Road Safety News
 

Police release fatal collision video

Friday 5th September 2014

THE VIDEO ABOVE CONTAINS SOME DISTURBING IMAGES

Norfolk and Suffolk Police have released dramatic footage of a fatal collision in a bid to “get motorcyclists and car drivers to think seriously about road safety”.

The film, captured on a headcam, shows the moment a car crosses into the path of Norwich motorcyclist David Holmes, 38, who was killed on the A47 in June 2013. Mr Holmes was travelling at about 100mph at the time of the collision.

The video, featuring clips including the collision as well as an interview with David’s mother, was released on the Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary’s YouTube channels on 4 September and has now been viewed more than 10 million times.

The footage has been released with the full support of David’s family in the hope it can prevent further deaths.

Speaking to local media at the launch of the film, chief inspector Chris Spinks from Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit 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.

“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.

“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.”

Comments

Comment on this story
Report a reader comment

What's your view - comment on this story:

I confirm that I have read and accept the moderation policy and house rules relating to comments posted on this website.
Your comment:
Your name and location:
Your email:

Eric:
It depends what Bob meant really by 'at speed'. I took it he meant driving/riding much faster than vehicles already travelling at a reasonable speed for the road, in which case why overtake at all? It would seem to be an unnecessary and risky action. Of course, there are the speed merchants who like to pass everything in their path like the rider in the clip riding with no safety margin whatsover, in such a way it was bound to end in tears. I'm sure Bob didn't mean we should be encouraging that sort of behaviour.

Derek:
As I've said, it's not just doing it 'by the book' - that should be the minimum and is not foolproof - you have to take it to a higher level and drive/ride defensively watching, anticipating, being ready to stop, etc. We should all know how quickly we can stop in whatever we're driving or riding and regulate our speed accordingly depending on the circumstances - the rider in the clip did not do that. It didn't have to be a car turning - it could have been anything.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (0) | Disagree (3)
-3

Hugh
Overtaking is potentially risky as it involves being in the oncoming lane. To execute an overtake "at speed" suggests to me that it minimises exposure in that lane and hence is more likely to make it safer. Perhaps you could elaborate on what you mean by "Overtaking 'at speed' is risky and shouldn't be promoted as if it is something we should all aspire to"?
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)
+4

Duncan
I stand by what I said and those that know me will know what I mean.

No one that knows me would expect me to promote a speed in excess of the speed limits and indeed in excess of that which one could consider safe. Dependant upon all the circumstances appertaining to the rider, his state of mind, the bike and its condition, the road and its maintenance, the usage of the road and the inherent dangers that may be apparent or maybe not so, but anticipated etc. My comment stands by itself and I expect others to view it in that light.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

Hugh's consideration that riding by the book would negate any SMIDSY accident is flawed. One need not be doing any speed at all - stationary in fact, and still one can be struck by moving traffic. It's happened to me twice whilst waiting in a traffic queues. Did the drivers see me? No, they had been paying attention to something else.

There is a point of no return at almost any speed above walking pace. A Vincent motorcycle was once tested and found to be able to stop in 21 feet from 30mph. This did not include any thinking distance as it was a pre-meditated test. At 15mph it would still be possible for a vehicle to be suddenly put into ones path with insufficient time to recognise and react to prevent a collision, and at such slow speeds there is a good probability a third party may consider you have slowed to let them pass.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

Bob:
You describe driving and riding on country roads as if it were a competition or a race. What do you mean about 'driving at speed' on country roads? Do you mean faster than those around you, or just overall faster than what would be the norm in an urban area for instance? Overtaking "at speed" is risky and shouldn't be promoted as if it is something we should all aspire to. Yes, we need to encourage skills in vehicle control obviously, but that would be with a view to avoiding hazards and accidents, not creating them.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (7)
-6

Paul:
I do not disagree that most killed and serious injuries occur on country and arterial roads and that's a problem because learners are not taught how to ride at speed on country roads. So as with car drivers, how are they going to know what to do? How to take the bends, how to overtake at speed, how to behave. It's not on any pre-test curriculum for training. Then the advanced riders which to my mind is mainly concentrating on those rural roads, what are the dangers, how does one identify them and react etc - the list is endless.

This man was a mature adult. Obviously well educated and his jobs seem to infer some degree of specialist knowledge and a willingness to suffer hardship. He had 22 years of biking experience under his belt and had just returned from his work in the extremes of this planet. He was described as friendly and helpful and enjoyed his biking but to his demise he had within him the need to speed. He is not alone in sharing that need as unfortunately other do also.

We will never know the full reasons for the collision and can only speculate. I see that in the final second or part of a second his speed and revs did not alter and that the only attempt to save himself was to move to his nearside. I speculate that he realised he could not stop so an attempt to avoid the oncoming car was made. As to his lights being on, it's possible the motorcycle that he was riding has the lights on automatically on low beam with the engine running.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

Quite right Duncan - driving by the book is the minimum and my point is that too many, including the rider in the clip, don't even reach that standard so their safety and others is straight away compromised. To be ultra-safe you do have to do 'a bit more' which is where defensive driving/riding comes in.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (4)
0

"By the book - and a bit more" Hugh?

That then illustrates that perhaps going by the 'book' is not enough and that you have added your own interpretations of how the driving task should be managed. If that is the case then the book has to be considered as deficient in some way as I'm sure you'll agree. I think this is the whole point of my argument.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (8) | Disagree (1)
+7

Well Duncan, you carry on with your theories and I'll carry on doing it by the book - and a bit more - and not having accidents or near misses like lots of others on the road.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (5)
-3

Bob
51% of all serious or fatal collisions happen on rural roads, this is not a small percentage. Almost all of those can be attributed to the excessive speed of one or both parties. In this case the motorcycle was travelling towards the junction at 100mph or 146.66 feet per second. If we assume the car was traveling at 50mph or 73.33 FPS approaching the junction then their approach speed was 220FPS. This would have reduced as the car slowed to make the turn.

If you look carefully at the video you will see the motorcyclist accelerate towards the oncoming car just prior to the impact and from the reflection on the cars front number plate the bikes head light was on. Why did the motorcyclist accelerate? Maybe he assumed the car wasn't going to move, we will never know. Why didn't the car driver see the bike, no one can be sure.

There is one point we can be sure of and that is inappropriate speed combined with a lack of awareness has to be a major contributory factor in this incident.
Paul Jeffs Worcestershire

Agree (6) | Disagree (7)
-1

It's a nice thought Hugh, but doing it by the book is sadly not reflected in the accident statistics. Far more good people have bad accidents than bad people have bad accidents so we have to look deeper as to why. Sadly a great many people involved in fatal accidents will have a previously unblemished record and their friends and relatives will claim that they were normally a very careful and diligent driver and not prone to high risk behaviours of any kind.

A major problem we have is with the few headline grabbing accidents that 'bad' people are involved in because they tend to make us take the view that if bad people have bad accidents then all bad accidents must involve bad people. Shaking off this mindset is not easy as it helps us to rationalise situations that we think are well beyond our control.

Hugh also says that "accidents are not inevitable if we make a point of always getting it right", but that would only make sense if everybody got it right 100% of the time. In accidents such as SMIDSY's it is clear that both parties have got it wrong which shows that it is the coincidence of mistakes as well as the mistakes themselves that are crucial in collisions. In road accidents we often don't know we have got something wrong until it's too late for us to do anything about it so this is where we must concentrate our efforts in finding out why this is so.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (8) | Disagree (1)
+7

Bob:
I deliberately used the phrase 'defensive speed' which is no faster than the speed you could safely stop from - even if it's a SMIDSY - it does work! It's only part of it obviously - you still have to be alert, think and anticipate - but that should then lead a rider/driver to a speed which is defensive.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (4)
-2

Hugh
Nice to hear your story about the bikers but that is only one side of the equation. Even police, ambulance and fire riders and many advanced riders with all their experience, knowledge, practice, colourful machinery, high vis and conspicuity still suffer smidsys. That's because no matter what they do the other party to the equation didn't look for them, or looked but didn't see them, or looked, saw them but got their approach speed wrong, or saw them and pulled out anyway.

It takes two. One can be doing everything right and it's good to see motorcyclists travelling safely, one can appreciate them and feel good about it, I know I do. The next second someone else has shattered that by their actions that causes a collision.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (7) | Disagree (0)
+7

Since writing my last comment, I've just been out and coming home along my local rural 'B' road with a 40 limit, there were three motorcyclists behind me obviously riding together, but with a respectable distance between each other and me, steady throttle all the way, defensive speed, no unnecesary braking, always correctly positioned etc.- by the book in other words. I got the impression they would not be troubled by SMIDSYs. Accidents are not inevitable if we make a point of always getting it right.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (6)
-5

Duncan: You could look at it another way. Instead of trying to understand the mind of those who are accident prone or high-risk, consider those who, day-in, day-out, year-in, year-out, don't have accidents or come even close to having accidents and think about what they might be doing differently. It's not down to luck - it's just that they're neither careless nor reckless and they think more about what they're doing. Doing it by the book helps as well, which I think is what Rod is saying.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (5)
-1

Hardly QED Rod.
Thanks to the circumstances of the crashes I was lucky to survive, yet a great many have died in similar situations. Do we take it then that you are advocating luck as being the primary driver of your road safety policy? It seems from what you are saying that your policy doesn't much care about the accidents themselves, but is only interested in whether or not people are complying with some arbitrary rule when they have their accident.

Rather than relying on compliance my preference is to discover the root causes of accidents and then armed with that knowledge take steps to eliminate them. The idea that the speed of travel is the common thread that binds accidents together is quite wrong I'm afraid. What is common to each and every accident is the presence of a human brain or brains right at the heart of the action. If we can understand brains, their function and their failure modes then we can begin to understand the complex causal web that leads up to accidents and thus reduce their number and severity. I think that this strategy will yield somewhat better outcomes than relying on a rulebook and luck to achieve a similar aim.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (7) | Disagree (2)
+5

Duncan
Presumably your two SMIDSY crashes were when you were complying with the speed limit. I see that you lived to tell the tales. QED

I agree that there are many factors that all add up to turning an incident into a crash and a crash into a casualty and a casualty into a fatality. But speed is the one that figures in every one of those transformations compared to most other facts (weather, road layout, tyre pressure, distraction level, awareness, education, etc). That's why setting the correct speed limits and the correct social norms is so important as well as correct level of enforcement for those who may deviate outside those norms.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (5) | Disagree (6)
-1

It's easy to say we would not have been travelling at 97mph but why would we have been different? If the answer is “97mph is unsafe” or “I don't exceed speed limits” then we fail to prevent such SMIDSYs. Remember that unmarked Police bikes travel safely at up to 130mph on A roads and the vast majority of even fatal collisions occur when no-one is speeding.

The answer to why we should not have been continuing at the same speed (whatever that speed was) is that the car was going to turn right and, if it did, we would be at the same place at the same time. It is spotting all potential conflict and acting to avoid (or formulating a constantly changing “plan B”) that keeps us safe.

If a safety intervention is made at this junction, the great difficulty is to prevent a similar collision without adversely affecting the millions of riders that don't crash because they are concentrating on avoiding potential conflict with all the other road users.
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (9) | Disagree (3)
+6

Thanks for that Rod and so perhaps you could explain why I suffered two similar crashes when each time I was riding well within the prevailing speed limit? The 'rules' didn't save me then, nor have they saved a great many other SMIDSY victims the vast majority of whom were also found to be in full compliance with the law.

If these crashes are claiming lives irrespective of whether everybody is complying with the law or not then we need to look a lot more closely at their causes. In this type of accident, compliance clearly does not keep you safe so the question is how do we prevent these accidents from happening from fully compliant people?
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (9) | Disagree (3)
+6

Well done Rod. It needed to be said.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (6)
0

Duncan
There's no secret. The guy was doing 66% more than the recommended and legal speed for which he has a license and which other road users may have expected. He was a danger to himself and others as a confessed and persistent road criminal.

I believe that case law is already firmly established that someone who is travelling at 166% of the speed limit is liable for the consequences of a collision regardless of the negligence of another road user.

Had we better road policing and harsher sentencing to ensure that:-
a) The chances of getting caught are high
b) The consequences of getting caught are high

Then maybe this person would be alive today.

Unfortunately crashes are infrequent enough for them not to register in the personal experience of road users. Multiple near misses, and I am sure this person had many, may well have been the "thrill" he was seeking in going so fast on public streets.

You may have all sorts of psycho-theories, but in the end they count for nothing if people do not realise the relationship between mass, speed, distance and time, and that when in a public space the "Rules" are there for a purpose to protect others and themselves.

I believe there are several factors that are failing to provide adequate following of rules.
1) The way that police forces have constantly eroded resources for road policing and diluted the focus on road crime.
2) The failure to use randomly placed and covert speed cameras.
3) Low sentencing

Of course you can say other things came into play, but if we are to have rules on the road and not a free for all then we need those rules to be observed and enforced.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (10) | Disagree (11)
-1

Have you not just justified my comments Duncan when you make the comparison with a professional cricketer who's only aim is to hit or catch a fast object, a ball, heading their way be it bowled or hit by a bat. They are professionals who have spent years at the net learning to practise hitting a moving object and yet they still get it wrong sometimes or rather more often than just sometimes.

If we were to follow this train of thought I do not believe there would be enough hours in the day or days in a lifetime to train or prepare or enable us to deal with everything that may or may not happen, be it on a road or in life in general. No matter how we learn or train and exercise that knowledge there will always be that one moment when it can fail us.

As with this circumstance remember he was on a day out, went to a meet and maybe he became fuelled with adrenalin which eventually could have lead to tiredness and loss of cognitive thought and behaviour. He may still have been on a high as he left the meet or had come down from it and as a result he failed to see the car or at least saw it and because of this altered state of mind he failed to see or perceive the danger he was approaching and that may have led to his demise.

I have come across only one previous instance of this happening but I believe that it occurs more frequently than we know.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)
0

Conclusions can be reached Bob, as cognitive/human factors science is not as complicated as you might think. In order to do this however we have to be able to drill down from the observed outputs such as speed etc and try and recreate the unfolding mindset of the people directly involved. Once we understand this unfolding mindset it is then possible to put some measures in place that will help reduce the chances of these accidents happening in the future. The work will be long and hard and occasionally it will lead to a dead end, but through a process of elimination great progress will be made.

A good example of what I mean can be found with one of the tick boxes in Stats19 says that somebody "failed to judge other person's path or speed" (as in this case). As far as I am aware there is no training or learning material anywhere on the face of the planet that tells us how we do judge another vehicle's path or speed so if we don't know how it's done how can we possibly expect people to be able to do it with 100% accuracy 100% of the time? A county cricketer for example will fail to judge the ball's path or speed a great many times during a match and yet they are highly trained professionals who's only goal is either catching or hitting the ball. In the case of the cricketer many hours are spent in analysing and learning various ways in which the can improve their ball catching skills, yet still they will not get it 100% right 100% of the time.

Unlike the cricketer who seeks improvement through understanding the ball hitting and catching problem, those of us in the road safety industry seem to be seeking improvement by not even wanting to understand the problem in the first place. Maybe this is because the problems seem too difficult with too many variables for us to be able to make any sense of them. This is simply not the case as once you start to deconstruct even the most multivariate of problems they will soon begin to give up their secrets.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (8) | Disagree (1)
+7

The basic knee jerk reaction to this incident is to police the road better. Have speed limit signs increased. Put up THINK BIKE signage and possibly look at the design of the junction.

I read what Duncan is saying but it will end up with the psychology of the two participants being in question ie. their state of mind at the time and leading up to that time and to some degree why it became as it did and then there will be so many variables that no conclusion can be reached, or a conclusion that cannot be acted upon without parts of the brain and its cognitive functions being interfered with, externally or otherwise.

As to the question about speed, why quote 130 mph why not 60 mph (probably the legal speed limit of that road) then the biker would not have been anywhere near the car turning at the time it did. He would not have reached that point for another minute or two.

At the speed he was going say 100 mph then he would be travelling at 150ft per second thinking distance before action to stop would have been 7/10 of a second that distance being 105ft and then braking distance in the region of 550ft a total of 655ft and that would have taken him about 4.5 seconds at that speed and a distance as it appears from him saying sh*t that he did not have as the car was approaching him when the impact occurred.

He would have collided within the thinking distance .
bob craven Lancs

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)
+2

From the outset the casualty was defined as attracted to speed, this much his Mother has stated. Onboard cameras can give misleading appearances regarding speed, but we are told it was approaching 100mph. Had the rider been driving a fast car – and what car is not capable of travelling fast today – the end result would have been worse. Every day I drive, I am overtaken by cars that just want to go faster than I do, mostly along narrow country lanes. Every driveway, every gateway, every entry to anywhere is a hazard from which can emerge a threat to safe travel. Seeking training to ‘see’ these hazards is woefully lacking in the majority of the motoring public – especially amongst the 20 – 40yr age bracket. Young people – anyone really – are more into ‘what’ they would drive and not ‘how’ they would drive. For this we have a combination of human desires and frailty - in conjunction with manufacturers seeking to feed the ego, this is where commonsense takes a back seat or is ignored completely. Couple this with a journey taken daily as a matter of routine, and an automatic pilot within begins to act out a regular scenario that may have been repeated time and time again without consequence. In such a case, observation becomes scant.

My heart goes out to David’s parents, and I applaud the decision in allowing the film coverage to be broadcast as it clearly shows how easy it is for one person to assume they have been seen, and another to have seen nothing. Death and injury are the consequences of lack of awareness that all advanced training sessions primarily concentrate on.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (10) | Disagree (0)
+10

Many thanks to the courageous family for allowing the use of this video. It is so sad but a real jolt to any rider, and a reminder of the dangers they face - 40 times the risk compared to car drivers. We will be using it in our training from now on (providing the family have no objections), and it hopefully will save lives.

I would urge anyone in Norfolk seeing this video to direct themselves or any riders they know to Norfolk's 'Hugger' motorcycle training scheme which costs £43 for 90 mins 1:1 professional safety training, which will not lecture them on adhering to speed limits, but will assess their riding, identify the particular risks of riding, and explain how to ride defensively.
Mike Abbott, Retford, Notts

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)
+6

The problem with counterfactual reasoning (IF some variable had been different THEN the accident would not have happened) is that it exposes how little we understand of the world about us. Each of these people's journey's would have required perhaps a million or so decisions and actions and each one would have had to happen exactly as it did in order for the ultimate collision to occur. To pick on just one of these variables and point to that one being the key to the entire accident is profoundly wrong. It shows that we can only understand the accident in terms of a reality that never existed rather than trying to understand the reality that did exist at the time. Counterfactual reasoning may help people directly involved in an accident to identify things that they could have done differently, but for those of us external to the event it usually leads to an incorrect assesment of beneficial future actions. This is because it is usually the variables that are the easiest to blame that are most often involved in future avoidance plans.

In this situation it could have been just as easy to counterfactually reason that IF the junction had been of a better design THEN the accident wouldn't have happened. Similarly IF the car had been RHD rather than LHD THEN the accident would never have happened. The list goes on and on.

Rather than using counterfactual reasoning it's a good idea to use actualfactual reasoning instead because that constrains us to analysing the accident as it happened not as we would liked it to have not happened. This is a much more difficult task to do as it it makes us ask the important questions as to why every variable was as it was in the timeline leading up to the accident. What led the rider into thinking that his speed of travel was OK? What led the driver into his assesment of the amount of time he had to complete his manouvre? This list will also be huge, but it will tell us far more than the counterfactual list ever will.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (11) | Disagree (1)
+10

The clues were out there! The road markings clearly indicate an approaching hazard. I was always taught to treat hazards with care. But clearly for myself fault lies with driver & rider.
Gareth, Surrey

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)
+6

Vicky:
The story is covered in some newspapers but no mention is made of any other casualties, only that "The motorist admitted causing death by careless driving and got a 12 months community sentence in April and an 18 month driving ban. He was also ordered to pay £200 costs with a £60 surcharge and do 130 hours unpaid work".

I would hope that the speed of the rider was taken into consideration by the Court. I wonder what speed the rider would have to have been doing before the Courts decided that the motorist was not guilty of anything?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

Does anyone know what injuries were sustained by the driver and/or any passengers of the car involved?
Vicky

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

Simon
My statement was deliberately provocative and, as I explained, was not something I was advocating. In a sense, it was meant to be ridiculous. It does, however, remain a statement of fact in the context of the rest of my posting, in the same way that your comment underlines the benefits of the black car minimising (within reason) the time he is crossing the oncoming traffic.

And now a related observation. In circumstances such as this, the natural tendency is to swerve left, but that increases the likelihood of a collision. A swerve to the right may have missed the rear of the car, or glanced it, although other oncoming traffic may then have been involved. It's all part of thinking about escape routes in the event of the unpredictable.

Let's have a proper debate about dealing with hazards rather than trying to score points.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (13) | Disagree (4)
+9

"Had the bike been travelling at, say, 130mph he would have passed through the junction before the black car had started his right turn."

Yes Eric, I can see the logic there - and if the car had taken the junction at 85mph he probably would have missed the bike as well.

Quite honestly, as a rider myself, that's one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever read.
Simon, Norwich

Agree (11) | Disagree (6)
+5

I'm tempted at first to agree with Rod, but as the clip shows, another biker is travelling at a reasonable speed (as are the cars) so not everyone on a m/cycle is reckless, so rather than take certain types of vehicle away from all drivers/riders, it would be more productive to just take the reckless drivers/riders away from the vehicles - which inevitably means more stringent enforcement of traffic laws which would ultimately lead to a ban and then off the road, out of harms away.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (6)
0

There will be many who choose to misinterpret this contribution but, in response to a number of comments suggesting that this could have been prevented had the rider not exceeded the speed limit, I point out that:

Derek Reynolds has received 100% agreement when he pointed out that such a collision at slower speeds would also be likely to have dire consequences.

But further, collisions involve two vehicles arriving at the same point at the same time. Had the bike been travelling at, say, 130mph he would have passed through the junction before the black car had started his right turn.

Note that I am not advocating driving at such speeds, but illustrating the non linear relationship between speed and safety. I also recognise that such excess speed would be likely to result in tragedy at some other point where the dynamics were slightly different.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (10) | Disagree (5)
+5

How about an intervention that bans the sale and use of motorbikes (and cars) that provide such performance as this one obviously did. Take away the performance and a great deal of the "lure" of speed and risk taking disappears.

Let's also remember that is not just bikers that are killed in such incidents. When the person is a pedestrian crossing the carriageway it is usually the pedestrian that is killed.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (8) | Disagree (18)
-10

We can't cure “It won’t happen to me” Stuart because that's a function of how the brain is wired. What we can do however is to use that same wiring system to make these types of accidents far less likely. This does require that those of us in the road safety industry take an active interest in brain function so that we can design much better interventions.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (11) | Disagree (2)
+9

I watched the film and as Bob said the family have given consent, and I do offer my sympathies. However I did not see any accident. I saw someone who seems from the film a very sensible person in his life, then got on his motorbike and as a number of riders and drivers do, thought he was invincible. Going off his speedo it looks round the 80mph+ (I will stand to be corrected on that). The driver even on a straight road would have had an almost impossible task to judge that speed approaching them allowing the time to make the right or wrong call.

If we could invent a cure to the “It won’t happen to me” I would be out of a job and I suspect so would most of my colleagues. I only see one person at fault.
Stuart, Rochdale

Agree (12) | Disagree (5)
+7

Clearly errors of judgement on both parts here but this shows how there's usually a number of components to any collision and how any one of a number of decisions could have been made differently to prevent it.

Regardless of 'fault' the biker most often comes off worse so primary responsibilty for safety has to lie with the most vulnerable road user, in this case the biker. Making the choice to cross that junction at 100mph removed the options for an escape plan and reduced the chances of being seen on the approach.
Dave, Leeds

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)
+11

Of course the rider was travelling too quickly, that is neither here nor there though. The car driver said that he/she did not see the rider or the car behind him. So failed to spot not one but two vehicles.

I also note that the car is not positioned correctly for the turn. It's take the 'racing driver's line' i.e minimising the arc. This means that for a brief moment the car has to travel against the direction of traffic rather than cutting directly across. All in all though, it's just an error in judgement like I see every day when out on the roads be it walking, cycling, riding or driving.
Michael H

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)
+4

"This is a standard SMIDSY". I would disagree not because of the speed or that it appears that the car making the turn has a Dutch number plate on the front but because these SMIDSYSs should not be accepted as standard, as the norm. I know that is probably not was meant and there seems to be no solution, we have the causes everybody knows it is happening, that is getting out to the whole driving/riding community as Duncan suggests.
Trevor Baird - Northern Ireland

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

I get the impression that this chap was an accident waiting to happen. I know that's a cliche, but the manner of his riding leading up to the accident, the head-cam and his mother's comments do suggest that his normal road behaviour might have been high-risk and had the cicumstances not all come together at this point at this time, it would have been somewhere else, at some other time. Sadly, his luck ran out.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (13) | Disagree (10)
+3

I agree with Duncan. This accident starts when the motorcyclist overtakes the car with the junction 4 seconds ahead. The rider doesn't seem to notice he is on a collision path with the car and makes no variation. To avoid the potential conflict something needed to change, speed up, slow down or move road position. Remember that most in-car cameras have wide angle lenses making distances look longer, speeds higher and corners more open.

Video evidence now allows viewing of previous footage and could greatly assist road safety. Was this rider regularly failing to avoid potential conflict or did he just fail to spot this one?

The car driver may have looked ahead before the rider had overtaken, seen the car coming and decided there was time to turn. Then checked mirrors and the side road before turning. His final glance might just have been to confirm the car was still far enough away.

This is a standard SMIDSY, there will be many more today, more tomorrow, ad infinitum. It may be more effective and cheaper to teach riders (like me) how to avoid than teach drivers (like me) how to avoid, despite primary responsibility being the other way around.
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (18) | Disagree (3)
+15

Let alone that the driver of the car had clearly underestimated the speed of the approaching bike, and maybe not seen it at all even with lights on (elsewhere from an alleged court appearance they stated they did not), the rider would have been in a similar situation had he been travelling at 60, or even slower. From personal experience on two wheels and four, many drivers do not ‘see’ motorcycles due to the greater difficulty in assessing their approach speed due to their tall narrow outline. Ironically, one can be killed at slower speeds too, and some have survived high speed crashes such as this and walked away.

Would the incident have happened if he had been travelling slower? That would all depend on his position relative to the car turning - and a collision still might have happened, and still might have been fatal.

However, the rider’s folly at such a speed was to entrust that others had and would see him. It’s another tragedy that should be imprinted on the minds of all who drive and ride, though that alone would still not stop incidents happening.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (12) | Disagree (1)
+11

If nothing else, it shows how useful onboard cameras and event recorders are for accident investigators. Without the speedo being visible or independent witnesses, I wonder if the speed would have been accurately ascertained.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)
+11

Interesting view Matt, but it's the old view of human error which seeks to find bad decisions and inaccurate assesments of risk rather than finding why a person's actions made sense to them at the time. It must have made sense to this rider to blast through the junction the way he did and although we have the benefit of hindsight to guide us he had no such ability. As far as this rider was concerned the decision was correct because he considered the risk to be minimal and therefore he did not make an error in the conventional sense.

Our job is to find out why it made sense to him when it patently shouldn't have. My money is on the fact that he just didn't know the situation was all that risky.
Duncan MacKillop, Startford on Avon

Agree (10) | Disagree (9)
+1

I disagree with the suggestion that knowledge deficiencies contribute to this type, and many other types, of collision. In most cases (with the exception maybe of foreign drivers, new road layouts and some novice driver/child related incidents) road users know what they should do and what might happen but still take the risk either deliberately or unintentionally. The error lies in the application of their knowledge, i.e. decision making and risk perception, rather than their knowledge itself.

Therefore the question we should be asking is why road users make these errors/lapses/violations despite the knowledge and information available to them?
Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire

Agree (15) | Disagree (7)
+8

I agree with Bob on this. Both parties may well have been wrong in their actions. Certainly travelling at that sort of speed on that road with the opportunity of other road users to merge from the left or right and cross your path is not prudent. I ride a large cruiser that is lit up like Times Square at the front to increase my frontal footprint and increase conspicuity. I must admit the Think Bike campaign is sometimes seen by some bike riders as placing all the responsibility on the other road users.
Keith

Agree (21) | Disagree (0)
+21

The even greater tragedy than the loss of this young man's life is the fact that on the same day there were a dozen similar accidents. It is only the fact that this one was filmed that has brought it to the attention of a great many people.

There were two fundamental errors in play here (as in every such accident) one of perception by the driver and one of knowledge by the rider. The perceptual error is almost impossible to fix which leaves us with just the knowledge error to work with. The sad fact is that if there is a gap in a person's knowledge no amount of 'THINKing' will help them to fill it. In systems that are intolerant of error, knowledge is the only thing that sits between a system user and disaster and without a full and comprehensive knowledge base every rider can easily fall prey to the errors made by other road users and designers.

The questions we must ask ourselves are why this poor rider's knowledge was so deficient and what can we do today to ensure that other riders do not have similar gaps in their knowledge?
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (12) | Disagree (10)
+2

Well it's up for comment and with the family's consent. Whilst we can feel for the bereaved it looks like a case of two wrongs don't make a right. Perhaps of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Yes the car should not have turned in front of him and yes the motorcyclist was breaking the law and riding too fast. So if the car driver had seen him approach and had estimated his speed of approach correctly it may not have happened. On the other hand had David's speed been somewhat lower possibly the outcome would have been very different.

Fortunately accidents of this nature involving other vehicles out in country roads is a quite small % of fatalities but nevertheless it's important to get the message across and that is not only THINK BIKE but also and just as important BIKER THINK. It's not just getting the THINK message to other road users one has to include the biker as well. Many motorists may think that they are being got at but a twin message becomes more acceptable.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (21) | Disagree (0)
+21