The family of a former soldier who died when his motorbike crashed on New Year’s Day have warned of the dangers of drink driving.
Thomas Simpson, 27, was three times over the drink drive limit at the time of the accident in Altham, an inquest has heard.
The former soldier, who served with the Duke of Lancaster Regiment in Iraq, died instantly when his motorbike crashed into a traffic island outside the Walton Arms just before 8am, on January 1.
Tom, of Clayton-le-Moors, was riding on a straight road towards Burnley, when he lost control and collided with a street sign.
In a statement released after the inquest, Tom’s family paid tribute to the former soldier.
They said: “Tom’s death is a massive loss to his family, partner and friends. His life was cut short by a tragic accident which was likely caused by Tom being in an emotional state in what was a symbolic day for everyone.
“We hope that people learn from Tom’s death and think twice before driving under the influence.”
Blackburn Coroner’s Court heard how Tom had recently lost his job and had been ‘desperately’ looking for work.
His brother Ben, who also serves in the Duke of Lancaster regiment, said Tom ‘hated’ being unemployed.
He said: “He was very upset about not working. At one point I went through his emails and he had sent over 35 emails and CVs in one day. He wanted to get back into the army.”
Mr Simpson said Tom had left his house on his bike after an argument. He told the court he had no reason to believe Tom had been drinking.
Accident investigator PC Phillip Walker, of Lancashire Police’s road policing unit, said Tom had been riding at between 40 and 47mph when he crashed on a straight road.
He said: “If he had reacted to something in the road, he would not have reacted in a normal manner.
“The alcohol will be the primary reason for the over reaction and the speed didn’t help.”
Assistant deputy coroner for Hyndburn Derek Baker concluded that Tom’s death had been accidental.
He said: “It’s unusual to lose control on a straight road but it could be an error of judgment when biking. Any error is made more likely when alcohol is involved.”
Speaking after the inquest, senior investigating officer Sergeant Jonathan Allwright, said Tom’s death was a stark reminder that alcohol plays a huge part in road deaths.
He added: “Motorcycling requires a good sense of balance and any degree of impairment could have fatal results.”