Family of trike rider killed after car driver hit him in Desborough appeal to elderly drivers to get their eyes tested

The person who hit him had her driving licence revoked

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 10:54 am
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 10:56 am
Mick Harvey
Mick Harvey

The family of an 85-year-old man who died after the electric trike he was driving was hit by a car have made a heartfelt plea to elderly drivers, or to anyone who has noticed a deterioration in their vision, to ensure they regularly get their eyes tested and remain fit for the roads.

Former electrician Michael, known as “Mick” to everyone who knew him, was killed on May 21, 2020, when his electric-assisted tricycle was struck from behind by a car driven by Doreen Bennett who was in her 90s.

Despite efforts from members of the public giving CPR and then the ambulance and air ambulance crews that arrived Mick died at the scene. He had been a keen cyclist, and had ridden a broad range of bikes including his electric-powered trike that enabled him to continue his hobby in his advancing years.

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The accident occurred on the straight stretch of Stoke Albany Road on the outskirts of Desborough, and at the time, Mick was wearing a yellow high visibility jacket, a helmet, and was riding sensibly.

Following what happened, the woman had her driving licence revoked as a result of issues with her eyesight. She did not reapply and stated she was not going to drive again.

Mick’s family were said to have been very supportive of Northamptonshire Police and the CPS throughout the investigation and fully understood and supported the rationale for not proceeding with a criminal case.

However, they have now made a plea to elderly drivers, or to anyone who has noticed a deterioration in their vision, to regularly get their eyes tested and ensure they remain fit for the roads, in order to try and prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

In a statement released by Northamptonshire Police on behalf of his family, Mick’s son and daughter, Richard Harvey and Jane Slocombe said: “Our dad was a much-loved man and an active member of the community in Desborough. He was well-regarded by everyone who knew him and this was evident when more than 200 people lined the streets on the day of his funeral last June, many ringing bicycle bells in tribute to him.

“He was a quiet and gentle person, who had time for everybody, and was an active member of the community and of St Giles Church, where he volunteered as a communion server and did electrical work for them over many decades.

“We do want something positive to come out of our Dad’s death which is why we are making a strong plea to elderly drivers, in partnership with Northamptonshire Police, to please ensure you are still fit to drive.

“We also want to reach out to everyone with elderly relatives, to encourage them to have a conversation with their family members or friends, around this issue. We appreciate that it may be a difficult subject to broach but it could literally save lives.

“It has been so hard for us to lose our Dad in these circumstances and if we can prevent other people from going through what we have had to, that would mean a lot to us.

"Dad would also have wanted something positive to come from this incident. Please consider the safety of others and get your eyesight tested if you’re not sure.”

Mick Harvey was husband to the late Barbara, father to Richard and Jane, grandfather to Donald, Charis, Henry and Joshua, and brother to Janet.

He lived in Desborough all his life and worked as an electrician for the family business – HC Harvey and Sons. In the 1950s, Mick completed two years of National Service, serving in both Italy and the UK, driving Army lorries.

He ran a number of marathons, including ones in Milton Keynes and Sheffield, enjoyed watching cricket, doing cryptic crosswords, and was a talented woodworker, making all manner of toys for his children and grandchildren including doll’s houses, a farm, toddler quadbike and rocking horse, and a Noah’s Ark.

Mick was a passionate cyclist, a love he discovered as a teenager and something that he enjoyed right up until the end of his life. Often cycling more than 100miles a day, Mick undertook a number of cycling challenges throughout his life including a ride around the entire city of Birmingham. He was also proud to say that he still held the record for the fastest tandem ride from Kettering to Peterborough. More recently, in his early 80s, he rode all the way from his home in Desborough to his daughter's house in Dorset.

DC Bruce Wilson from Northamptonshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Richard, Jane, and the whole of Mick Harvey’s family are the epitome of class, and the way they have handled this incident, with quiet strength and understanding, has been amazing.

“I strongly admire them for wanting something positive to come out of such terrible circumstances and completely echo their plea for elderly drivers and their relatives to ensure they regularly get their eyes tested and remain fit for the roads.

“By doing so you may just prevent another family from having to deal with the heartache Mick’s have endured.”

Richard and Jane added: “The last piece of advice we’d have is that whilst this incident was due to no fault of our Dad’s, we’d encourage cyclists to think about the colour of their high-vis clothing. Dad was wearing yellow at the time which was quite similar to nearby greenery and though it may not have changed anything, we’d like people to be conscious about the seasons and what colours may stand out better than others.

“One thing we know for sure is that Dad would encourage people to continue cycling, despite this incident. It was one of his greatest loves and something he was very passionate about.

“We miss him so much but the one thing that comforts us and something that so many people have said, is that he died doing what he loved – cycling.”

What you need to consider as an older driver

You must renew your driving licence every three years after you turn 70 but there are no laws on what age you must stop driving.

Unless your health or eyesight suddenly get worse, it can be difficult to know when you should stop driving.

Your safety and the safety of other road users are the most important things to consider. If you’re concerned that your driving is not as good as it was and you may be putting yourself or other road users at risk - stop before you have an accident.

It may be time to give up driving if:

- your reactions are noticeably slower than they used to be

- you find traffic conditions increasingly stressful

- your eyesight is getting worse

- you have a medical condition that may affect your ability to drive safely – ask your GP for advice