AN inquest has heard that signs warning of a dangerous road bend that claimed a motorcyclist's life have been improved.

Experienced biker Richard Stothard, 37, of Princess Street, South Hylton, Sunderland, failed to negotiate a right-hand bend on the winding C27 road between St John's Chapel, in upper Weardale, and Langdon Beck, in Teesdale, in June.

Mr Stothard hit a stone wall and suffered a major haemorrhage after tearing a main artery to his heart and he died in the University Hospital of North Durham.

Mr Stothard was one of eight bikers following a popular route for motorcyclists and was doing a little over 40mph on the 60mph limit road.

The inquest in Durham City heard there were warnings ahead of the bend, but Mr Stothard may not have seen the sign.

Police accident investigator PC Keith Butler said Durham County Council had improved one of the signs and installed bollards since the tragedy to give more warning.

North Durham Coroner Andrew Tweddle recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said Mr Stothard had not been travelling at excessive speed and was unfortunate to have hit the wall.

Afterwards, a Durham County Council spokeswoman said: "We examined the site and carried out works to the satisfaction of our highways authority and the police to ensure that section of road was safe.

"However, if the inquest highlights any other aspects, we'll look at it in due course."