11 September 2014

Nearly 12 million people have now viewed a hard-hitting road safety campaign video featuring footage from a fatal collision in Norfolk.  

‘David’s story’ has attracted worldwide attention and had received more than one million views within 24 hours of being launched last Thursday (4 September).  

The video, which features film captured on the headcam of Norwich motorcyclist David Holmes, killed on the A47 in June last year, was released with the aim of getting riders and drivers to think about road safety and ultimately save lives.  

It has also generated thousands of comments on the Norfolk and Suffolk police social media sites, with messages received from people in Russia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Ecuador, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and France.  

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit, said the response had been "incredible”.  

He said: "I’m really astonished by the response and I’m confident that with this number of people having seen the video, someone’s behaviour has been influenced for the better.  

"David’s family have always been of the belief that if this video could save just one life it would have been worth releasing into the public domain. I believe that due to the high levels of interest, we have gone some way to achieving this.  

"The video is creating debate and whatever your opinion the good thing is that people are talking about road safety which will ultimately get them thinking about their behaviour on the roads.”  

People from across the world have been contacting police, via the website, to give their views and opinions on the video.  

Scott, a motorcyclist from New Zealand, emailed Norfolk Police to thank David’s family for having the ‘courage’ to release the footage. He goes on to say "seldom do people see the results of a moment’s inattention that has such long-lasting impact to one family”. He added he ‘hoped and prayed’ it would educate everyone who uses the highways.  

Brenda Holmes, David’s mother, said she had been amazed by how widely the video had been viewed and was keen to address some of the negative comments which had been received.  

She said: "Firstly, I am not one bit concerned with apportioning blame. Leave finding fault up to the police and judicial services to deal with; they have the facts, knowledge and the expertise to manage this side of every tragedy.  

"I am concerned, only, with reducing the carnage on our roads. Lives are lost and adversely affected every day, by lack of thought and care. It is this message that we want to bring home to all road users; it applies to every one of us, whether we have two, three, four, or more wheels on our vehicle. It's about the drivers and riders, not the mode of transport. I do care, passionately, about the waste of life and potential, and the grief and pain of those left behind.  

"We need just one fatality to be avoided for the release of David's Story to be a success in my eyes.”  

Norfolk’s Chief Constable Simon Bailey, said: "This video has captured the imagination of people all over the world, creating debate about road safety and ultimately getting people to think about their own driving behaviour.”

 Norfolk’s Deputy PCC Jenny McKibben, who sits on the Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership, praised the bravery of David’s mother Brenda. Jenny, said: "It showed great courage to allow this video to be released and to speak in such open and honest terms about these tragic events. Mrs Holmes’ message has remained clear – if this footage saves one life then her son will not have died in vain. This powerful campaign has brought into sharp focus the fact that all road users have a responsibility to each other.”  

Suffolk’s Chief Constable Douglas Paxton, who is a qualified police motorcyclist, said: "We want motorcyclists to have the opportunity to enjoy their riding without feeling the need to take risks.”  

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore added: "Sadly the statistics show a high percentage of those killed on our roads are motorcyclists and that is why I have made motorcycle safety a ‘Passmore Priority’ in Suffolk.”  

To view David’s story visit http://www.norfolk.police.uk/or http://www.suffolk.pollice.uk/.  

 

4 September 2014

Hard-hitting footage of a fatal collision in Norfolk has been released by police in a bid to get motorcyclists and drivers to think seriously about road safety.

The dramatic film, captured on a headcam fitted to the rider’s helmet, shows the moment a car crosses into the path of Norwich motorcyclist David Holmes who was killed on the A47 at Honingham in June last year (2013).

David’s story, a video featuring clips including the collision as well as an interview with his mother Brenda, has been produced by police with the full support of all his family, who hope the campaign will prevent further deaths.

Viewers of the video are warned that it contains content which some may find distressing, but it does not show any graphic images of the rider during or after the collision and they are given the option to refrain from viewing.

The 38-year-old had been travelling at about 97mph at the time of the collision. While he was travelling above the speed limit the driver admitted to police in interview that he had not seen David, nor a car behind the motorcycle, prior to the collision.

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit, said the video was hard-hitting and understood public opinion would be divided.

He said: "The video is shocking; however this is the reality of fatal collisions. The emotions people may experience after seeing this video can only touch the surface of those feelings that families and friends go through when losing a loved one in this way.

"The consequences of fatal collisions are devastating for all involved and as such our message though education has to reflect this. I firmly believe this footage is powerful enough to make riders and drivers think about their behaviour on the road; and most important of all, change it for the better.

"I understand releasing such footage will divide opinion; David's family are in full support of the material being released and we've worked closely with his mother Brenda to ensure this is achieved in an effective and sensitive way.

"The causes of collisions are almost always the result of driver or rider behaviour. Motorists, be it on two wheels or four, need to take responsibility for their actions. I would urge riders and drivers to think about their behaviour and what changes they could make to improve their own safety and that of others on the road.

"I'm confident this campaign will make people take time to think about their actions on the roads and allow David’s family to take something positive out of this tragic event.

"The aim of releasing this footage is not to achieve agreement from the public; it's about delivering messages around road safety and how deaths can be prevented. I welcome the fact it will create debate and, in my view, this will get people talking about road safety; their actions behind the wheel or on a bike and it will go some way to achieving our aims.”

David had been travelling from King’s Lynn towards Norwich when the collision happened at the crossroads with Woods Lane and Berrys Lane. The driver of the Renault, who admitted not seeing David or the car travelling behind, was prosecuted in April. While David was travelling above the speed limit, a number of other drivers had seen both the motorbike and the other car.

Ch Insp Spinks added: "We know from the footage that David was travelling up to 100mph. Regardless of the speed of the bike, the car manoeuvre should not have been attempted. Clearly, he was taking a risk and has paid the ultimate price. The majority of bikers ride responsibly however, I’m sure many will relate to the riding style seen in this video. We know motorcyclists are a vulnerable group and this sad case is a reminder to all roads users to be alert to what is going on around you and to lower your speed.”

David’s mother Brenda, a retired nurse who lives in North Walsham, said she hoped that by telling her story, she could help prevent another family going through the heartache they had and continue to experience.

She said: "I want to be involved in this campaign because I feel something positive can come out of his loss. If we can prevent one accident; one family going through what we have been through then David would not have died in vain.

"I know he rode fast that day, he loved speed but he also loved life. This hasn’t been an easy thing to do but I just hope that somebody benefits from the warning; that people slow down and take time to look for bikes. I’m not a perfect driver, I’ve done silly things sometimes and I’ve been lucky to get away with them, David wasn’t lucky, the driver wasn’t lucky.”

Brenda has seen the footage and said one of the saddest things for her is that he could see what was going to happen. "He must have had a moment of fear at the end of his life; I find that very hard to deal with. David was the most wonderful son and his loss has left such a void in our lives. Being without him has changed everything; our lives ended that day and I can truly say I know the meaning of heartache, it really does hurt; it’s a physical pain.”

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