Half marathon tribute to Mike Ellis

On Sunday 2nd March 23 year old twins Emily & Vicki Robinson gave up their Sunday to run the Reading half marathon.  Rather than raising money, they chose to run it in order to help raise awareness of the RearView campaign and in memory of their uncle, Mike Ellis

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Setting off on the cold, damp March morning, they pounded the streets of Reading wearing t-shirts they had designed themselves, asking people to sign the e-petition www.RearView.org.uk/petition and support the campaign for rear view cameras on lorries, to help remove the blind spot behind lorries and save lives.  Touched by the impact that Mike’s tragic death had on the family, they wanted to do something to help and chose the campaign started by their auntie in 2013.

Whilst there is currently much publicity about the need to improve lorry safety, especially in London, where there have been so many deaths of cyclists in the past few years, the issue of the blind spot behind vehicles is all too often ignored.  Yet the technology has existed for many years and the cost of installing such equipment is relatively low.

RearView asks you to consider the dangers that lorries, vans and other commercial vehicles pose to all vulnerable road users and support the campaign to help raise awareness and ensure that in future it becomes mandatory for all such vehicles to be fitted with rear view cameras or sensors, so that avoidable collisions can be eliminated and lives can be saved

Thanks to Emily & Vicki for their tremendous effort and for supporting the RearView  campaign

Nearly there!

Nearly there!

New Year’s Resolution

A New Year’s Resolution………..

As we start a New Year, we often reflect on the year which has just come to an end.  As the news channels run their annual reviews, we get a compressed version of the year’s events and sometimes this can leave us shocked as to how many catastrophic events have occurred,  how many lives have been lost, whether through war, natural disasters, health or other tragic circumstances, such as road deaths.

If you have ever lost a loved one, especially a partner, child, family member or good friend, you will have some idea of the indescribable depth of grief which you are left to deal with.  Almost every single person who has died will leave behind someone whose heart has been broken by their loss. Yet it seems strange to me that the media can influence so dramatically, the way in which we respond to certain people’s deaths.

Earlier this year Roadpeace produced a leaflet called ‘Five-a-day’ http://www.roadpeace.org/resources/RoadPeace_Five_A_Day_2012.pdf  highlighting how approximately five people each day are killed on our roads in the UK.  For every one of those people there will be loved ones left behind, whose lives are devastated by the news and who have to come to terms with their loss, yet many barely get a mention in the local press.  In November 2013 came the shocking news that 6 cyclists were killed on London’s roads in just fourteen days  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24989985 There was public outrage and a flurry of activity in the media and by both politicians and campaigners – and rightly so – but what about all the other road deaths?  During that same fourteen day period approximately 64 other people would have been killed on our roads (based on the 5-a-day average).  Why aren’t we shouting about them too?  No doubt that many, if not all of them, were avoidable and guaranteed that every one of them left behind grief-stricken families and friends.

If you visit www.roadpeace.org you will find a running total of people killed throughout the world in the past year.  As I write this on December 31st 2013 the total stands at 1,238,757 since Jan 1st 2013.  It is a truly shocking statistic and one which we should be ashamed of.  If we cared as much about every human life as we do about our own family and friends, our loved ones, would we take more care in what we do, how we drive, and what importance we give to safety?  Of course we would! Sadly, however, we are too often so wrapped up in our own world and in too much of a hurry to even think about the dangers we create or the risks we take.

So how about this for a New Year’s Resolution  – think of every pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, driver on the road as though he/she was your loved one – the most precious and important person in your life.  Every time you think of speeding, put your vehicle into reverse, are about to turn left or right or pull out of a junction, just imagine how you would feel if you, or anyone else, killed or seriously injured the person that you love more than anything in this world.  I guarantee you it will make you drive more slowly, think more carefully before you manoeuvre and be a much more considerate road user…….

……. and if you get angry and frustrated at other road users who have not made the same resolution, why not direct that anger into supporting road safety campaigns run by organisations such as www.brake.org.uk   www.busk-uk.co.uk   www.rearview.org.uk    www.roadpeace.org   www.seemesaveme.com   Let’s get the media to shout about the work that is being done every day behind the scenes, often by those who have lost loved ones themselves, to help make our roads safer and stop these preventable, tragic and untimely deaths

Lorries, cyclists and the blame game

The news of the death of  the 6th cyclist to be killed in 14 days today http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24989985 is shocking beyond words and my thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends of those killed.  I understand something of what they are going through, as I am still grieving the loss of my 41 year old husband just over 19 months ago, when he was crushed under the wheels of an HGV whilst riding a motorcycle.

In August this year I launched the campaign www.RearView.org.uk to seek to change the law to make reversing cameras compulsory on all commercial vehicles.  Aware that there were already other campaigns seeking to improve lorry safety with respect to cyclists and pedestrians, I felt that the issue of blindspots to the rear of vehicles was being lost amongst the clamour for improving the side vision of HGV’s.  However, I am also of the opinion that we are all seeking the same thing – to improve road safety for all vulnerable road users.

I am saddened today, not only by the news of yet another avoidable death, but by the blame game which is being fought out in the media, including twitter, blogs and newspaper comment.  The reality is that we need to work together to resolve these serious safety issues.  Just as in any walk of life, there are good lorry drivers and bad lorry drivers, good cyclists and bad cyclists.  Blaming each other for not caring about the other is going to get us nowhere.

The fact is that we need to educate everyone.  We need to ensure that lorry drivers and van drivers and car drivers are aware of and respectful to all other road users, especially the more vulnerable cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.  We also need to ensure that cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists are respectful to drivers of lorries, buses, vans and cars and that they are aware of the limitations of those vehicles.  I consider myself a very experienced driver and over the years have driven a wide range of very large and small vehicles, but it wasn’t until I read the Police report about my husband’s death that I realised the extent of the blindspot behind lorries.  We need to educate everyone and we need to work together to improve training, awareness and road safety.  Blaming each other is going to get us nowhere.  I know that blaming the driver that reversed over my husband and dragged him for 80m under the wheels of his 18tonnes track isn’t going to bring him back – instead I am seeking to improve people’s awareness, change driver training and work with freight companies to discover the best way to keep people safe in the future.  Whilst you are thinking of the families and friends of those killed in the past 10 days, spare a thought for the drivers of those vehicles which killed them – they have to live with what happened for the rest of their lives.  Let’s stop the blame game and start working together now before more avoidable deaths occur on our roads

Barbara Ellis

Calls for compulsory safety cameras on lorries

http://www.fleetdirectory.co.uk/news/calls-for-compulsory-safety-cameras-on-lorries/

Toddler crushed to death under reversing van

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2411754/Baby-Poppys-mothers-compassion-toddler-crushed-death-van.html