University Road Safety Competition in memory of Sean Morley held in Parliament

Sean Morley, a 20-year-old History and Politics undergraduate, was tragically killed on September 2nd 2012 in a hit and run road incident as he made his way home on foot near Bedworth after a night out with friends. 

Sean’s Parents,Kerry & Gareth have worked closely with their local MP Craig Tracey for justice ever since.

They now join together with road safety charity AIRSO to hold an annual competition which showcases university student projects for the Sean Morley Memorial Prize.

Hosting the event in Parliament was North Warwickshire and Bedworth Member of Parliament Craig Tracey. Also in attendance was neighbouring MP Marcus Jones.

Craig Tracey, who gave a personal tour of the Houses of Parliament to the student finalists before the competition, commented:
“It is an honour to be involved with the awards and this year had the highest number of applicants than any previous year, it is impressive to see how many students have invested their time into how we can make our roads safer.  All eight of the finalists conducted fantastic presentations and innovative projects. To do this in Sean’s memory, working with Kerry and Gareth is a really nice tribute.

Marcus Jones said: “How Kerry and Gareth have turned their personal tragedy into such a positive is remarkable. The event was a fantastic and the quality of the bright young people involved show what a positive future we have.”

The overall winner & best product was won by Jake Thompson a student at Sussex University Department of Engineering and Design for his creation of ‘Flare Cycling’ a new tool for cyclists.

Flare is a smart bicycle light and integrated app that allows riders to map data on the quality of our road surfaces and infrastructure. The collected information can be used by stakeholders such as local authorities to identify and address hazards which pose a risk to cyclists, and so make cycling safer.

After receiving his award Jake said: 
“It is a huge honour to receive the Sean Morley Memorial Award and I am incredibly grateful to Sean’s family and AIRSO for giving graduates with road safety projects the platform to take their work to the next level - the breadth and scope of issues tackled this year was fantastic and incredibly interesting. The effects of road safety and infrastructure design is a huge part of everyday life for a large proportion of the UK and the work that underpins our journeys is often taken for granted. With increasingly dense major cities and a plateau in the reduction of road accidents it is vital to preserve current momentum and engage with new ideas to achieve a safer network for everyone.”

The award for best dissertation was shared by Lucy Milson, a Loughborough University Design School student and Kusena Johnny, a Civil Engineering student also at Loughborough University.

Lucy’s dissertation investigated the potential effectiveness of the safety systems proposed for autonomous vehicles in the mitigation and prevention of fatal motorcycle accidents in the West Midlands. 

Lucy Milson explained:
“My project enabled me to further explore the capabilities of autonomous vehicles and the role they could play in mitigating the effects of collisions between cars and motorcycles. It was an honour to be invited to the Sean Morley Award Finals and I am proud to have been able to share my project with so many influential people. Winning an award made it particularly special and I was delighted to share my celebration with my dissertation tutor and parents, who supported me throughout my project.”

Kusena’s project investigated the relationship between speed variance and road safety, and made recommendations to enhance road safety in relation to speed variance.

Kusena enthused:
“I am deeply honoured to have met road safety practitioners, policy-makers, and passionate students, who conducted innovative research aimed to further improve road safety. I learnt a lot from my experience of presenting at the Sean Morley Awards and hopefully my research will be able to contribute to the current understanding of the relationship between speed and road safety.”

Sponsor and organiser of the competition, AIRSO’s Dr Lucy Racliff highlighted the benefits the awards could bring to the projects:
“The awards showcase the fantastic research being done by undergraduate students across a range of disciplines:  All of the shortlisted work demonstrated real potential to improve road safety, with innovative products and detailed research presented.  We hope the award helps to bring this work to a wider audience, and particularly to policy-makers and those in a position to implement the excellent ideas we heard about.”

AIRSO is a company formed in 1965 to provide support for individuals working in the area of road safety. The awards are open to undergraduates of UK universities and rewards exceptional projects and dissertations which have a road safety theme. 

Speaking about the event Kerry and Gareth Dean said:
“Each year the submissions inspire us.  We have hope that new generations coming through will be able to make credible differences to the way we think about our roads and behave on them.  There will always be the people who have no regard for the safety of others like the individual who killed our son, Sean Morley, but we take comfort that there is a generation of young adults who are switched on to making positive changes and have passion in their chosen subjects.  The road networks are changing as are the forms of transport, large and small.  Add into that the added push for more people to take up out-door based activities such as cycling and walking to work and for leisure and health, plus the investment and planning required, this subject area has endless opportunities to influence and shape going forward.

The dissertations are becoming more varied into topics not seen before at the awards which is exciting and these are challenging the way things are done and bringing fresh data and energy into the arena.

We are also seeing more practical submissions rather than all theory based ones and some of these talented entrants are taking forward their designs and research into the market.  These are the entrepreneurs coming to the fore and if the Sean Morley Award can give them a platform to showcase their work then we are achieving what we set out to do.

Our MP Craig Tracey has been a fantastic support and has hosted the awards in Westminster for the last few years.  MP Marcus Jones continues to support the day too.  

This year Craig and his team organised for Transport Minister Jesse Norman to attend and talk at the event, acknowledging AIRSO and the work presented.  

We have been honoured to have Sean's name in Westminster numerous times now.  Sean wanted to make a difference and become an MP so it is apt to have the event there.

We urge all students and apprentices to submit relevant work and get their studies and projects seen."