VIDEO: Hard-hitting A47 fatal crash footage released in road safety campaign

David Holmes. David Holmes.

Thursday, September 4, 2014
3:21 PM

WARNING: Viewers of the video are warned that it contains content which some may find distressing.

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The scene of the crash on the A47 at Honingham. Picture: Norfolk PoliceThe scene of the crash on the A47 at Honingham. Picture: Norfolk Police

Hard-hitting footage of a fatal collision in Norfolk has been released by police in a bid to get motorcyclists and drivers to think seriously about road safety.

The dramatic film, captured on a headcam fitted to the rider’s helmet, shows the moment a car crosses into the path of Norwich motorcyclist David Holmes who was killed on the A47 at Honingham in June last year.

David’s story, a video featuring clips including the collision as well as an interview with his mother Brenda, has been produced by police with the full support of all his family, who hope the campaign will prevent further deaths.

The 38-year-old had been travelling at about 97mph at the time of the collision.

A motorcycle hearse carrying David Holmes, who died in a motorcycle crash on the A47, arrives at his funeral at St Faiths Crematorium with a cavalcade of bikers.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYA motorcycle hearse carrying David Holmes, who died in a motorcycle crash on the A47, arrives at his funeral at St Faiths Crematorium with a cavalcade of bikers. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

While he was travelling above the speed limit the driver admitted to police in interview that he had not seen David, nor a car behind the motorcycle, prior to the collision.

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit, said the video was hard-hitting and understood public opinion would be divided.

He said: “The video is shocking; however this is the reality of fatal collisions. The emotions people may experience after seeing this video can only touch the surface of those feelings that families and friends go through when losing a loved one in this way.

“The consequences of fatal collisions are devastating for all involved and as such our message though education has to reflect this.

“I firmly believe this footage is powerful enough to make riders and drivers think about their behaviour on the road; and most important of all, change it for the better.

“I understand releasing such footage will divide opinion; David’s family are in full support of the material being released and we’ve worked closely with his mother Brenda to ensure this is achieved in an effective and sensitive way.

“The causes of collisions are almost always the result of driver or rider behaviour. Motorists, be it on two wheels or four, need to take responsibility for their actions.

“I would urge riders and drivers to think about their behaviour and what changes they could make to improve their own safety and that of others on the road.

“I’m confident this campaign will make people take time to think about their actions on the roads and allow David’s family to take something positive out of this tragic event.

“The aim of releasing this footage is not to achieve agreement from the public; it’s about delivering messages around road safety and how deaths can be prevented.

“I welcome the fact it will create debate and, in my view, this will get people talking about road safety; their actions behind the wheel or on a bike and it will go some way to achieving our aims.”

David had been travelling from King’s Lynn towards Norwich when the collision happened at the crossroads with Woods Lane and Berrys Lane.

The driver of the Renault, who admitted not seeing David or the car travelling behind, was prosecuted in April.

While David was travelling above the speed limit, a number of other drivers had seen both the motorbike and the other car.

Ch Insp Spinks added: “We know from the footage that David was travelling up to 100mph. Regardless of the speed of the bike, the car manoeuvre should not have been attempted.

“Clearly, he was taking a risk and has paid the ultimate price. The majority of bikers ride responsibly however, I’m sure many will relate to the riding style seen in this video.

“We know motorcyclists are a vulnerable group and this sad case is a reminder to all roads users to be alert to what is going on around you and to lower your speed.”

David’s mother Brenda, a retired nurse who lives in North Walsham, said she hoped that by telling her story, she could help prevent another family going through the heartache they had and continue to experience.

She said: “I want to be involved in this campaign because I feel something positive can come out of his loss. If we can prevent one accident; one family going through what we have been through then David would not have died in vain.

“I know he rode fast that day, he loved speed but he also loved life. This hasn’t been an easy thing to do but I just hope that somebody benefits from the warning; that people slow down and take time to look for bikes.

“I’m not a perfect driver, I’ve done silly things sometimes and I’ve been lucky to get away with them, David wasn’t lucky, the driver wasn’t lucky.”

Brenda has seen the footage and said one of the saddest things for her is that he could see what was going to happen.

She said: “He must have had a moment of fear at the end of his life; I find that very hard to deal with. David was the most wonderful son and his loss has left such a void in our lives.

“Being without him has changed everything; our lives ended that day and I can truly say I know the meaning of heartache, it really does hurt; it’s a physical pain.”

27 comments

  • this was a tragic accident...yes David was travelling well in excess of the speed limit, yes the driver didn't see him.. you could argue all day about who is right or wrong.As a biker watching this just hits home to how vulnerable we are on wheels..What is clear is that all road users need to drive responsibly and all have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road. Davids mother has shown great courage and responsibility sharing her loss to everyone.It must have been really hard for her ...to try and educate road users ...hopefully this tragic event will be viewed and educate people...HOPEFULLY!!!!!!!! RIP DAVID

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    msemple281

    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

  • The most effective way to stay alive on the roads is to be pessimistic about what other people will do. This video is a good example of what happens when two 'driving optimists' arrive at the same place at the same time. The motorcyclist thinks the driver of the car will see him and won't turn; the driver thinks he doesn't have to look that carefully, in order to make a safe manoeuvre. I have sympathy with both of them because neither intended this to happen. We need to improve education for all drivers.

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    Pete Minty

    Monday, September 8, 2014

  • Why don't you just blame it on Barack Obama, you fascist eejit?

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    leon_foonman

    Monday, September 8, 2014

  • As a car driver, and a regular passenger on my boyfriends bike, albeit a powerful bike similar to David's, I have unbiased opinion on this very sad incident. I've watched this video a few times, I find it very hard to watch, as I feel very strongly for David's family, with my deepest sympathy to them. Yes David was travelling too fast, but this doesn't excuse the driver of the car, heshe admitted to not seeing David or the car behind him, and this is clearly a fatal misjudgement of driving without due care and attention. We all should take extra precaution at junctions, whilst on the bike, my driver will always take extra caution and adjust the bike's speed, as do I when driving my car. Let's all try to remember this sad video, and allow us to be more considerate and assertive, whether it's slowing our speed, and paying more attention to our surroundings and other vehicles. RIP David

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    Naomi Fitzgerald

    Sunday, September 7, 2014

  • I feel sorry for David's family obviously and don't mean to disrespect them in anyway, but I also feel sorry for the driver of the car. Yes he may not have seen him etc but if it was slightly different circumstances and it was a car doing 97mph on a 60mph road and a child had ran in front of the car regardless of the circumstances, the driver doing 97mph would be at fault and everyone would view this situation a whole lot different. Like a lot of people have pointed out already it's a very busy stretch of road, doing that speed on it is absolutely ridiculous considering he will be covering around 43-44 metres per second. Far too many motorcyclists take too many silly risks not only putting themselves in danger but also others.

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    Lewis Taylor

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion and some of them will be more ignorant than others which is to be expected so this is mine....The only things that need to be considered here are the simple facts which are, regardless of blame, motor cyclists are almost always likely to face higher risks of serious injuries or death from any collision than a motorist...they simply do not have the protection of the metal around them and on that basis ALONE...ALL motorists should ALWAYS THINK BIKE... regardless of the motor cyclists speed. I lost my big brother in a motor bike accident when he was just 20 and I was 17, no other driver involved at the time of the crash but there was another driver involved and responsible because his vehicle had broken down on the inside lane of a dual carriage way on the brow of a hill one night and the driver had simply abandoned the vehicle without leaving any lights on or alerting the police etc and therefore causing my brothers instant death on impact as he went staright into the back of it. It was a lanscape gardening lorry loaded with concrete paving slabs. From the tyre marks and other debris at the scene of the accident it was stated that my brother was only travelling at approx 50mph in a 60 mph speed limit! So.....all those of you who wish to leave spiteful or criticising comments about this poor guy please consider the grieving mother, father, family and friends he has unintentionally left behind...they are not looking for your sympathy but are merely trying to make motorists aware of motor cyclists vulnerabilities so please think again before getting on your soap boxes and being so righteous!!! RIP David Holmes. God bless you and your family.

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    Karen Zimmer

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • ... Bikers fault 100%

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    Steve Newton

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • at the end of the day , this video will only interest riders or family's of rider, people that don't ride will not take 1 second notice of this video as per video, this really should be put on TV after the water shed, with a warning to reach non bikers

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    Jason Norton

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • The emphasis here and the point to learn from must be on the way the bike was being ridden, approaching a junction with four possible entry and exit points when a car can clearly be seen in the turning box from some way back is and was suicidal, any good rider would have slowed considerably for a possible hazard, the rider here is seen acknowledging a car he has just passed for moving over by waving his left hand and then continues to accelerate towards a potential hazard. Police riders will always tell you that the basic of basic instructions is to expect the unexpected and always leave yourself in a position to deal with any eventuality.

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    Wisbech

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Phil x - the driver started their manoeuvre when the motorcycle was only about 2 seconds away. At 100mph, that's about just under 100 yards, not a mile. I don't know about you, but I am perfectly capable of seeing a motorcycle travelling towards me, in perfect visual conditions and on a straight road, at that distance - regardless of its speed.

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    Jon Green

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • As a motorist i am always double checking for motorbikes, ok david was doing way over the speed limit like alot of us do at some point, i find it really hard to accept that the motorist didn't see him, it was a long straight stretch not on a bend which would be more acceptable.....so tragic, Rip David.xx

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    Lorraine Jeffery

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Very Sad Just because something 'should not happen' does not mean to say that it will not happen. If either of the parties to this accident had followed this philosophy then the accident would likely not have happened. Clearly neither driver allowed for the other being human and therefore capable of being in error - BANG. Everyone who reads this should ask themselves e.g. whether when the lights go green they just move off or check to see if it is safe to do so first or assume that everyone else is doing it right. The Question is whether 'attitude' is now part of the Driving Test? Only yesterday, at 30 mph someone went to pull across me in just the same way. Only difference was I was driving a 2.2 Tonne Red 4x4 - Brakes, Horn, other car Braked and stopped ~14 across my side - impact avoided - other driver white faced. We were lucky because I had already made the mistake of forgetting that although this is a 30mph zone the visibility is such that unless reaction times are very fast, accidents happen here - so I must not assume that Highways have got it right.

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    Adrian

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Let's say a motorcycle was doing 300mph , are you still going to blame the car driver for not seeing the motorcycle? Of course not! It would be impossible to see the motorcycle coming down that road. You would need to be able to see the bike more than mile away to know if it's safe to cross. So why blame the car at 97mph as nobody should be going that fast.

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    Phil x

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • I'm both a car driver and sometime motorcyclist. Yes, David was travelling too fast. Yes, he should perhaps have read that junction better, and moderated his speed. But it was the car driver who pulled out against the priorities, in the face of oncoming traffic, who caused the accident. And there was no excuse. The key phrase is here: "The driver of the Renault [...] admitted not seeing David *or the car travelling behind*" (my emphasis). In other words, the driver simply didn't look, beyond maybe checking that the piece of road immediately in front of them at the junction was clear. I can't imagine driving like that. I don't understand anyone who can. In the end, the car driver's inattention caused the accident, and David's speed guaranteed his own death as a result. Forgive a little speculation: I believe that, even if he'd slowed down, approaching the junction, he'd probably have collided anyway, but a little later, hitting the car's rear instead. Every biker recognises and fears that kind of accident - you can't avoid it, only mitigate. Ride In Peace, David.

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    Jon Green

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • I'm a driver and I do not have any problem identifying that fact that the Clio driver was clearly at fault. He pulled out without looking. I've experienced this type of driver myself first hand and only narrowly avoided a collision. Also, of note no indicators = lazy slopy driver. The car is visible for some time on the video and as such, the motorbike MUST have been visible if he had taken the time to look before slowly crawling through the lane.

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    John Davies

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • James Poel: " The speed limit on that stretch of road is 60mph (so he's not travelling over 50% faster than the speed limit)" 50% of 60mph is 30mph, add that to the 60mph we get 90mph, so anything over 90mph (lets say....97mph?) is faster than 50% the speed limit, if the bike is going at 60mph, or probably 70mph the car makes that turning, yes the bike may have had to brake slightly but no damage done

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    Fgus

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Mistakes on both sides obviously... Tough for the car driver to see him at that speed but he wasn't paying enough attention. It happens us all, just that some are luckier that others. Saddest part about it is that if it was law that lights must be used at all times, day and night, the Clio driver probably would've seen him coming. Seriously, next time you go onto the roads turn your lights on no matter what the time of day. Show some respect, it could happen anyone.

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    Murphy

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Please watch full video "David's Story" on you tube (in slow-mo if you can), car did not even attempt to give way before turning into David's right of way, .@markbowes driver admitted not seeing motorcycle or car following it "looked but failed to see" or just plain didn't look the blame for the accident is entirely with car driver. This accident would most likely still have happed if the motorcycle was doing 60 and probably still have been fatal. I agree it is inappropriate speed but that is not the causal factor. My thoughts are also with his family who are so very brave and are not condemning car driver but asking al raod users to think but particularly car drivers to THINK BIKE.

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    Rod Smith

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Frank, your comment is ridiculous

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    James Poel

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Wisbech - The speed limit on that stretch of road is 60mph (so he's not travelling over 50% faster than the speed limit as you mentioned) - but you are absolutely correct. He was riding way too fast and irresponsibility. Unfortunately I see no fault in the car driver who turned at the junction.

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    James Poel

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Well going nearly 100mph on a busy road is stupid!

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    Lee Howling

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • As a keen motorcyclist I sympathise with the family and also the car driver, however the lesson here is from the way in which the motorcycle is being ridden, approaching a turn box junction at 97mph is not only dangerous, it is downright irresponsible. A loss of life is a tragedy but the car driver has to live with this, to perceive the speed of an oncoming motorcycle travelling over 50% faster than the speed limit is an impossible task. As with all things in life there is a time and a place.

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    Wisbech

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Burt's - the car wasn't stationary was it?

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    Frank Spear

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Mark Bowes, has it ever occurred to you that the riders family may read your insensitive comment? Or that you are labeling a dead person as stupid? What is wrong with you? The article and his family clearly acknowlged the riders speed and I commend them for be brave enough to release the video in the knowledge that nasty little trolls like you will have their fun with their big sweeping Daily Mail esq statements. I feel sorry for your children.

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    Frank Spear

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Drivers always carry the burden of blame where there's a fatality, the family's comments and the report are a typical example of this. #think bike is pretty pointless campaign when for the most part the real message should be expect that motorcyclist to do something stupid. Motorbikes, #thinkcar

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    markbowes

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • My sympathy goes out to David's family. My thoughts are also with the driver who, if they had hit a near stationary motorcyclist at 100mph would be described as being wreckless and dangerous.

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    Burts

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

  • I hope others will learn from this and I have shared this video with both motorcyclists and motorists on Facebook.. R.I.P

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    Jayy Kemp

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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