Honda ST1300s poses 'serious threat' to riders' li

Coroner's verdict after policeman dies during training

HONDA'S ST1300 Pan European has been branded a "serious threat" to riders' lives, by a coroner working on a case where a policeman was killed after falling from the bike on a training session.

The bike is used by 22 police forces across the UK.

Dr James Adeley is to write to chief constables across England and Wales to warn them of a "catastrophic result" which can occur with the Honda model. He was speaking at an inquest into the death of Pc David Shreeve, of Wirral, who was thrown off a bike in training. Honda said safety was paramount and it would continue to liaise with the police in light of the coroner's words.

Pc Shreeve, 38, was travelling at about 110mph along the M58 motorway near Skelmersdale, Lancashire, on 9 November 2005 when he lost control. The inquest in Lancaster heard that the bike began to shake violently in a phenomenon known as high speed weave. The Merseyside Police officer was crushed to death under a lorry after he fell off.

Dr Adeley recorded a narrative verdict into the death. The Preston and West Lancashire coroner told the inquest that after Pc Shreeve's death the model underwent comprehensive safety checks. In one test an examiner broke his leg and fractured both wrists after being thrown off in another high speed weave. One Lancashire Constabulary examiner, Peter Wilson, reported the problem was "the worst weave on any bike he had tested in his career", the inquest heard.

Merseyside Police immediately withdrew all models from service after the accident, but there are about 450 police Honda ST1300s being used by officers across the country. The inquest was told that problems affected only police models of the motorcycle with their heavy emergency and communications equipment.

Pc Shreeve was described as a "good officer and a nice fellow" who was a "careful, competent, not panicky and a cerebral rider".

Assistant Chief Constable Patricia Gallan of Merseyside Police said: "The death of Dave has been a tragic loss of an experienced and popular officer who spent much of his time helping his colleagues and mentoring officers of less experience than himself. Merseyside Police withdrew the Honda ST1300A at the time of this incident, and has not used the bike since. We're grateful that the coroner recognises the professionalism of our trainers and that neither David Shreeve, nor the force, was in any way responsible for this tragic incident."

Honda said it had a strong working relationship with the majority of the police forces across the UK, which had lasted more than 15 years: "For Honda the safety of our riders is paramount," a spokeswoman said. "We will continue to liaise with the police in light of the coroner's verdict.