Regional - Oxfordshire motorbike crash survivor helps launch hard-hitting road safety campaign in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire's Fire and Rescue Service's boss has appealed to motorcycle riders to increase awareness to avoid serious injury and death through road accidents.
Andy Ford's appeal came at the launch of a campaign to prevent the growing number of motorcyclists becoming victims of road traffic accidents.
Mr Ford, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety Manager, said: “Motorcyclists are over-represented in collision and casualty statistics, locally and nationally and that is something we’re determined to change.
"With increasing numbers of people taking to two wheels, our aim is to encourage riders to do all they can to ride safe; and stay safe.”
Mr Ford's appeals for driver awareness of motorcycles came as a firefighter from Burford encouraged motorbike riders to prioritise safety after he was involved in a life-changing biking accident.
Nathan Crockford suffered severe leg damage after crashing into a car that pulled out in front of his motorbike. The force of the collision threw him over the vehicle and onto the road.
“I’m lucky to be alive,” says Mr Crockford. “If I hadn’t been wearing a safety helmet and the correct protective clothing, goodness knows how serious my injuries would have been. That is why I’m supporting this hard-hitting safety-first campaign, which is taking place in Oxfordshire and across the Thames Valley during March.”
Mr Crockford’s injuries put him in hospital for ten days. He was unable to return to the fire service for 18 months. Mr Crockford has recovered physically but has to live with a metal rod inserted into his leg bone. The psychological scars also remain.
He said: “The accident wasn’t my fault - the car pulled straight out at the junction. It was impossible for me to stop or swerve out of harm’s way. But, I regularly ponder if I should have been more alert to what might be around the next corner or hidden at the next crossing.
“That is what this Ride Safe campaign is all about, encouraging every motorbike rider to be vigilant constantly, and to refresh and improve their road safety skills and knowledge on a regular basis.”
Motorcyclists represent around two per cent of total road users but are involved in nearly a quarter of collisions, nationally.
Ride Safe involves Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service organising safety awareness events with local riders to highlight the importance of bike maintenance, wearing proper riding kit and the benefits of further rider training.
Motorcyclists are being encouraged to improve their riding skills and hazard awareness.
Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users but they can play a big part in keeping themselves safe. I encourage every motorcyclist to ride responsibly, wear all the necessary safety clothing, travel at safe speeds, appropriate to the conditions they face and attend one of our Ride Safe sessions.”
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service already works with colleagues in Royal Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to provide the Biker Down! initiative covering collision management, basic life support and hazard awareness. Hundreds of people have taken the course in the last few years.
Other partner organisations supporting the Ride Safe campaign include Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police and motorcycle riding groups across the region.
Further details about Ride Safe events are available on the 365alive website.