COMMENT: A change in the law over death statistics is long overdue
As if the parents of an eight-year-old boy who died after falling from his bike don’t have enough to deal with, they are now campaigning to get his death properly recorded.
Leo Burton died in June last year from a head injury after the fall.
He went to bed following the incident but never woke up the next morning.
Leo’s death is not recorded by the Department for Transport (DfT) in their statistics as his bike was the only vehicle involved and the police were not called.
Only data on transport-related deaths from police is included in Department for Transport figures.
His parents Natalie and Tom have now teamed up with the Cycle Smart Foundation charity to try and get the law changed so that data from hospitals can also be included in DfT numbers.
That would mean deaths like Leo’s would appear as part of official transport statistics.
Although the coroner confirmed Leo suffered significant acute and traumatic brain injury he said that wouldn’t have been picked up by hospital staff.
The charity believes that if hospital statistics were used, the number of recorded deaths from bicycle accidents could double.
Angie Lee, chief executive of the charity, said: ‘When Leo’s parents approached us and explained what happened it really hit me hard – you just can’t imagine being in their position.
‘Leo’s death shouldn’t be lost, but serve as a key reminder about cycle safety. That is why we are pushing for this change.’
Leo’s family also have the support of their local MP, Caroline Dinenage, who has now written to the relevant minister to try and get the change through parliament.
Whether they get the law changed or not won’t bring Leo back but it would significantly change the DfT death figures if the charity’s belief that the official number of deaths of cyclists could be double.