Murray MacGregor – Friday 12th July 2019 – 8.00am.
While thousands of fans will be cheering on Lewis Hamilton at this weekend’s British Grand Prix, road safety campaigners are hoping that a six foot mannequin called ‘Colin’ will have an even bigger impact on the lives of thousands of motorcycle riders.
Colin will be at the home of grand prix racing this weekend along with staff from West Midlands Ambulance Service who will be in the Entertainment Zone working with Highways England as well as colleagues from police and fire, talking with the tens of thousand of ‘petrol heads’ about road safety.
Although motorcycle riders make up just 1% of road users, they account for 18% of deaths. In the last four years in the West Midlands alone, there have been more than 1,150 crashes that have resulted in either the death or injuries that are so serious that they have required specialist trauma treatment.
WMAS Operations Manager and former ‘emergency biker’, Mark Hayes, said: “We started working with the West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team last year looking at ways to educate riders on how to reduce the chances of them joining that grim tally.
“What we realised is that many of the injuries are much worse than they might have been because of the inappropriate nature of the clothing the riders were wearing.
“Too often in the summer we see riders dressed in only t-shirts, shorts and trainers. If they were to come off, even at slow speed they would suffer horrendous injuries caused by them sliding along the road surface.
‘Colin’ shows the difference between a rider who was wearing ‘leathers’ and what would happen if they weren’t. My colleague, Paramedic Adele Gregory used theatrical make up to make ‘Colin’ look incredibly life like, which often shocks riders when they see what could happen.
“What we want riders to do is: ‘dress for the slide, not the ride’. By wearing proper safety equipment, they can dramatically reduce the level of injury. There is no excuse for not wearing appropriate gear now – it doesn’t have to be expensive and you can even buy clothing that looks like jeans but is made of materials like Kevlar which provides excellent protection.
“Equally, we want to increase the take up of advanced education to make them better riders, thereby reducing the chances of them getting into a situation where they might come off their bike.
“I’ve been riding for many years, not just for pleasure but also responding to 999 incidents and know how just how much good protection is worth. The message we will be giving to the people we see at Silverstone is simple: what value do you put on your health and life?”