Sunderland Widow Backs Bike Campaign

15 August 2014, 06:22 | Updated: 15 August 2014, 08:11

The widow of an experienced motorcyclist who died when a careless driver crashed into his bike in County Durham is backing a new safety campaign.

Neil Hamilton, a father of two from South Hylton in Sunderland was out on his BMW 600cc bike in April 2013 when he was struck by a Mitsubishi 4x4 vehicle on the B6301 between Tow Law and Cornsay Colliery.

The 60-year-old was an active member of Cleveland RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) and had completed its national diploma in 'Advanced Riding Instruction'. At the time of his death he was working as a supply teacher in and around the North East.

In April this year the driver of the car, 51-year-old Anthony Shelton was jailed for 16 months after admitting causing death by dangerous driving.

Neil's wife, Christine Hamilton is backing a new safety campaign by Durham County Council, which encourages drivers to be more aware of those on two wheels.

The council has provided for twelve 'Think Bike!' signs (see attachments) to be permanently deployed at various locations across County Durham, many of which are on  routes favoured by motorcyclists.

Two of these will be at different points along the stretch of road where Neil lost his life.

Christine said:
"Neil was passionate about passing on his skills to others to reduce casualties on our roads. But he died instantly, with no time to say thank you for the years we spent together and no time to say goodbye.

I asked for these signs to be erected to remind drivers and riders that we need to look out for each other. Follow the rules of the road and pay special attention to those who are less likely to survive a collision. Every day 30 bikers are killed or seriously injured in collisions at road junctions every day in the UK. And last year another 330 motorcyclists joined my husband in dying on our roads, with a further 4,800 seriously injured.

I hope this initiative will remind people to take extra care and prevent a tragedy like this happening to another family."

67 bikers were killed on the regions roads in 2013.