A CORONER yesterday pleaded with bikers to reduce their speed after presiding over an inquest into the death of a 31-year-old motorcyclist.

The hearing was told speed was almost certainly a factor in the death of Mark Lofthouse, from Leyburn, North Yorkshire, whose powerful Suzuki collided with a tractor and trailer on the A684, on March 30.

Sitting at Richmond Town Hall, North Yorkshire West coroner Geoff Fell conceded that Mr Lofthouse knew the road through Wensleydale well.

Mr Fell said he could not change the winding roads - but added: "What I would like to change is the speed of some of the motorcyclists who use the county's roads. I would ask them to please slow down."

Drivers overtaken by Mr Lofthouse shortly before the accident told the inquest he was riding quickly, but with apparent confidence.

Police accident investigator PC Paul Davenport said that after negotiating a blind bend just outside Worton, Mr Lofthouse was confronted by a tractor towing a muck-spreader blocking both carriageways.

The hearing was told the narrow entrance into one of his fields forced farmer Alywyn Spence to use all the road when exiting the gate and, when Mr Lofthouse's motorbike had appeared, he was unable to take evasive action.

PC Davenport said that if Mr Lofthouse had been riding within the speed limit, he would probably have had time to stop before the collision.

Although he braked hard, he lost control of his machine which then hit the muck-spreader with enough force to push it sideways.

Mr Fell recorded a verdict of accidental death.