The biker who was traveling very fast before the fatal accident had cocaine in his bloodstream, court told

A court has heard that a fatal accident that killed a 34-year-old motorcyclist could have been avoided if he had been traveling over the speed limit.

Michael Clarke died after crashing into a bus at nearly 40 mph as it made a right turn in front of him on James Street in Cardiff in 2020.

A collision specialist told the court that the motorcycle was traveling at a speed of 76 mph just moments before the accident.

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Collision investigator PC James Littlewood of the Forensic Collision Unit told the defense: “In my opinion the motorbike was traveling at 30 mph, near the bus completing its maneuvers with little or no reduction in speed or input from the rider.” There will be enough time to do that.”

He added: “The collision could have been avoided.”

Charles DeBrue, 65, was behind the wheel of the bus, unloading the only passenger on his bus before turning a right on Adelaide Street onto a side street towards Techniquest.

He told officers at the scene that he couldn’t see anything moving on April 3 at around 6.30pm, just before heading out to James Street.

“I heard a big bang,” he told the officers. “I immediately stopped after hearing the explosion and heard the glass on the door breaking. I saw the driver and called 999.”

Debru, who has been driving buses for 15 years, had two and a half hours in his shift, which was to end at midnight. Toxicology tests showed Mr Clarke had cocaine in his bloodstream that exceeded the legal limit for drug drive.

Debreau has denied causing death due to reckless driving. It has been argued in his defense that the deceased was traveling at a very high speed at the time of the fatal accident. The “experienced bus driver” was driving along James Street at the time of the incident, a long and straight stretch of road with a visibility of 200 meters at the time of the collision.

The court heard that 50 meters before the accident, Mr Clarke was riding his bike at a speed limit of 30 mph between 70 and 76 mph. After applying the brakes, it was heard that he rammed the bus at a speed of between 37 and 41mph.

PC Littlewood said the footage showed how Diebru’s bus had indicators at the time of the collision and Mr Clarke applied the emergency brake.

He described the bike as a “high-performance sports” bike that would probably have produced more sound than a car. He said the front light was also in use.

He also noted that Mr Clark’s visibility may have been affected by the Sun, which would have been “low in the sky” at the time and would have probably made it difficult to see finer points and smaller details.

The defense inquired about the 12-second period between the point of impact from PC Littlewood exiting Debreau’s bus stop and turning about 25-30 meters onto Adelaide Street.

PC Littlewood confirmed that at 76mph, the motorbike would be moving at over 33m/s. So in that 12-second period, the bike would have traveled 407m. PC Littlewood said that CCTV footage captured moments before the collision showed Mr Clarke in a “neutral” and “very relaxed” position, with no indication that he was slowing down or braking. It was happening, said PC Littlewood.

He said that the motorcycle would have covered the last 200 meters before the accident in just 5.9 seconds. However, if Mr. Clark had been traveling at 30 mph, he would have taken 14.9 seconds to cover that distance, which was enough time for the bus to make a right turn.

PC Littlewood told the defense: “The collision could have been avoided if the motorbike had been traveling over the speed limit.”

Trial continues.

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