Motorcycle legend and TV presenter Henry Cole is the face of a new publicity campaign aimed at motorcyclists in Devon and Cornwall.
Henry, who is best known for his eccentric antics on ITV’s ‘The Motorbike Show’ and ‘Find It, Fix It, Flog It’ on Channel 4, fronts the powerful new campaign from the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership.
The video, filmed at his famous shed studio in Oxfordshire, sees Henry read a letter from Cornish motorcyclist Jason addressed to his mother, apologising for his actions in the wake of a real-life motorbike crash in the county.
The collision, which Jason admits was caused by him ‘showing off’, left him badly injured and scarred, unable to enjoy his favourite hobbies of surfing, skating and playing football.
In the course of the letter, we hear Jason’s regret for pushing the limits and for not wearing protective clothing, which may have changed the course of his life.
The campaign comes after a tragic year for motorcyclists on the roads of Devon and Cornwall in 2022, with 16 people killed and 187 seriously injured in collisions involving motorbikes.
Speaking about his role in the campaign, Henry Cole said: “As soon as I heard about this project I was happy to support it. It’s heart-breaking that more motorcyclists are being killed and seriously injured, and anything I can do to help prevent that is a no-brainer.
“Motorbikes give you an unparalleled sense of exhilaration and freedom, and I have spent much of my life promoting this wonderful industry.
“But there’s a fine line between enjoying motorcycling responsibly and pushing the limits of your own experience, which could easily turn a fun day out into a tragedy.”
The campaign is just one of a host of projects being delivered by Vision Zero South West to reduce motorcycle collisions. These include a pioneering operation using drones to monitor motorbikes and cars on high-harm routes across both counties, a series of educational videos in conjunction with motorcycle YouTubers RiderCamTV and the procurement of a state-of-the-art motorcycle training simulator – the first of its kind in the UK – which will be used to provide free advanced and hazard awareness training.
Adrian Leisk is Devon & Cornwall Police’s Head of Road Safety and also chair of the Vision Zero South West enforcement committee.
Mr Leisk said: “Despite motorcyclists making up less than 1% of overall traffic, they account for roughly a third of all serious and fatal collisions in our area. But it’s important to highlight that these aren’t just numbers, these are people’s loved ones – parents, sons, daughters, friends and partners – and each tragic message we deliver leaves a devastating impact with them which will stay with them forever.
“Motorcyclists are an extremely vulnerable road users, not least because they have considerably less protection than drivers of cars or other vehicles in the event of a collision. Preventing any further unnecessary loss of life is our top priority.
“I’d like to thank to Henry Cole for kindly agreeing to be part of this important campaign. He is a well-known and much-loved figure in the motorcycling community and I hope his involvement will help this powerful message spread far and wide and, ultimately, help us save lives.”
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is also the chair of Vision Zero South West.
Commissioner Hernandez said: “This is an extremely poignant campaign featuring the real-life experience of a local motorcyclist – and a reminder that collisions like this can and do happen to everyone.
“There’s nothing more heart-breaking than hearing the one you love has been killed or seriously injured on the roads, especially if you are their mother.
“Jason’s story is a refreshing way to share safety messages to an audience that can often think experience and confidence is enough to keep them alive and well. It isn’t.
“I have seen the carnage and misery that such collisions leave in their wake and it is something we are working hard to prevent in the future. No one should have to go through it.
“Every member of the Vision Zero South West partnership has made a commitment to cutting fatal and serious injuries on Devon and Cornwall’s roads by half by 2030 – and, eventually, to zero. That is our vision.
“I’d also like to thank Henry Cole for his vital role in helping us share this message.”
Share your story
If you’ve been involved in a motorbike collision and would like to share your story with Vision Zero South West, you can do so by completing the form below: