Uniformed Hero nominee – BikerDown Staffordshire
A motorbike accident prevention service run by Staffordshire Police officers on a voluntary basis is helping to reduce deaths on the roads.
BikerDown Staffordshire was set up in memory of serving police officer PC Luke Van De Sande who died in August 2019 while out with friends riding his motorcycle.
Earlier that year firefighter Alex Taylor, a serving member of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, had lost his life in a motorcycle collision.
Luke’s colleagues within the police service wanted to find a positive from these tragedies by preventing other families from suffering loss, using their training and experience to give back to communities, reducing fatal and serious injury collisions amongst the motorcycling communities of Staffordshire and reducing the exposure of emergency service staff to such incidents.
They decided to bring the BikerDown motorcycle safety initiative to Staffordshire.
The project is led by Rob Gilligan, a recently retired motorway patrol sergeant and police motorcyclist with the Central Motorway Police Group who is now a senior policy advisor with National Highways.
The team of serving police officers and volunteers give their time freely to promote a safer Staffordshire by using their operational experience to educate a vulnerable road user group and to reduce incidents of death and serious injury on the county’s roads.
Rob said, “BikerDown is such a fantastic initiative that we immediately knew it was the best way for us to do something tangible for bikers in memory of Luke.”
Working with a zero budget the team devised a training package and delivered their first workshop in September 2021.
To date they have delivered lifesaving advice to around 300 motorcyclists, including bespoke events for the British Army at MOD Stafford. They have a waiting list for future events.
By working in partnership with local businesses the team have been able to provide each participant with a free first aid kit suitable for carriage on a motorcycle.
Their efforts have caught the attention of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents who featured them in the national Care on the Road magazine.
The Central Motorway Police Group has also recognised the team, honouring them with a Superintendent’s Award alongside a Chief Superintendent’s Award from Staffordshire Police.
BikerDown Staffordshire has been nominated in the Uniformed Hero category of the Your Heroes Awards.
PC Stuart Harman said: “It is my firm belief that the success of this initiative should be recognised and celebrated.
“These volunteers provide a service focused towards a vulnerable road user community and designed to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured within the county and help to achieve the force’s vision of a safe and confident Staffordshire, upholding the force’s values of being caring and collaborative.”