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The life-changing damage driving can cause: Oldham crash victim calls for motorists’ road caution

By Pippa Field

An Oldham woman who suffered life-threatening injuries after being hit by a car is backing the GO20 speed reduction campaign launched as part of Road Safety Week.

Bernadette Tivey, of Thorley Close, Oldham, was hospitalised for seven weeks after being hit by a car four years ago when crossing Broadway, a main road in her home town.

Still undergoing treatment, the 22-year-old is supporting the campaign – which encourages driving at 20mph in communities across the North West – in order to protect others from going through the same ordeal.

She said: “Being knocked down was a horrendous and frightening experience, and worse still was the years of hospital visits, operations and rehabilitation that followed, which has had a massive impact on my life.

“I’m asking everyone who drives to realise the damage you could do by driving too fast, and the impact this could have on innocent people’s lives.”

Suffering multiple fractures – including breaking her leg, ankle, arm, pelvis, spine, collar bone, hips and all of her ribs – as well as internal bleeding from her liver and kidneys, Bernadette is unable to walk unaided.

She continues to undergo operations – each requiring her to learn to walk again – with the latest one taking place today.

She added: “This Road Safety Week, please make a commitment to GO20 around homes, shops and schools, to prevent others going through the horrible experience I have.”

The campaign, run by independent road safety charity Brake, calls for widespread 20mph limits in built up areas to promote safe walking and cycling.

As well as encouraging drivers to slow down, the charity hopes to appeal to authorities and government to introduce reduced speed limits.

Many schools and community groups in the area have already signed up in support of the campaign.

It follows a ‘hands-up’ survey of 445 children in schools across the North West where eight out of ten children said drivers needed to slow down around their home and school.

Revealing their fears, 42% admitted they had been hit or nearly hit while out walking or cycling with a further 54% saying they were worried about being hurt by traffic.

Bernadette – who hopes to complete a sky-dive next year to raise money for Brake – stressed the importance of safer roads for children.

“I’m double the size of a child and I was hit at 40mph,” she explained.

“If it had been a child, it would have been fatal. If we could get it down to 20mph and saves lives it would be brilliant.

“It’s not just the child, it’s the family as well. Watching my mum and dad go through it with me was heartbreaking.”

Rich Andrew, a campaign spokesman for Brake, said: “We are hugely grateful for Bernadette’s support.

“We, as a national branch, only hold so much weight, so it is those who have been through it that really help with the campaign.”

In England and Wales default limits are governed by the Department for Transport, but it remains up to local authorities to decide on what to implicate.

Wigan and central Manchester have already introduced widespread 20mph limits.

“Everyone in the North West should be able to walk and cycle in their community without fear or threat: it’s a basic right, and GO20 is about defending that,” added Mr Andrew.

“Some areas are already doing it and we are starting to see the benefits.”

Now in its 16th year, national Road Safety Week is coordinated by Brake, with support from headline sponsors Brain Injury Group and Specsavers plus various regional sponsors.

Running from November 19-25, it aims to raise awareness of death and injury on the roads, and the steps that can be taken to improve road safety.

To find out more about the GO 20 campaign or Road Safety Week and how to get involved, visit www.go20.org or www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk

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