A coroner has recommended that warning signs be posted on a street where a young man died after being hit by a taxi.

Liam Hibbins was killed after being hit by a Colin Clarke car on an unlit stretch of the coast road in Redcar.

The 26-year-old reportedly returned to Skelton after a day racing with friends.

Claire Bailey, senior coroner for Teesside and Hartlepool, closed an investigation into the landscaper’s death on Wednesday afternoon.

She told the Teesside Coroner court that Liam died as a result of an accident after sustaining head and neck injuries in the collision.

Ms. Bailey told the Teesside Magistrates’ Court hearing that Mr. Clarke was likely to be driving too fast at the time.

The court heard that Mr. Clarke was not charged with any crime by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) despite an appeal from Mr. Hibbins’ mother, Alison.

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During his taking of evidence, Mr Clarke said he was doing his last job transporting two passengers when the incident occurred in the wee hours of the morning on October 8, 2017.

He said when the speed limit on the coastal road changed from 30 to 40 mph, he began to accelerate and saw what he called a “silhouette” about 16 meters ahead of him.

Mr Clarke said he did not notice that it was Mr Hibbins who was wearing dark clothes and had his back to him until he was five meters away and it was too late to stop.

He told the court, “I’m still firmly convinced that I made 37, if I had made 30, I would probably still have scored.”

“I don’t think I could do anything else.”

Liam Hibbins

Mr Clarke told the investigation that the coast road could be dangerous in the absence of street lights and said he had previously seen people walking on the street.

He said his taxi company would send two or three messages over a weekend to warn drivers of people nearby or on the street.

Mr Hibbins, who was engaged to Beth Storey, suffered cardiac arrest after the collision and was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, where he later died.

Michael Bell, who was a forensic investigator for the Cleveland and Durham Street Police at the time but has since retired, gave testimony on the witness stand.

He told the court how he investigated the collision and estimated that Mr. Clarke was traveling between 45 and 51 mph at the time of the impact.

Mr Bell told the court that if 54-year-old Mr Clarke were traveling at 51 mph, he would travel about 60.41 meters before coming to a stop.

He said that even if he had been driving the 40 mph speed limit, he would not have been able to stop in time.

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Simon Hills pointed out, on behalf of Redcar and Cleveland Council, that the number was nearly four times the distance Mr. Clarke’s headlights allowed him to see.

Coroner Bailey relayed Mr. Clarke’s remarks to Mr. Bell about the danger of the road and the lack of lighting.

He replied, “Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the area at all. I will say that there is no such thing as a dangerous road, there are bad drivers who make bad statistics.

“I have no problems with the street or the lighting on street no.”

PC Martin Tranmer, who works in the traffic safety department, told the court how he had taken a trip on the same street while his headlights were at high levels and did not see two children until the last moment.

He said it was not illegal for Mr Clarke to use low beam headlights, but he would have expected he would have raised the level.

When the coroner asked how dangerous the road was, he said, “I wouldn’t say it is more dangerous than anywhere else.”

Mr Hibbins’ mother, Alison, said she would like Redcar and Cleveland Council streetlights to be installed on the street where his son died.

She said, “Since my son was knocked down, it has obviously been a fact that it was quite dark there. Also, there are a lot of joggers walking back and forth on this street, there are people walking their dogs. It is a school at the end of the street. “

Liam was met on the coast road in Redcar

The court heard 40 meters of road travel since the speed limit was changed from 60 to 40 km / h in July 2007 and 14 accidents had been recorded.

There have been 22 accidents in the previous 20 years when the road had a speed limit of 60 mph.

Steven Newton, Governance Director at Redcar and Cleveland Council, told the investigation that most of the accidents involved vehicles.

He said the two who weren’t were Mr. Hibbins and a pedestrian – Kirsty Fennon – who lost her life after being hit by a taxi on the street in 2012.

He said that in the previous collision nine years ago, it was the driver’s fault and there was no problem with the street lights.

Mr. Newton said, “Fortunately, accidents on this road are very rare and there is no pattern or hotspot.”

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The investigation learned how Redcar and Cleveland Council had previously planned to put lights on the street in 2008 after receiving funding through a program.

However, there was a “negative reaction” from local residents and politicians and the 53 pillars that housed the lights were removed.

Mr Newton said it would cost the local authority £ 120,000 to put street lights on one side of the street and double if they switched between the two sides – cash the council no longer has.

He said the council re-examined the coastal road after Mr Hibbins died, but the number of accidents did not reach the threshold for further action.

Mr Newton told the Middlesbrough court: “If the statistics indicated a real danger, we would no doubt find the money.”

He said this was not something the Council considered “necessary” but that they would re-examine if more information came to light or as a result of the investigation.

Liam Hibbins

Liam Hibbins

The coroner informed the court that she was aware of the finding made by the Ministry of the Interior’s pathologist, Dr. Nigel Cooper, I agree that Mr. Hibbins died from complications from head and neck injuries.

She said she had determined based on the likelihood that the taxi was going beyond the speed limit at the time of the collision.

She said, “Due to the likelihood that Mr. Clarke was traveling between 45 and 51 mph. I believe that Mr. Clarke was mistaken in his memory of the speed.”

The coroner said the taxi driver could not be expected to walk on the street and reacted as soon as he realized that the silhouette in front of him was a person.

She told the investigation, “Given the circumstances, I am satisfied that Liam’s untimely death was the result of a tragic accident.

“I will therefore record the conclusion that Liam died as a result of an accident.”

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She said that Cleveland Police’s PC Andy Lawson suggested that Redcar and Cleveland Council conduct a check of street lights in the area.

She said, “Mr. Newton has stated that they do not consider it necessary to install lights along the coastal roads.

“It cannot be said that a lack of lighting definitely caused his death.”

However, she said it would be “a benefit to road users” if signs were placed on each side of the coastal road.

These signs would warn people of the risk of pedestrians on the street, so “extra caution is required”.

The coroner gave Redcar and Cleveland Council 28 days to respond to her about the possible steps to take.