Bike tracks sign up to family's safety campaign after tragic death of Barnard Castle rider
By Lyndsay Oxley - Reporter
A HEALTH and safety campaign has officially been launched in memory of a dale motocross rider who died in a tragic accident on the track.
Practice track operators are being offered free health and safety information packs, if they wish to be affiliated to Thomas’ Law, in a bid to make the sport safer.
A committee was set up following the death of Thomas Brown, from Marwood, who was killed in a crash at a motocross event near Low Hardwick Farm, Sedgefield, on April 30 last year.
Following his death, his family set up Thomas Brown’s Memorial Fund to raise awareness of practice track safety. No evidence of wrongdoing was found with regards to the health and safety of the public on the track on that day, but Mr Brown’s family are keen to encourage track owners to take more responsibility with the presence of medics and equipment.
Thomas’ Law will see 15 A5 laminated health and safety sheets displayed at marshal points, collection areas and entry gates at member practice tracks. Two tracks have already signed up to the scheme.
Thomas’ sister, Eleanor Brown, said: “If simple measures had been in place, things could have been different for Thomas.”
She added: “The safety campaign is well underway now and information packs for tracks are available. The packs aim to provide all the information for practice tracks so staff and riders are safer in the event of any accidents.”
The signs will list essential emergency information such as the track grid reference, first aid emergency contact numbers, address of the nearest hospital, best phone signal area, location of preferred helicopter landing area, transport links to the track and full track address.
Information will be displayed about the flag signal which would stop all practice in the event of an emergency. Riders will also be briefed about health and safety before taking part in any event.
Ms Brown said: “This was always our main priority and we want it to be known as Thomas’ Law.
“We will continue to push this as far as possible to ensure his memory is not forgotten. It was the most horrific time of our lives and still is very hard today.
“He was loved very much by us but also by his motocross family and we as a family still want to have a presence in that community to keep pushing the safety aspect for riders.”
This May, an inquest jury concluded that the 27-year-old had died as a result of an accident. Mr Brown suffered damage to his right lung, nine rib fractures and a fractured collarbone.
Ms Brown said: “We are asking tracks to join us on a voluntary basis and self regulate with us giving guidelines and track packs in case of an emergency. We are hoping it will become law in memory of Thomas as at his inquest it was confirmed even councils have no regulations to follow with regards to rider safety. We are hoping that, in the future, if an accident occurs medical help can be sought sooner.”
The second annual Thomas Brown Memorial Weekend took place in September at Cumbria MX’s Haverigg practice track which was revamped and renamed Route 44 Thomas Brown The People’s Track. The event is run in association with the MCF and Cumbria Motocross Club. Thomas’ last employer, Thor Atkinson, is also a main supporter. Money raised at the event is donated to the family’s chosen charities and will help to fund Thomas’ Law.
For more information or to join Thomas’ Law contact Karen Law on 07725 235818.