Mangled motorbike used in hard hitting road safety campaign by Cambs Police
A NEW hard-hitting road safety display features the remains of a mangled motorbike donated by the mother of a 19 year-old killed on Cambridgeshire’s roads.
The display tells the story of Aaron Cook whose motorbike has been donated to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership by his mother Gwen Cook, 54, and sister Jemma Cook, 24.
Road safety experts from the partnership hope that, by giving the tragedy of a road traffic death a face and a name, more people will be encouraged to sign up to their motorcycle safety training scheme BikeSafe.
Nine people lost their lives last year in motorbike accidents on the county’s roads, 68 were seriously injured and more than 142 received slight injuries.
And over the last six years motorcyclists have been involved in 12 per cent of all traffic collisions reported in Cambridgeshire, but they accounted for 25 per cent of the serious, and 22 per cent of the fatal, collisions.
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Jemma, who works for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Aaron would be pleased we were doing this. His eventual goal was to be a traffic police officer, so this is the kind of thing he’d have been working on.”
Aaron died on March 16, 2009, after a collision with a lorry on the B1049 in Histon.
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Jemma and Gwen have raised more than �5,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance since then, and hope the new display for the safety partnership will help prevent families like theirs suffering the heartbreak of losing a beloved brother or son.
Gwen said: “We hope this display will help persuade people to take part in BikeSafe.
“There’s nothing more to say really than people need to be prepared when they ride. I am pleased to say that Aaron was wearing proper clothing on the bike, which meant that when we went to identify him it just looked like he was asleep.
“If you wear just jeans and trainers and things then your skin will be like it’s been through a cheese grater. Jemma couldn’t have identified her brother in that state.”
Tony Barrios, road safety officer, hopes people will want to find out more about BikeSafe courses.
PC Barrios said: “We hope that the display will help motorcyclists to think about their safety on the roads.
“Aaron’s family suffered a tragic loss and they are keen that other families should not have to go through the same ordeal.
“Even when an accident isn’t the motorcyclist’s fault, there might be ways the incident could have been prevented if they changed a few of their riding habits.”
For more information on the BikeSafe courses, visit www.cambs.police.uk/roadsafety/bikesafe
A POLICEMAN walking up to your front door to tell you your teenage child has died in an accident is every parent’s nightmare.
Gwen Cook knows only too well the agony of that knock on the door after her son Aaron died in a motorcycle crash. He was just 19.
Mum Gwen said: “I saw the road block and police car at the junction on my way home. I wanted to stop, but thought it would seem silly, but I just knew something wasn’t right, you know?”
Gwen, 54, from Willingham, is talking about the fateful day two years ago when her beloved son died. The road block was set up because the popular Cambridge Regional College student had been in collision with a skip lorry.
He died at the scene of the incident as a result of a fracture to his skull. His injuries included internal bleeding, broken ribs and a broken arm and leg.
Aaron’s greatest wish was to become a police officer - which his mother found out he had achieved a few days after his death. He was due to join the Cambridgeshire force in May 2009.
Holding back tears as she told of how the police came to tell her Aaron was dead, Gwen said: “I just knew something was wrong. I had known all afternoon - parents just do know with things like that. I’d been trying to call him from work all afternoon.
“He’d left college early and had been off to visit his girlfriend. He was probably in his element. It was the first really sunny day of the year.
“After work Jemma and I went to walk the dogs and on the way back we saw a police car go past us. They were looking for my car. When we got back down to her house after the walk a neighbour told me I needed to go home.”
Gwen broke down as she described how the officers walked up to her front door that fateful day and broke the news that would change their lives forever.
She said: “He had his whole life in front of him. He had really just reached the pinnacle with a triple distinction from college and his start date for the police being set.”
Aaron’s sister is due to give birth to her first child in August, and she and her mother say Aaron would have been a fantastic uncle.
Gwen said: “When people ask parents what they miss about their children when they die, you get the inevitable answer of their smile. But with Aaron it really was his smile.
“He was the kind of guy who would get up and go out at 11pm because somebody had rung and needed to talk. Just seeing Aaron smile would cheer anyone up.”
Jemma said: “We hope that by giving the safety partnership his bike people will think twice about road safety. My partner rides a bike and I am insisting that he goes on a BikeSafe course. Aaron would want him to.”