Man who ‘will never get over’ brother’s death issues warning message to drivers

A man who “will never get over” his brother’s death has issued a warning message to drivers nearly five years on.

Dave Jones’ brother Simon was hit by a driver in November 2019 who ran over him at the roundabout on Market Street at the junction of Station Road in Hoylake. He died four days later from his injuries.

Since then, Dave has been a volunteer for Aftermath Support, a Wirral-based charity that provides support for those who are affected by people being killed and seriously injured on the road. It was set up as a pilot project with Merseyside Police in 2005 and has helped thousands of people, including Dave.

The number of people killed and seriously injured on Merseyside’s roads is currently at a six-year high with 533 people killed and seriously injured. Between 2013 and 2022, there were 31,465 recorded casualties with over 5,100 killed or seriously injured out of which 231 people were killed.

To try and address the issue, Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell and Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram have put forward Vision Zero, a policy with an aim to get figures down to zero.

Remembering his brother, he said, “We would go everywhere on our bikes as kids. As adults, we didn’t do as much cycling as we used to. He loved his bikes. He had not long got that one he was on.”

He added, “You just learn to live with it. If I can help one person now going through what I went through, my time is done. There’s hope.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel as I was in a really dark place. Not a lot of people can admit that and sometimes we need to admit that or we might not find the help we are looking for.

“I will never get over it. You think you will, you won’t. You have just got to live each day by day and find the support you need to get through your difficulties. It’s having the right people around you.”

While also supporting those affected by crashes, the charity is looking to raise more awareness about being more careful on the road. It said measures like 20mph speed limits, though controversial, will help address issues caused by badly designed roads.

Dave said, “I am not about shouting or screaming or blaming people but think about what you are doing,” adding, “It’s about each individual. Just be aware of what you do behind the wheel or when you get on your bike.

“Just being a bit more aware of what you are doing. Your actions and the consequences don’t just affect the person but it affects families too.”

He said being in a car can give people the idea they own the road, adding, “No you don’t. You have to get from A to B like anyone else. We have got to start back at the beginning and change the perception of what the road means to everyone. It’s easy to get behind the wheel and not be concerned for other road users.”

He added, “It’s having that thought that every time you put the key into the ignition, you are driving a weapon.

“Some might think that is quite harsh but when you are impacted by it, it feels like it. You might feel invincible but other people might not be invincible. Instead of cutting a corner, think about who might be around that corner.

“Even near misses, they are all preventable. There’s a reason why that near miss happens. It’s an error somewhere along the line. They aren’t accidents, they are preventable collisions.

“If you have a near miss, don’t just brush it off as lucky. The next time you might not be so lucky. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, a catastrophic event might happen.”

A number of things could help improve the number of collisions and the number of people killed and seriously injured. Measures like 20mph speed limits for example, they argued can help mitigate dangers caused by badly designed roads.”

Dave Jones and Karen Blair from Aftermath Support, which helps road crash victims and their families. Credit: Ed Barnes

Karen Blair, the charity’s chief executive, remains hopeful the number of road deaths will come down. She said, “If people could hear the things we hear and see every day, a lot would change their driving. You would change the way you use the road. We did. Within a couple of months, my own driving changed considerably and I became more aware that it can happen to anyone at any time anywhere and you do not want to be part of that.”

She added, “People see them (speed limits) as targets but they are the maximum limits for roads. Society just accepts the risk of having a crash for some reasons as part of driving and using our roads. If we can all take a bit of responsibility for our road safety, we would have a much safer network.

“I think anything that we can do to help lives and help save families from a devastating loss of a loved one or a family member whose life has been changed permanently. Even that we can do. People being killed or seriously injured on our roads is preventable and anything that can prevent that from happening is a good thing.”

“This last year, we have had less serious collisions but more fatalities within those. That has got to be the driving force to bring those killed and seriously injured numbers down. You hear from individuals or families who have been affected by someone being killed or seriously injured on the road. They all have a unique but uniquely devastating story.

“We talk about deaths and statistics and figures but it’s important to remember that behind every one of those is a family, a work force, a friendship group.”

Aftermath Support is the North West Charity for those affected by serious road incidents. For further information, help or support call 0151 777 2562 or e-mail: support@aftermathsupport.org.uk.

Lead image: Dave Jones began volunteering with Aftermath after it helped him following his brother’s death. Credit: Ed Barnes

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