Board of Trustees
RoadPeace Founder and President - 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 OBE
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.
In 2011 Cynthia was shortlisted as an SMK Campaigner Award Finalist.
In 2014 Cynthia was awarded an OBE for services to road safety.
Jeff Baker - Vice Chair
Jeff became aware of RoadPeace in July 2003 shortly after losing his 17 year old son in a cycling RTC in Spain. His bitter experience of the Spanish justice system gave him a thorough insight into the way loss of life on the road is treated both in the UK and abroad. He has subsequently organised and taken part in services of remembrance, fundraising events, campaigning activities and supported other bereaved families. As a RoadPeace trustee, he has had regular contact with RoadPeace local groups and been involved in the governance, strategy and financial issues of the charity.
Biography to come.
Laura is a solicitor in the Serious Injuries Team at Irwin Mitchell's London office. Through her work, she acts for victims of preventable crashes who have sustained life changing injuries, such as head injuries, spinal injuries and severe orthopedic trauma. The majority of these injuries are caused by road traffic crashes, where the defendant driver was drinking, on drugs, distracted, speeding, not heeding to the presence of cyclists on the roads. This is the context in which she came into contact with RoadPeace. She is also a Board Member for Headway North West London, who support brain injury survivors in the Harrow/Brent area.
Peter believes that road danger reduction is a key to representing victims and potential future victims and that this will be achieved not only through changes to legislation, but also to changes in the personal attitudes of road users – particularly drivers of all vehicles. No longer should the death and injury toll on the road be tolerated as some sort of price to pay for mobility. The price is more heavily paid by the weaker and poorer members of the community. Proper recognition of the importance of investigation work must be given, by providing sufficient resources, training and support for such work.
Rebecca is a Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her research interests are in transport and health, in both road danger reduction and transport mode choice, with a particular focus on inequalities. Recent projects have examined the impact of 20 mph zones on road injury in London and how people choose to travel in London, with an emphasis on cycling. Her current work evaluates the impact of free bus travel for young people on public health and explores the role of exposure in explaining ethnic inequalities in child pedestrian injury risk.