A FIREFIGHTER is encouraging other motorbike riders to prioritise safety after he was involved in a life-changing accident.

Nathan Crockford, is based at Burford Fire Station and he suffered severe leg damage after crashing into a car that pulled out in front of his motorbike. The force of the collision threw him over the vehicle and onto the road.

Now, in light of this traumatic incident Mr Crockford is launching a hard-hitting road safety campaign in Oxfordshire called Ride Safe.

Firefighter Mr Crockford explained he is lucky to be alive.

He said: “If I hadn’t been wearing a safety helmet and the correct protective clothing, goodness knows how serious my injuries would have been.

Oxford Mail:

“That is why I’m supporting this hard-hitting safety-first campaign, which is taking place in Oxfordshire and across the Thames Valley during March.”

The injuries he sustained from the crash put him in hospital for ten days and he was unable to return to the fire service for 18 months.

Although he has now physically recovered, he has to live with a metal rod inserted into his leg bone and the psychological scars still remain.

Mr Crockford said: “The accident wasn’t my fault – the car pulled straight out at the junction.

“It was impossible for me to stop or swerve out of harm’s way. But, I regularly ponder if I should have been more alert to what might be around the next corner or hidden at the next crossing.

“That is what this Ride Safe campaign is all about, encouraging every motorbike rider to be vigilant constantly, and to refresh and improve their road safety skills and knowledge on a regular basis.”

Nationally motorcyclists only represent about two per cent of total road users, however; they are involved in nearly a quarter of collisions.

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Ride Safe involves Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service organising safety awareness events with local riders to highlight the importance of bike maintenance, wearing proper riding kit, and the benefits of further rider training.

Motorcyclists are being encouraged to improve their riding skills and hazard awareness.

Andy Ford, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s community safety manager, said: “Motorcyclists are over-represented in collision and casualty statistics, both locally and nationally; and that is something we’re determined to change.

“With increasing numbers of people taking to two wheels, our aim is to encourage riders to do all they can to ride safe; and stay safe.”

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users, but they can play a big part in keeping themselves safe.

“I encourage every motorcyclist to ride responsibly, wear all the necessary safety clothing, travel at safe speeds, appropriate to the conditions they face; and attend one of our Ride Safe sessions.”

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