Italian Investigators Release Findings into the death of Nicky Hayden

Rennie Scaysbrook | September 29, 2017

Blame apportioned to both car driver and Nicky Hayden in the fateful accident.

Nicky Hayden death
The findings into Hayden’s accident will now form the basis of a criminal proceeding against the car driver in an Italian criminal court.

Italian officials have released the findings of the official forensic investigation into the death of 2006 MotoGP World Champion, Nicky Hayden, who was killed when he was struck by a car on May 17, 2017, while bicycling on Via Ca’ Rafaelli, not far from the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in Rimini, Italy.

The report was presented to prosecutor Paolo Gengarelli and compiled by Orlando Omicini, a 30-year veteran of traffic incident investigation with the Italian Highway Patrol. Using CCTV footage, eye-witness accounts from nearby road workers, police documentation, and accounts from the driver, Omicini has apportioned 30 percent of the blame for the fatal accident to Hayden and 70 percent to the driver of the Peugeot 206 in question.

Omicini estimated the car driver to be traveling at 73km/h (45mph) at the time of impact, some 23km/h (14mph) faster than the posted speed limit of 50km/h (31mph).

There was no evidence that the driver applied the brakes prior to the collision with Hayden, which shattered the Specialized bicycle frame when Hayden struck the right side of the car.

Hayden’s 30 percent blame comes from not stopping fully at the stop sign before entering the two-lane Strada Provinciale 35 (via Tovoleto), traveling at an estimated 20km/h (12mph) at the time of impact. Omicini also claimed Hayden was wearing earbuds, which may have been playing music and be the cause of a distraction.

According to Rimini Today, the prosecutor acknowledged that had the driver been traveling at the posted speed limit or Hayden had stopped at the stop sign, the incident may have been avoided.

But this is not the end of the matter. Italian law stipulates that any fatal traffic accident triggers a criminal proceeding, with the driver now facing a vehicular homicide charge that could see him imprisoned for five to 10 years. However, that sentence will be reduced if the court finds at least a portion of the blame in the accident to fall at Hayden’s feet.

With the prosecutor’s report now official, forensic experts hired by both the driver and Hayden family will have a month to prepare their versions of just what happened in the tragic accident and present them to the Italian criminal court.

And, according to a report compiled by Mark Gardiner at Revzilla’s Common Tread, the Hayden family and his fiancée have hired a lawyer and will be seeking damages in the case.

The accident and subsequent fatality saw an incredible outpouring of grief across the world for the rider affectionately known as the Kentucky Kid, the last American to win the MotoGP World Championship in 2006 and was in his second season competing in the WorldSBK Championship for Red Bull Honda.

Rennie Scaysbrook | Road Test Editor Rennie Scaysbrook is our Road Test Editor. A lifetime rider, the Aussie made the trek across the Pacific to live the dream in the U.S. of A. Likes puppies and wheelies.