Inquest hears how Lincoln rugby coach Michael Beard died in tragic bus crash

An inquest into the death of 30-year-old Michael Beard heard how Lincoln students watched on in horror as their rugby coach collided with a school bus.

Accounts from the bus driver involved in the fatal crash were heard at the inquest at the Lincoln Cathedral Centre on April 28, along with evidence from school children and police investigators.

Father of two Michael Beard died at the scene on March 25, 2015. He had been cycling on the Wragby Road cycle and footpath northeast bound towards the junction with Ruskin Avenue when he collided with a school bus as it turned left into Ruskin Avenue.

A collision investigation officer said evidence suggested Michael “had not been paying sufficient attention” when he rode towards the junction, braked at the last minute and lost control.

Coroner Paul Smith concluded in the inquest that he had died from multiple injuries sustained in the crash.

Tributes have been paid to the young teacher, and a donations page has been set up to support his family.

Michael Beard was a rugby coach and doorman in the city.

The inquest heard he had left Lincoln Christ Hospital School where he taught rugby, and was on his way to a rugby tournament.

He had been cycling on the path on the near-side of a PC Coaches school bus carrying around 28 children from the school before the collision.

Mark Lyon, who was behind the wheel on the day of the fatal crash, told the coroner the route he took was a regular one, on which he transported students from Lincoln Christ Hospital School to villages in the Gainsborough area.

He explained how he left the school at just after 3pm and travelled northeast down Wragby Road.

The crash happened on the busy Wragby Road junction on March 25

The crash happened on the busy Wragby Road junction on March 25

He had stopped at a red light at the junction in the left lane. As the light turned green he began to turn left onto Ruskin Avenue.

The inquest heard, despite checking mirrors, he had not seen Michael and the driver admitted he did not use his indicators – which police also confirmed in their report.

Mark Lyon said it wasn’t until he heard a thud down the side of the bus that he realised what had happened. He said:

“Passengers started shouting ‘you’ve just killed somebody!”

“I got out and walked down the side of the bus and I saw Mr Beard lying with his bike.”

An eyewitness who was a passenger in a car on Ruskin Avenue at the time of the crash told the coroner how she saw the tragic events unfold. “I ran out and asked him to stop, I didn’t know if he was aware he’d hit anyone.”

A selection of other statements were read out on behalf of eyewitnesses at the hearing, some claiming to have seen Michael screeching his brakes when he reached the toucan crossing causing his back wheel to lift and his body to be thrown over the handle bars of the bike.

One student who was on the bus involved in the crash and witnessed the incident said Michael “jammed the brakes and went over the handle bars. The bus driver carried on and the back wheel went over him.”

The officer’s report on behalf of Lincolnshire Police confirmed there were scratches and scuff marks from the rear nearside wheel arch to the back of the bus.

Using CCTV footage, officers stated Michael appeared to have been travelling as if to cycle straight over at the crossing.

Described as a ‘tragic accident’ Coroner Paul Smith summarised that it was “unclear why Michael had been cycling in this manner” and that although Mr Lyon checked his mirrors it was possible he was limited by timings.

He concluded by addressing Michael’s mother, sympathising with the “difficult” proceedings. He added that he was ‘touched by the floral tributes left for Michael’ after the fatal collision. He was clearly a young man who meant a lot to a huge number of people.”

A donations page was set up in support of Michael's family. Donations topped £10k in 24 hours.

A donations page was set up in support of Michael’s family. Donations topped £10k in 24 hours.

The 30-year-old rugby enthusiast and part time doorman left behind wife Nicola, who described him as her “rock”, and her “best friend”.

Hundreds of people paid tribute to him following his death, many attending his funeral in Lincoln and a special service at Lincoln Cathedral.

Thousands of pounds of donations were raised by members of the community to help support his young family.