He took part in a BikeSafe London workshop with the Metropolitan Police a few months earlier. The BikeSafe team who selected Mark as the main winner did not know about his accident when they chose his statement, which clinched first prize:
‘The most important things I have taken from the workshop are safety position and to look at the information around me and not rush in.’
Mark says it was through putting the sentiments in his statement into action, i.e. riding defensively and taking pre-emptive action at the time of his accident, that he was able to prevent anything more serious from happening.
The incident took place at a junction near his home in St Leonards on New Year’s night, as he was delivering vital blood products to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, which volunteers do entirely at their own expense.
“I strongly believe that if I hadn’t done the workshop and as a result been inspired to take additional training – the consequences don’t bear thinking about. I am really delighted about the win - I’ve never had a new bike or car before.”
Mark is married with three children and works for a local building firm in Hastings. He commutes to work on a bike, having started a few years ago on a moped, moving up to a 125cc, before doing Direct Access 18 months ago.* He took delivery of his new Honda VFR800X “Crossrunner” from J S Gedge Motorcycles Honda Dealer in Hastings at the weekend. Colleagues from SERV Sussex also came along to see the handover.
Speaking for BikeSafe London, which ran Mark’s workshop, Sergeant Mick Cheeseman said he was delighted to hear about the win: “This is exactly the reason the Metropolitan Police are involved in running BikeSafe workshops. Bikers can seriously avoid their exposure to risk by taking further training, which many bikers are inspired to do after attending a BikeSafe workshop. No one is ever too experienced to reappraise their riding through one of our workshops or by taking an advanced riding course.
“I’m so pleased for Mark, he and many like him provide a valuable service as blood runners. This win goes to show that good things happen to nice people.”
Steve Kenward, Acting CEO of the MCI, who sponsored the prize, says advanced training gives motorcyclists much more control over their road environment: “We know that motorcyclists are vulnerable road users, but this is a powerful example of how good road craft learned through workshops and further training can mitigate the damage done during accidents. There are plenty of opportunities for motorcyclists to update their skills regularly – BikeSafe being a great starting place.”
Mark added that BikeSafe had an immediate impact on his riding: “The workshop was one of the best things I have ever done. My ride home was different from the minute I took to the road after completing the workshop.”
Glen Dennis, the national coordinator for BikeSafe was pleased to hear Mark’s praise for BikeSafe: “It is enormously satisfying to know that Mark feels that he has gained so much from his BikeSafe experience. I would like to congratulate him on the good fortune of winning a new motorcycle and hope he has years of safe and enjoyable riding. I would like to urge other riders to recognise the benefits that Mark has spoken of and encourage them to experience BikeSafe for themselves.”
There were nine other winners for the BikeSafe competition, three won protective clothing up to the value of £1000 and five won helmets worth up to £500 each.
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*Direct Access is the route to gaining a full motorcycle licence, which allows the rider to ride a bike of any size.
There are two photos available – on request: Photo 1 shows Mark Bourner on his new bike (Honda VFR800X “Crossrunner”). Photo 2 is a group shot showing Mark Bourner being handed his bike by Phil Laker, salesman for J S Gedge Motorcycles Honda Dealer, Hastings flanked by PC Glen McArthur from BikeSafe and Mike Fitzgerald from the local SERV Blood Runner group.
BikeSafe is run by most local police forces and administrated centrally by the Motorcycle Industry Association from its contact centre in Coventry.
The main aim is to reduce the number of bikers being hurt on the roads. The BikeSafe ethos is that riding should be fun and by improving skills, knowledge and hazard awareness it will hopefully make riding safer and more enjoyable. The BikeSafe workshop explores the main issues facing today’s bikers. It also explores the principles of advanced riding through the on-road element. The BikeSafe Observer will give assessment and feedback which will highlight areas where the rider needs to develop.
BikeSafe is about starting on the right path to development as it "Bridges the Gap". There are several routes to post test training including:
- Enhanced Rider Scheme https://www.gov.uk/enhanced-rider-scheme
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) http://www.rospa.com
- Institute for Advanced Motorists (IAM) http://www.iam.org.uk
- For BikeSafe see www.bikesafe.co.uk
The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI) is a trade association which represents over 90 % of the supply side of the motorcycle industry in the UK, as well as those who provide services such as insurance and finance. The MCI partners other stakeholders in highlighting matters of motorcycle safety, legislation, sport and economy.