Motorcyclist died in Gregory Boulevard crash after driving at 'excessive speed' because he was late for church

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A motorcyclist who died in a crash on a city street was speeding because he was late for church, his family have said.

Pawel Luba was riding along Gregory Boulevard, which has a speed limit of 30mph, when he lost control and was flung from the machine he had bought only ten days earlier.

At his inquest, it was estimated he was going at between 52mph and 59mph before he reacted on seeing a vehicle pulling out of a car park more than 200 yards ahead.

Coroner Mairin Casey said the "excessive speed" was the main contributory factor with the surprise element after he had overtaken a van. Her conclusion was that he died as a result of a road traffic collision.

After the hearing at the Council House, Mr Luba's loved ones said he worked as a delivery man for the Royal Mail and was "one of their safest drivers."

His sister Paulina Luba, 24, said: "He was not in the habit of doing this. He was a very safe and serious driver.

"He was only driving like that because he was late for church, which is just around the corner from the accident. He liked the priest and did not want to miss the service.

"He had a lot planned for that day. He was going to cook a Polish dinner.

"At the time my son Yaqoob was very young and he said that he was the only thing he loved more than motorbikes. He didn't have children of his own but was a real family man."

Flowers were left at the scene of the crash in Gregory Boulevard

Flowers were left at the scene of the crash in Gregory Boulevard

Mr Luba's fiance Maria Thompson added: "That speed was not normal for him. He was obsessed with motorcycles but was very careful.

"He was quite religious and did not like to miss services. He had messaged me that morning to go for a coffee but I could not because I was at work. He was a very good man," added Ms Thompson, 40, a nurse.

The bereaved thanked people who rushed to the stricken Mr Luba, 35. He died from multiple injuries.

Help came from several people including Forest Recreation Ground Sunday footballers and the congregation of a Baptist Church who were just emerging at 12.03pm on February 19 last year.

The coroner also praised those who tried to aid him, saying: "Our gratitude goes to the many witnesses who assisted the investigation and helped instinctively on the day.

"That is laudable. They were selfless and have been deeply affected."

The inquest heard from maintenance worker Ronan Connolly who said he was driving at about 20mph when overtaken by a motorcycle. In front of them, he saw a car pull out of a car park.

The scene of the crash in Gregory Boulevard

The scene of the crash in Gregory Boulevard

Referring to the motorcyclist, Mr Connolly said he thought to himself: "Surely you have not seen the car."

The motorbike's rear wheel "wobbled" and smoke came from it. The front wheel "twisted" before the rider was thrown from it, added Mr Connolly.

Car driver Keith Rodda said he saw the approaching van which was "well back" but not the motorcycle. He told the coroner: "It was ideal for me to exit the car park."

Police officer David Abbott, who specialises in investigating collisions, said the road was clear for between 200 and 300 yards giving Mr Rodda "ample time" to pull out of the car park before the van got near.

He said the van "would have masked" the motorcyclist's view before he overtook it.

Mr Rodda would also be unable to see the motorbike until it had passed the van. PC Abbott added: "The bike was not there to be seen."

Witness Samuel Graham was walking along the boulevard and told the hearing: "I remember seeing a motorbike coming towards me at a speed fast enough for me to turn back and question why he is going so fast, what is going on. It did seem a little bit unusual."

Mr Graham was among those who rushed to help.