Bike deaths Mum shares heartbreak to keep others safe
IT is a little over four years since Lisa Hill lost her only son when he crashed his motorbike, but there are still times when it feels like it was yesterday.
“It doesn’t go away. It’s always in the back of your head,” she said.
“You can be going down the road and see a motorbike or see a near-miss and it’s there, back in your mind. People say time’s a healer but it’s not”.
As if to prove it, Lisa is able to recall every detail of August 23, 2015, the day 26-year-old Nick – Nicholas only when he was in trouble – collided with a car on the A40 in Cheltenham and was killed instantly.
Why the Bishop’s Cleeve resident’s injuries were so catastrophic has been difficult for the family to comprehend as speed was not a factor, and witnesses said there was no big impact.
Lisa said: “I didn’t even know he had a motorbike but it turned out he’d had it for three weeks and hadn’t told me.
“Nick had no experience on the roads. He had always caught the bus. He never even in his life rode a bicycle. I cannot get my head around how or why it’s allowed for someone to take a short computer-based test and then be allowed to ride a powerful 125 moped without any experience.”
The 50-year-old, who lives in Quedgeley, Gloucester, is telling her story to help today’s launch of a nationwide safe and social driving campaign called The Power of 2 Wheels.
She also takes part in What if? road safety roadshows aimed at new and learner drivers at Gloucestershire secondary schools.
Lisa says the pain of losing Nick never goes away and adds his son, Mikie, has struggled with the loss of his father.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, Martin Surl, who has made safe and social driving one of his priorities, said: “I am not only grateful but also full of admiration for Lisa. This has been a devastating experience for all her family and yet she is prepared to relive it in the hope others will be spared.
“Riders on two wheels are especially exposed. The whole point of safe and social driving is to make our roads safer but also to encourage all road users to be more considerate and courteous towards each other”.
Motorcyclists remain among the most vulnerable road users, accounting for 19 per cent of all road deaths in Great Britain in 2017. A total of 349 motorcyclists lost their lives during 2017, a nine per cent increase in 12 months.
Pedal cyclists also come under the vulnerable road user group, accounting for six per cent of all road deaths in Great Britain in 2017 when 101 lost their lives.
The Power of 2 Wheels campaign is aimed at improving road safety and the behaviour of riders; reducing the number of fatal and serious injury accidents as well as enforcing compliance of road traffic regulations.
Mark Astle, assistant chief fire officer at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “All road users have a responsibility for the safety of both themselves and all others that use our roads so we hope this campaign will help reduce the number of accidents and fatalities.
“By ensuring that all motorists as well as riders are aware of the importance of road safety, we hope that collisions that end in tragedy and devastate families can be avoided.”
Councillor Dave Norman (C, Grange and Kingsway), Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for the fire and rescue service, said: “Lisa has shown incredible bravery in sharing her story and we hope it will make motorbike and bike riders take great care when they are out on the roads.
“They are one of the most vulnerable groups of road users so safety messages cannot be emphasised strongly enough.”
Lisa Hill, from Quedgeley, can recall every detail of the day her 26-year-old son Nick, inset, was killed on his motorbike – she is sharing her story to help The Power of 2 Wheels road safety campaign