The family of a much-loved grandad killed when his tricycle was hit by a woman driver in her 90s in Desborough are appealing to elderly motorists to get their eyes tested regularly.
They are making the heartfelt plea after superfit pensioner Mick Harvey, 85, died in the accident on May 21, 2020 after his electric tricycle was struck from behind.
The keen runner and brilliant lifelong cyclist tragically died at the scene as members of the public, paramedics and air ambulance crews gave him CPR in a desperate battle to save him.
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In a statement released by Northamptonshire Police 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.”
They stressed: “We do want something positive to come out of our dad’s death.
“That’s 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,” said Richard and Jane.
“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.”
The accident occurred on the straight stretch of Stoke Albany Road on the outskirts of Desborough.
Mick was wearing a yellow high visibility jacket, a helmet and was “riding sensibly” when he was struck.
The elderly woman driver who hit him had her driving licence revoked as a “result of issues with her eyesight”, said police.
The pensioner vowed that she’d never get behind the wheel again.
“Mick’s family 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,” said police.
Mick had been married to his late wife Barbara and was a devoted father to Richard and Jane, grandfather to Donald, Charis, Henry and Joshua and brother to Janet.
The devout church-goer lived in Desborough all his life and worked as an electrician for the family business – HC Harvey and Son.
In the 1950s, Mick completed two years of National Service, serving in both Italy and the UK, driving Army lorries.
He ran marathons, enjoyed watching cricket, doing cryptic crosswords, and was a talented woodworker.
“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 100 miles a day, Mick undertook a number of cycling challenges throughout his life, including a ride around the entire city of Birmingham,” said police.
“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.”
Det Con Bruce Wilson, of Northamptonshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Richard, Jane, and the whole of Mick Harvey’s family are the epitome of class.
“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.
“I completely echo their plea for elderly drivers and their relatives to ensure they regularly get their eyes tested and remain fit for the roads,” said Det Con Wilson.
“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,” they said.
“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.”
Police are reminding drivers that they must renew their driving licence every three years after turning 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,” said police.
“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.”
Police are warning that 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.
For more information, visit: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/travel-hobbies/driving/worried-about-someones-driving/