Brave mother encourages young riders to be safe

09.40 | 30 November 2023 | | 3 comments

Cheshire Police has launched an emotive new campaign with the aim of reducing the number of young people killed or seriously injured, particularly in motorcycle collisions.

On 21 July 2021, Harry Abbey was riding to work when he was involved in a serious collision. He died at the scene and was just 19-years-old.

Now – just over two years on – Harry’s mother Bev and three siblings have bravely opened up on the impact losing Harry has had on them, with the hope that it stops any other family from having to go through the same pain and heartbreak they have.

The video has been released on Cheshire Police’s social channels and will be used in schools and colleges across the county. The full version is available on the Cheshire Police website.

Bev Abbey said: “Losing Harry has been one of the most traumatic experiences of mine and my family’s life. That pain, it doesn’t go away, it will be there all the time – you just make more room for it and learn to live alongside it.

“I want young people to know that they have a responsibility for not only their own lives, but a responsibility to come home – back to the people that love them.”

Bev has also donated Harry’s bike to the roads education team at Cheshire Police.

PC Darren Daniels, road safety education officer for Cheshire Constabulary, said: “I attend schools and colleges across the county all the time educating and encouraging young people on how to stay safe while driving their cars or riding their bikes – yet serious and fatal collisions still happen.

“We want young people to understand that they are not invincible, and their life matters. 

“It matters to those who are left behind dealing with the consequences and I hope that by Bev bravely sharing Harry’s story – and using his bike as an educational tool – we can make a real difference and help to reduce the number of young people who are needlessly killed on the county’s roads.”



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    I would like to echo Dr. Box’s comments. This was a terrible, avoidable tragedy repeated all too often up and down the country. I applaud Cheshire Constabulary for putting resources into trying to prevent future tragedies. However I also implore anyone trying to treat these problems to use evidence-based practice in any intervention they run.

    This video told me that there is huge emotional suffering when a person is killed in a crash on the road. It didn’t tell me what a rider or other road user might do differently to prevent another tragedy.

    William Cubbin, Chelmsford
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    In Northern Ireland the then DOE (Department of the Environment) conducted a campaign based on the grief of relatives or reference to suffering families. As Right To Ride, we carried out a survey of motorcyclists to find out their views of these videos.

    From the document “Survey DOE Videos”:

    “Typically the videos and publicity put out by the DOE demonstrate scenes of carnage and coffins and appear to aim to create a sense of guilt and blame for those who either have caused injuries or death.

    The most relevant question asked in relation to the DOE’s road safety campaign targeting motorcyclists was whether the videos shown would influence riders to change their style of riding. N.56 motorcyclists or 17.3% answered that they would, while 62% or 200 of the respondents indicated that they would not change their style of riding – i.e. the videos made no difference.”

    On the other hand, the THINK adverts are far more instructive and educational such as the “Perfect Day” video – teaching and training works – guilt doesn’t. See here the link

    Elaine Hardy, Belfast
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    Sincere condolences to Harry’s family and friends, and my thoughts go out to all of those who were directly effected by these tragic events.

    However, I wanted to highlight to Cheshire Police that we have significant evidence that this style of testimonial provision does not lead to improvements in road safety behaviours and also has the potential to do harm. I would encourage them to read the following report which I have recently published at the RAC Foundation, based on an extensive programme of research supported by the DfT, NFCC, Road Safety GB, Kent FRS and the RAC Foundation. We need to start designing and delivering interventions that will support the safety of young people – we need to change our approach.

    Dr Elizabeth Box, London
    Agree (7) | Disagree (0)

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