Man dies after driving quad bike through gate, inquest hears

A NORTH Queensland cattle station manager died when he drove a quad bike through a barbed-wire gate, a coronal inquest was told.

Queensland Deputy Coroner John Lock, investigating a string of quad-bike deaths, heard that Gregory Peter Hoare had gone through the closed gate, apparently without slowing down.

William George Burrell, one of two station hands who found Mr Hoare's body, said he was lying on his side beyond the broken gate, with blood on his neck, his face turned to the sky and the quad bike idling some distance further on.

The Honda all-terrain vehicle was still in top gear. Later inspection showed no mechanical problems.

Mr Lock is investigating seven quad bike-related deaths on properties from Toowoomba to Townsville.

Mr Burrell said he had found Mr Hoare's damaged helmet closer to the gate on Strathalbyn station, Collinsville, near Bogie River.

Forensic crash investigator Acting Sgt Craig McConnel said he was pleasantly surprised that Mr Hoare had worn a helmet, though it had not helped him in this case.

"On most cattle properties a helmet is an Akubra," he said.

Mr Hoare's injuries, and a pathologist's finding that he died from dislocation of the larynx, were consistent with a strand of barbed wire going across his throat, Sgt McConnel said. He did not believe Mr Hoare was speeding.

Witnesses could not explain why Mr Hoare had driven through the gate, which he knew was there and would be closed.

Sgt McConnel told Mr Alan Girle, for the station owners, that the wires of the new gate might have been difficult to see from a distance.

It was on a relatively straight road "in good condition for a bush track," he said.

Police: Helmet could have saved life

AN 11-year-old north Queensland girl, killed by a rolling quad bike, might have survived if she had been wearing a helmet, a police witness said.

Sgt Robert Nalder, officer in charge of the Townsville forensic crash unity, told a coronial inquest yesterday that the girl was an experienced motorcycle and quad bike rider for her age and there was no indication of "skylarking" or speeding.

But he said an adult might have reacted earlier and with enough strength to prevent the vehicle overturning.

The girl, whose name was suppressed by the Coroner, died on December 12 from head injuries when the quad bike, a Yamaha Kodiak, rolled over her.

Sgt Nalder agreed with Mr Liam Dollar, for the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, that the vehicle labels and manual clearly warned against use by under 16s or use without a helmet.

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