A POLICE officer who saw his father killed in a motorbike crash after he made a “simple error” has launched a campaign to ensure other riders get home safely.
Grandfather Mike Mangan, aged 72, from Turton, suffered fatal injuries after crashing head-on into a van while overtaking towards the end of a 320-mile journey.
Mr Mangan’s son, Insp Dave Mangan, also from Bolton, who works for Lancashire Constabulary, was riding ahead of his father in Wheddon Cross, Somerset, on September 11 last year.
Now, he wants to educate others — something his father would have supported.
Insp Mangan, who works in the road policing unit, said: “Doing the campaign and speaking about what happened is emotionally draining but I feel I have got no option. I have got to use my experience to help other riders not make mistakes.
“My father dedicated his retirement to the safety of motorcyclists. He was a senior observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists, he would educate other riders to be more skilled. The campaign is a positive legacy for a wonderful man who did didn’t deserve to go as he did.”
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The 43-year-old has created an emotional short film along with his mother, Helena Mangan, and Michelle Gozna, a family liaison officer.
The film, Mike’s Last Ride, offers advice on how riders can stay safe and will be shown to bikers across the country.
Other police forces have also given the campaign their backing.
Insp Mangan believes his father did not see the oncoming van when he overtook a vehicle on his BMW 1200RT motorbike.
The retired electrical engineer was killed instantly. Realising his father was dead, Insp Mangan kissed him and told him he loved him.
Mr Mangan’s family put his mistake down to tiredness.
The police officer was on a short holiday with his father, travelling to Minehead at the time.
Insp Mangan said: “If it reminds just one biker of the dangers faced by riding while tired, then it will be a success.
“When bikers are making a long journey, towards the end they may start to feel tired and lose concentration. It is really important that riders recognise this and adjust their riding to the conditions.
“Even experienced riders can make errors of judgment. Please don’t make this mistake.”
He advised drivers to get off their bike and have a stretch if they are tired, keep hydrated, not to ride after eating heavy meals, stick to appropriate speeds and not to feel pressured to keep up with other riders.
Officers from Lancashire Constabulary will be going to bike meets across the county to let riders know about the campaign and show them the video.
Insp Mangan said: “A lot of people have said he died doing something he loved but friends and family would have preferred that he came home. My father has gone.
"Everyone that is left behind, my mum, friends, family, his four grandchildren and my sister all miss him. The loss is disproportionate. People shouldn’t die doing something for leisure like this.”
His widow, Mrs Mangan, said: “The first reaction was total and utter denial, then I remember screaming and collapsing — everything just collapsed with me. If it wasn’t for friends that came rushing out I couldn’t have got up from that floor.
“I had to phone my daughter in New Zealand, 12,000 miles away and tell her that her father had been killed and that was awful because I couldn’t put my arm around her.”
Dept Ch Cons Andy Rhodes, from Lancashire Constabulary, said: “It is very courageous of Dave to use this tragic event to try to help keep other riders safe.
“The risks of motorcycling are considerably greater than for other road users. Last year there were 36 fatalities on Lancashire’s roads and six of these were motorcyclists. Another 173 motorcyclists were also seriously injured.”
Insp Mangan will promote the campaign in memory of his father by holding a minute’s silence in the village of Wheddon Cross, which is about half a mile from where Mr Mangan was killed, on Friday, April 11.
He will be joined by friends and colleagues who will ride with him from Preston to Land’s End on Wednesday.
Insp Mangan will also be holding a web chat today. To get involved search Lancs Police on Facebook.
An inquest into Mr Mangan’s death will take place next month.