AN EXPERIENCED Nelson motorcyclist was flung from his vehicle while trying to avoid a stone in the road, an inquest heard.

Rider Christopher Lees, 41, is thought to have taken evasive action to avoid the obstruction in Gisburn Road, Blacko, near the Moorcock Inn, Burnley Coroner's Court was told.

But he lost control of his Kawasaki Ninja bike and struck a stone wall at the side of the road, the inquest heard.

Fellow rider Abdul Wahid, who witnessed the crash, at first thought his friend was okay, as he enquired about his bike, which had come to rest further along the road.

In a statement Mr Wahid said Mr Lees, of Pilgrim Street, Nelson, had been flung from his machine "like a rag doll" as he prepared to round a bend.

When he stopped his own bike and went to Mr Lees's aid, Mr Wahid found his friend holding his stomach.

He said he had "hit a stone" and asked whether his bike had been damaged as a result of him falling off it.

The inquest heard that another motorist, who said he was a doctor, arrived on the scene to tend to Mr Lees, a former national sky diving champion.

He was taken to Burnley General Hospital where he underwent surgery - but he never recovered and died shortly before midnight on September 14 last year.

Mr Wahid said that the pair frequently went out riding in the area and usually returned home to the Nelson area via Gisburn Road.

An experienced rider himself, Mr Lees had been giving Mr Wahid hints and tips about his own riding performance in previous trips out.

Police road accident investigation PC Adrian Harrison said it was possible that Mr Lees had seen an obstruction in the road and tried to avoid it.

But due to the mechanics of riding, when Mr Lees had wanted to take evasive action, he should have counter-steered to correct his position.

It was possible that instead he had steered in the opposite direction, on instinct, causing him to leave the road.

PC Harrison said that by the time he conducted his investigation there was no evidence of the stone on the road.

Recording an accidental verdict, East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor said he was satisified that Mr Lees may have been trying to avoid trouble when he hit the wall.

The coroner said, due to statements given by a number of witnesses, that there was a stone or similar object in the road which had contributed to the crash.