Video report by ITV News Meridian's Cary Johnston
An Oxfordshire firefighter is encouraging motorbike riders to prioritise safety after he was involved in a life-changing biking accident.
Nathan Crockford, who is based at Burford Fire Station, 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.
"I'm lucky to be alive," says Nathan. "If I hadn't been wearing a safety helmet and the correct protective clothing, goodness knows how serious my injuries would have been. 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."
Nathan's injuries put him in hospital for ten days. He was unable to return to the fire service for 18 months. He has recovered physically but has to live with a metal rod inserted into his leg bone. The psychological scars also remain.
He continued: "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."
Motorcyclists represent around two per cent of total road users but are involved in nearly a quarter of collisions, nationally.
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.
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."
Other partner organisations supporting the Ride Safe campaign include Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police, and motorcycle riding groups across the region. Further details about Ride Safe events are available on the 365alive website.