just want to prevent this happening to anyone else."

Mr Hyland was travelling at the rear of a convoy of four motorbikes on Hartstown Road when the accident happened at around 6.45pm.

As the bikers ahead of him slowed down, his Yamaha struck "a glancing blow" to the bike directly in front.

Dublin City Coroner's Court heard that the rear of his bike kicked out and Mr Hyland slid a total of 34 metres along the road and lost his helmet in the process.

He hit a kerb and suffered devastating injuries described by the coroner as "inconsistent with survival".

Stephen Hyland
Stephen Hyland

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 had 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, 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.

"In a lot of cases helmets are bought online where there is no advice," he said.

Mr Hyland 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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