Mum on mission to make roads safer 10 years after losing son in Beckenham crash
PUBLISHED: 09:20 26 April 2013 | UPDATED: 09:20 26 April 2013
It's been almost 10 years since Lesley Morgan lost her son in a moped crash.
The Westerham mother, 58, has since dedicated her time to ensuring youngsters in Bromley stay safe on the roads, and was recently rewarded by the borough for her efforts.
Since the accident in November 2003, Ben Morgan’s tragic story has been told in local schools in order to educate pupils about the dangers of the road.
He and three friends were riding their mopeds in Barnfield Wood Road, Beckenham, when his back wheel began to wobble and he lost control.
Ben strayed into the path of oncoming traffic and was hit by a taxi head-on, later dying in hospital.
“I don’t think mums and dads know how bad basic training is,” said Lesley. “Ben had only been riding for three months when he had his accident and had already fallen off when it was wet.
“Using his story has been a great way to make kids understand the dangers on the road.”
Lesley was given an Above and Beyond Award at the Safer Bromley Awards last month for her part in the Driven by Consequences courses delivered to students in the borough.
She often visits schools, including Ravens Wood, where Ben was a pupil, and says a common problem is that pupils don’t understand vehicles can be a “lethal weapon”.
She added: “Accidents have a ripple effect and the kids don’t understand how far reaching those things can be. They think it won’t happen to them.”
The “ripple” caused by the loss of her son is one that continues to affect Lesley’s family and friends of Ben, who still gather each year to remember the former paper boy.
His death hit younger brother, Paul, hard and, though the 24-year-old now lives in Australia, he is still reluctant to talk about it.
“He lives in Oz now, so that’s a clean break for him,” said Lesley. “That’s not to say he’s forgotten his brother, but he deals with it differently.
“Ben’s friends still go to where the accident was and lay flowers on his birthday and anniversary. It’s quite warming, but it’s sad that we know the pain they have gone through.”
It costs £100 and takes just a day to pass Compulsory Basic Training, which allows moped drivers to ride on the streets with L-plates for up to two years without any previous training.
Letting 16-year-olds on to the roads with such basic training may seem surprising to many, but even more so when you consider some garages are happy to increase how fast the scooters can travel.
Lesley added: “We are trying to raise awareness of that. Some garages are prepared to alter the bikes for youngsters like Ben.
“You can’t sell alcohol or cigarettes to 16-year-olds, but you can speed up their bikes. That seems very odd to me.”
Scooter Safe courses have been offered by Bromley’s road safety officers for a decade, enabling students to discuss issues such as drink-driving and see images of crash victims.
“It’s Ben’s legacy,” said Lesley. “It’s up to mums and dads to see this as something we have to do.”