RoadPeace Founder and Chair
Founder - Brigitte Chaudhry MBE
When Brigitte’s only son, Mansoor aged 26, was horrifically killed in October 1990 by a van driver who had ploughed into him whilst driving through a junction with lights already red for a long time, she was shocked at the shabby treatment of his innocent death. Brigitte quickly learnt that the response to a road death, however blameless the victim and reckless the offender, was worlds apart from the response to a violent death caused by someone in other circumstances. She protested through legal actions in the High Court – eventually three judicial reviews over five years. She found other people who were bereaved through letters in newspapers and approaches to Compassionate Friends, and she documented their experiences.
These experiences made it clear that a grave injustice was being perpetrated and suffered. Together with some of the people she met, Brigitte decided that to challenge the casual attitude to road casualties and offer support to the victims, a dedicated organisation needed to be set up, since none existed and no-one spoke up for road victims. RoadPeace's first meeting was held around Brigitte's dining table in 1991 and the organisation began in 1992 with the first ever helpline for road crash victims, which she manned at the same time as developing the organisation.
As National Secretary, Brigitte has been involved with the day-to-day work of RoadPeace for 16 years, stepping down at the 7th conference in April 2008, which celebrated RoadPeace’s 15 years of pioneering work since its public launch in 1993. Brigitte’s engagement with RoadPeace continues in her role as president, but she is also working at international level for road crash victims: since 2004, she has been President of FEVR (European Federation of Road Traffic Victims) and in collaboration with the World Health Organisation she continues to develop and promote the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
For more of Brigitte's experiences read about how RoadPeace was founded in Hidden Victims and her speech at RoadPeace's 15th anniversary conference.
Chair - Cynthia Barlow
Cynthia's only child and daughter, Alex Jane McVitty, was tragically killed on 7 June 2000, aged 26. She was cycling in the City of London when the driver of a concrete mixer lorry turned left across her path.
Cynthia's experience of the investigation, inquest and the court procedings were painfully disappointing and isolating. She was compelled to carry out her own analysis of what had happened and drew her own conclusions of the responsibilities that needed to be taken by the driver and by his employer. She bought shares in the company and attended their Annual General Meeting, speaking out about what had happened to her daughter and offering suggestions for what the company should be doing to prevent further injuries or loss of life.
Cynthia's determination and courage was met by the company agreeing to work with her to improve their vehicle and driving practices. Since then, Cynthia has been involved in many areas of road danger reduction, but is especially engaged in the dangers of HGVs to cyclists and other vulnerable road users and the responsibilities of freight operating companies. Read more about Cynthia's experiences in this testimony to her daughter.