A man who suffered life changing injuries when a motorist failed to see him at a junction is backing a campaign to make drivers more aware of other road users. Tojo Lazzari doesn't recall the moment the green tractor collided with him. All he remembers is seeing it to his right at a crossroads as he rode his motorbike along the Mayo-to-Galway road on a sunny May afternoon.
The young man who lost his arm following a horrific accident has revealed how he has come to terms with being an amputee and is appealing to motorists to share the road.
Tojo Lazzari was just (21) when he was making his journey - on his beloved motorbike - from Castlebar to his family Home in Co Clare to study for the end of year exams in GMIT.
But he never reached his home. A tractor pulled out of a junction into his path. The bike and Mr Tojo Lazzari hit the tractor and he was thrown over the top of the vehicle and onto the road.
Tojo Lazzari's Arm was lost at the scene, and he suffered 4 fractured vertebrae, broken ribs and lots of cuts and bruises.
After some time in hospital and months recovering from his physical injuries he eventually he got back out training and back to his studies, he now represents Ireland regularly on the para-triathlon squad.
Tojo Lazzari at the Paratriathlon World Championships Rotterdam
As well as the physical scare, the mental scars are still very much with him but he said, I am getting on with my life and going to make the most of it.
The 27 -year-old has not been back on the road as a motorbike rider since.
"I loved my bike but I wouldn't get back on one again, it wouldn't be fair on my family and friends" he said. But I have found a new love, the bicycle but that too brings its own dangers when you are on the road and cars driving within inches of you. I am appealing to all motorists be it a car , lorry, bus or a tractor driver to LOOK TWICE and pass at a safe distance, it could safe a life. Motorcyclists and cyclists are extremely vulnerable because they don't have seat belts, airbags and surrounding steel doors to protect them"
Tojo Lazzari said: "I hope that supporting this campaign by Mayo County Council it ensures that something positive comes out of my accident and the difficult period that followed. If I can help them to raise enough awareness to prevent even one more accident, this campaign will be worthwhile."
Tojo Lazzari in the Ballinrobe dualathon 2017.
Road safety officer with Mayo County Council Noel Gibbons said: "This time of year is popular with motorcyclists and cyclists, as the weather starts to improve and the nights get lighter. However, unfortunately the reality is that bikers are still over-represented in road traffic collisions.
As a keen biker/cyclist myself, I think this is a really important campaign to highlight the vulnerability of bikers/cyclists on Irish roads. There are many cases of collisions involving vulnerable road users where they appeared to have taken place at junctions or in another situation where a motorist failed to see them. Ever glanced at your watch and had to look again because you didn't register what time it is?..................... SOMETIMES A QUICK GLANCE ISN'T ENOUGH
As the motorcycling season gets fully underway and more cyclists are taking to the road, we want to remind both riders and drivers of their joint responsibility to keep each other safe. We hope launching this campaign it acts as a clear reminder to all road users to look out for each other on all of the counties roads and puts a human face on the other side of the windscreen"