THE death of an experienced Holmfirth motorcyclist and have-a-go hero was likely to have been caused by a sneeze.
An inquest at Huddersfield Coroner's Court heard Nigel Martin, of Townend Avenue, died as a result of a "tragic accident".
He was fatally injured while driving along Penistone Road towards New Mill on June 21 last year.
The court heard that before setting out on an evening's ride to Whitby and back, the 45-year-old builder was suffering from repeated sneezing for which he had taken antihistamines.
It was on the return leg when a sneeze, or possibly wildlife in the road, caused the father of four to apply the front brake.
He lost control of his 850cc Yamaha and hit a barrier on Penistone Road, New Mill, near its junction with Gate Foot Lane, at about 11pm.
Mr Martin had been honoured over five years ago by the then Home Secretary Jack Straw.
Mr Straw wrote to him personally thanking him for bravely catching a burglar.
Mr Martin had been in Edgerton when he spotted the crook.
He gave chase and made a citizen's arrest.
The burglar was later jailed for two years for burglary and assault.
On the night of the accident Mr Martin was riding with his close friend John Marshall, of Barnsley.
Mr Marshall, who had accompanied Mr Martin on a long-distance motorcycle trip to Spain, said of his friend: "He's one of the most experienced motorcyclists skill-wise, mechanical-wise, that I have ever met."
He described how they had enjoyed fish and chips on Whitby harbour before setting off.
They rode back together at a steady pace and Nigel overtook him after they passed the Sovereign pub.
"When I came to the next corner there was just carnage."
Mr Martin was lying motionless in the road.
Apart from sneezing he said: "The only other thing that I can imagine is we had been through the country lanes in York and we passed lots of rabbits and Nigel was the sort of bloke if he saw a fly in front of him he'd move his head so he wouldn't squash the fly."
Carly Anne Armitage, a nurse from Hepworth, was travelling home when she came across the scene.
She checked for pulse and other vital signs but could find none.
The family thanked her for her efforts.
John Green, an accident investigator based in Wakefield, confirmed the bike was roadworthy.
He said sneezing was a possibility for applying the brake but so too was wildlife.
The court heard that Mr Martin received multiple injuries and would have died almost instantly.
His lungs were swollen which was abnormal given that several ribs were fractured.
This would have been consistent with asthma or an "asthma-type illness".
Coroner Roger Whittaker said: "The only conclusion I can reach on the balance of probability is that in sneezing at this approach stage he may have over-reacted and caused himself to have to apply the break partially and lose the stability of the vehicle at that particular time.
"I believe that to be the more likely of the alternatives put forward."
Mr Whittaker recorded a verdict of a "tragic accident".
Mr Martin was married to Ruth and had two young sons Jack and Danny.
He has two children, Samantha and Stephen, from a previous marriage .
Mrs Martin told the Examiner in a previous interview: "Nigel was a brilliant dad and loved being about children.
"He touched hundreds of lives and everyone who knew him loved him.
"No one ever had a bad word to say about him. He was a very special person."