Sister's heartache over 'wonderful' brother's death in horror motorbike crash

Jason Bown, 52, from the Derbyshire area, died in a crash involving two motorbikes on the A5 near to Rhydlanfair, Conwy, in 2021
-Credit: (Image: North Wales Police/Handout)

The sister of a biker who was tragically killed in a head-on collision with another motorcyclist has spoken of her heartache following the crash. Experienced motorcyclist Jason Bown was 52 when he was fatally injured on September 7, 2021 when his Harley Davidson was involved in a collision on the A5 near Rhydlanfair, Conwy.

Jason’s sister Rachael Rawson has spoken of her grief and has pledged her support for North Wales Police’s Op Darwen road safety campaign. Rachael, who lives in Baslow, Derbyshire, said: “Jason was a wonderful brother.

"I couldn’t have asked for anybody better. He was always there for me, through everything. On the day of the collision a lady police officer walked up the drive and spoke to my mum.

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"So she phoned me and explained that she had a police lady with her and she wanted to know what tattoos Jason had got. I knew instantly - I knew straight away that he’d died.”

Jason was travelling on the A5 when another motorcyclist crashed head on with his motorcycle after attempting to overtake two vehicles on a blind bend. Tragically Jason was pronounced dead at the scene.

Rachael Rawson lost her brother Jason Bown, an experienced motorcyclist, in a road accident near Betws-y-Coed in 2021. Now she is supporting North Wales Police's #OpDarwen road safety campaign
Rachael Rawson lost her brother Jason Bown, an experienced motorcyclist, in a road accident near Betws-y-Coed in 2021. Now she is supporting North Wales Police's #OpDarwen road safety campaign -Credit:North Wales Police

The other motorcyclist was seriously injured and was taken to hospital by ambulance. Rachael added: “For me it was my brother, but for my mum it was her son, her child.

"And knowing that I couldn’t do anything to help my mum, it was so hard. I don’t think people realise how much it affects people.

"Not just us as a family, but the people who witnessed it, friends, family - everybody. You see things on television and think - oh how awful, but when it happens to you, to you as a family, it tears you apart. It destroys you.

“If I can save one family from going through what we’ve gone through as a family, if I can save that one family going through this heartache which affects you physically and mentally, I feel like I’ve done some good and saved one family."

Rachael added: “Ride your bike, enjoy it, but think of other people out there and go home to your loved ones. Don’t put your family through what we’ve been through.”

The other motorcyclist, Jonathan Godfree 61, of Liphook in Hampshire, was jailed in January 2023 after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. He was sentenced to 16 months and was disqualified from driving for two years and eight months.

As part of the annual Op Darwen road safety campaign - which is aimed at reducing the risk of motorcycle-related deaths and serious injuries on the roads - Rachael has taken part in a short film which has been produced to help raise awareness of the initiative. The film can be viewed on the North Wales Police YouTube channel.

Last year 89 motorcyclists were killed or seriously injured in North Wales, a 3.4% increase from the previous year and 24% higher than figures seen in 2021 and 21% higher than 2019. The total number of motorcyclist fatalities in 2023 was 8 (an increase of 33% from the previous year).

Sergeant Jason Diamond, Operational Lead for Op Darwen on behalf of the Roads Crime Unit, said: “Understandably the last few years and trying to come to terms with what happened have been particularly difficult for Rachael and her family, and we are extremely grateful to have their support for our campaign.

“On average, riders from outside the region represent 34% of killed or seriously injured motorcycle casualties within North Wales so we are hoping that Rachael’s message will resonate with motorcyclists from all across the UK. We’d like the video to be shared far and wide so that other families don’t have to endure the pain of losing a loved one because of poor decision making.

“Sadly, we see far too many deaths on the roads. It’s important to be thinking about coming home as the biker, but we need to share the roads out there and not cause anybody else’s loss. We’ll use every available opportunity to speak to riders about how they can play their part in reducing the number of deaths or serious injuries on the roads.

"This includes travelling at an appropriate speed for the road and conditions, wearing suitably rated protective clothing and helmet and being understanding of the effects that any amount of alcohol and/or drugs could have on a rider and driver. We’re not trying to stop motorcyclists from riding on the roads, we’re trying to stop them from dying on them. Come here - ride safe, go home and repeat. Come here, ride dangerously, lose your licence – or your life. It’s your choice.

Sergeant Diamond added: “I understand that there are collisions where riders are not at fault, but if we can educate riders to lift observations, think about what may be around the next bend, have appropriate speed for hazards, then at least that will also have a positive impact on reducing conflict with other motorists. I can also say without hesitation that drivers will be treated the same if they are unable to abide by the rules of the road.”

The campaign runs from early Spring through until the autumn, covering a period that sees the highest number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured. It is aimed at promoting rider safety and will see high visibility patrols being carried out along key routes which have been identified as risk areas.

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