Safety call on Parliament after double bike-death tragedy

COMMONS CALL -- Coun Ian Morrison is calling on Parliament to take action on road safety after the deaths of two Hucknall youngsters -- DISPIC NHUD12-1978-1
COMMONS CALL -- Coun Ian Morrison is calling on Parliament to take action on road safety after the deaths of two Hucknall youngsters -- DISPIC NHUD12-1978-1
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A DETERMINED campaign by a Hucknall councillor to improve road and cycle safety in a bid to save lives in the town has been taken to the highest level — Parliament.

Coun Ian Morrison, a Hucknall Labour member of Ashfield District Council, is calling on the government to introduce new cycle and road laws.

It comes after two pupils of Hucknall National Church of England Academy were killed in separate accidents within weeks of each other.

Fifteen-year-old Harrison Carlin, of Buckingham Avenue, Hucknall was riding a bike on Forest Lane, Papplewick on Sunday July 1 when he was in collision with a car. Then 12-year-old Jeffrey Townley died in the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, on Sunday September 9 — three days after he was in collision with a van while cycling along Linby Road, Hucknall.

Coun Morrison launched a road-safety campaign after an accident involving a six-year-old girl who suffered a broken leg while walking across Washdyke Lane, Hucknall.

But the two tragic deaths have prompted him to place a special focus on promoting safety for young cyclists.

“The successes of Team GB in cycling events at the Olympics and Paralympics mean that more youngsters can now be seen out on bikes,” said Coun Morrison.

“But I feel nothing can be more important to do whatever possible to protect them from becoming victims of accidents.”

On Coun Morrison’s behalf, Bulwell Labour MP Graham Allen has contacted the Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Transport, Norman Baker.

Mr Baker has been asked to look into the possibility of laws on new bike sales, including the wearing of helmets and reflective clothing and for all cycles to be fitted with lights.

A call has also been made for legislation to make it compulsory for all cycles to be fitted with lights, which is the case in Australia.

Investigations are continuing into the accidents that claimed the lives of Harrison and Jeffrey. Full details are yet to be revealed.

Coun Morrison said he would like the bike-safety group, Ridewise, which is based in Nottingham, to be expanded across the whole county, and for cycling proficiency to be promoted in all schools.

The National Academy principal, Dr John Edwardes, said road-safety awareness was taught there as part of personal development.

“But we are now broadening this out and I have arranged a meeting on Monday with the police, road-safety representatives from Notts County Council,” said Dr Edwards. “Pupils will also be coming along to put ideas forward.

“Road safety is something the whole community needs to get involved with.”

Harrison’s mother, Michelle, has welcomed the initiatives by Coun Morrison and the National Academy.

She said the academy had shown itself to be a ‘great school’ in its exceptionally supportive response after the deaths of her son and Jeffrey. “This has been a very sad time for both families,” said Michelle.

She added: “I would like to make special mention of two friends of Harrison at National who have raised a lot of money towards the cost of safety improvements on Forest Lane.”

To help boost the fund, the teenagers are selling badges showing Harrison’s photo and a number 10, which was his position as a footballer with the Hucknall Sports club.

Meanwhile, Ashfield Council is backing Coun Morrison’s efforts and working with partner organisations in a bid to set up a district-wide road-safety group.

“This move has been brought into sharp focus by the two tragic deaths in Hucknall and our most sincere sympathies go out to the bereaved families,” said a spokesman. “Being safe on the road is everybody’s responsibility and that is the message we are trying to get across.”

Ben Marshall, a teacher at Hillside Primary School, Hucknall — which Harrison formerly attended — has written an open letter to children and parents, stressing the importance of youngsters taking responsibility for their own safety.