Lowestoft woman urges bikers to take care

Amy GrayA woman whose partner made a "tragic error of judgement" when he died in a motorbike crash on the A12, near Lowestoft, has appealed to other motorcyclists and drivers to take care on the region's roads.Amy Gray

A woman whose partner made a 'tragic error of judgement' when he died in a motorbike crash on the A12, near Lowestoft, has appealed to other motorcyclists and drivers to take care on the region's roads.

In July last year, Jackie Capps's partner Michael Townsend died when he crashed with a car that was turning into Benacre Road, near Kessingland, as he tried to overtake a line of waiting cars.

Ms Capps, who wants Think Bike signs put up at the staggered junction where he died, also wants bikers to 'Think Life'.

'It isn't just about thinking bike - they also have to think life,' said Ms Capps, of Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft. 'They have to respect the machine they sit on. They are exceptionally vulnerable, they really are. Michael made a tragic error of judgement.'

Mr Townsend, who was due to marry Ms Capps in November last year, was a railway signalman. He died on his Triumph Daytona, which had once belonged to Ms Capps's son, Aaron.

'The sad thing about this is it was Aaron's motorbike for five years previous to it becoming Michael's. For five years I had lived with the fear of the knock on the front door,' said Ms Capps, 48.

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'The irony of this whole story for me is that when Michael bought the bike off Aaron, I thought: 'You've done me the biggest favour going', because my son was safe in my eyes.'

At the inquest, a verdict of accidental death was recorded by the coroner. Mr Townsend left a daughter, Becky, 15.

Recently, central hatching and arrows were added to discourage overtaking at the spot, and white bollards were put up to make the junction more visible as part of an A12 Route Treatment scheme.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said Think Bike signs were put in any one place for six months at a time to maximise their impact and were currently in the west of the county.

Ms Capps would also like to see an island built at the junction to stop overtaking and the speed limit reduced to 50mph.

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said they run Bike Safe workshops for riders to improve their skills and stay safe.

She added: 'Following any fatal collision a full investigation is carried out and police will make recommendations if it is thought that any improvements can be made to roads or junctions.

'While, on this occasion, no recommendations of this nature were made, we do welcome anything that raises awareness of road safety messages as both drivers and motorcyclists need to be aware of other road users and the hazards they pose.'

To sign up for Bike Safe, call 01473 613730 or email bikesafe@suffolk.pnn.police.uk

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