AN experienced motorcyclist lost his life after braking too hard – almost certainly because he had just spotted a speed camera van at the side of a road, an inquest heard.

Timothy Rowsell, of Burley, was travelling at a minimum of 78mph in the outside lane of the northbound A338 Bournemouth Spur Road when he crashed just after the Cooper Dean flyover. The speed limit there is 50mph.

Sole eyewitness to the crash, Janice Beck, had been setting up the camera equipment inside the van, which was parked on a verge.

Miss Beck said she saw smoke coming from the motorbike’s tyres. The machine started tilting and she saw the rider’s arm and head make contact with the barrier.

The bike continued on its side before stopping about 100 yards from the rider.

Dr Brian Moreland, who was driving on the opposite side of the dual carriageway, said he saw the motorbike wobble and hit a cone and the crash barrier.

“I realised there was no rider.

My daughter shouted that there was a body in the road,” he told the inquest in Bournemouth.

He and fellow motorist Dr Sharon Redpath tried to resuscitate 64-year-old Mr Rowsell, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

His arm had been severed and his skull fractured. Pathologist Dr Benita Foria said he would have died immediately.

Another car driver, Jacqueline Kennett, said Mr Rowsell had been riding sensibly when he passed her shortly before the accident on the morning of Saturday, April 9.

Accident investigator PC John Hayward told the inquest that the four-year-old 1000cc Suzuki GSXR sports bike was not fitted with anti-lock brakes.

He concluded that Mr Rowsell was near the bottom of the slope from the flyover when he braked hard, locking the wheels and losing control. When the bike fell, Mr Rowsell hit one of the upright supports of the crash barrier.

PC Hayward added: “When the excess speed is considered, along with the presence of the road safety camera van, it’s very likely he has observed the van and tried to reduce his speed rapidly.”

Recording the verdict that Mr Rowsell’s death was due to a road accident, district coroner Sheriff Payne said: “I can only conclude that he has [braked] in response to the presence of the safety van.

No other person or vehicle was involved.”

Mr Rowsell’s widow and two adult sons were at the inquest, but did not want to comment afterwards.