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National Road Victim Month

Personal injury lawyer David Preston discusses his experience of a road crash when he cycled home from work

National Road Victim Month
David is a personal injury solicitor specialising in high value, serious injury claims.
I am a lawyer and I represent people who have been injured, and the families of those who have been killed on the country’s roads. I am only too aware of the catastrophic impact that road crashes have on the lives of victims and their families. 
In the role that I do, I work closely with RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims, who have been working tirelessly to raise awareness of road safety issues for over 25 years.  They run a valuable helpline for victims of crashes and bereaved families, offering support and guidance in difficult times. The helpline number is: 0845 4500 355
August is National Road Victim Month and this year, RoadPeace are campaigning to spread the message: ‘crash not accident’.
Too often the word ‘accident’ is used by the media and by the authorities. RoadPeace want them to stop this as it supposes no one was to blame, when almost always there is blame and people need to take responsibility for their actions.
RoadPeace need everyone to spread the word. They have prepared a campaign pack and briefing which can be downloaded from their website.
In November 2018 I was a victim of a road crash in London as I cycled home from work. A van driver opened his door without looking as I was cycling past. I was knocked straight off my bike and my right shoulder crashed heavily into the road.  I suffered a fractured shoulder. 
Fortunately, there were no other cars travelling behind me and I escaped more serious injury. The experience was truly terrifying. It was the first time I had been knocked off my bike and was totally unexpected. I was really shocked. 
Afterwards, I was unable to move my shoulder for several weeks. It was very painful and impacted on my work and social life. I couldn’t ride my bike and had time to reflect on the impact that a driver’s split second decision can have on others.  
In January 2019, I was invited to an event at City Hall as part of Transport for London (TFL) Vision Zero Action Plan.  Their goal is to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from London’s transport network by 2041. TFL plan to achieve this by focusing on safe speeds, safe streets, safe vehicles, safe behaviours and developing a post-collision response. 
The event was attended by many senior officials from the Police, TFL, and even the London Mayor Sadiq Khan. 
Alongside other victims of crashes, I shared my experience and discussed the impact of death and injury on London’s roads. We discussed what could be done to improve road safety and the experience of victims. Finally, it feels as though someone is listening and TFL are taking road safety seriously. 
Whilst Vision Zero is clearly an ambitious goal, TFL have committed to achieving it. 
The Last week of July 2019 was Vision Zero week; marking a year since the launch of the Vision Zero Action Plan. 
Road crash victims were sharing their stories on social media with the hashtag #KnowMyName. Several victims of road crashes shared their experiences in a series of short videos which can be viewed on the RoadPeace website. 
I hope that by raising awareness of the impact of road crashes, we can all play a small part in preventing them in the future. 
For more information about remembrance events happening during National Road Victim Month, visit RoadPeace’s website.

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