Donald Hilton Wright passed away last Tuesday. For many years he was the bike trade's representative on standards committees.

Don Wright RIP

Don Wright was chair of CEN Technical Committee 333 since 1999 and was an expert on UK and European bicycle standards, working closely with Bicycle Association consultant Alan Cater.

Dahon agent Mark Bickerton said: "I have been a member of the Bicycle Association for about 25 years, so knew Don over much of that period.

"He was a thoroughly nice man, with an incredible ability for the technical aspects of bikes and his work for the bike industry is a very important part of the framework around which the industry works.

"He represented the UK industry on BS and CEN committees for many years. His contribution to the technical side of the bike industry will be appreciated by those that knew him, for a long time to come. And those in the industry that did not know him may never know how much he contributed."

This view is echoed by Chris Juden
CTC’s Senior Technical Officer: "Today’s cyclists, unknowingly, have Don largely to thank for the fact that they don’t have to worry too much about something like their forks snapping off.

"I met Don through his chairmanship of the BSI committee on cycle standards and he was by far the finest chairman of any committee I’ve ever served on.

"With tact and charm he kept the agenda moving whilst ensuring that every opinion was heard and often building consensus from the least promising of materials.

"The experience he brought from the motor industry was particularly valuable in the area of fatigue testing and combined with his leisure interest in cycling to make his judgments unfailingly authoritative and insightful."

Bicycle safety consultant Pietro Boselli said:

"The first time I met Don was in 1994 in Germany.
In Cologne he was the chair of ISO TC 149. There were about thirty experts and each of them was strictly oriented to one norm among DIN, AFNOR, JIS, ASTM, BSI.

"Don had masterfully conducted the meeting using his mediation capacity to soften divergent positions, through his huge technical experience.

"At that time I was just entering as consultant into the industry organizations. I knew a little about members and about their relative interest in listening to common European rules and projects.

"At the end of the Cologne two days meeting, however , I announced officially , at my own responsibility, that Italy would have started again to join and contribute to ISO works.

"And we did it. Year after year, meeting after meeting, Italians were present up to the moment our national UNI safety standards, city and MTB, were published.

"These Uni standards were prepared according to the latest technical improvements internationally achieved, thank to the fair and reliable exchange of information among all of us.

"We owe to Don, to his skill and to his style of direction, whether the exchange of confidential information has been so productive for the entire world industry of the bicycle.

"Laws and regulations ( we have millions of different regulations in Europe) impose requirements more stringent than those imposed by standards. At that point it was precisely the continuing skirmishes among national standards, with lots of bicycles stopped at the Internal Market borders, which suggested me to promote the birth of a single European standard. 

"As calculated by EU V. President Günter VERHUGEN EU, the European companies, using national standards to exclude foreign competitors nearby, lost in a year 150 BILLIONS Euros!

"I was spending a lot of time in Brussels and I felt that it could have opened a window of inter-European understanding.

"Leveraging on this spirit that hovered in Colibi and Coliped, with the support of Italian Confindustria Brussels and officials of the EU, the ‘wall against the wall’ policy was put aside with a lot of patience, of confidential work and diplomacy.

"The most difficult technical barriers to climb were those erected by Germans, armed with continuous restrictive variations in DIN-StVZO and by French, who brandished their famous Decree. 

"It was hard to play as ‘facilitator’, but together with UNI Norms notification on French Official Journal and pressures against DIN changes, one of the best move has been the choice of a indisputable and impartial Englishman to form the new Technical Committee CEN TC333.

"The negotiation was complex and lasted months, up and down between Coventry, Frankfurt, Paris and Milan, on four fronts: to build CEN new Committee draft business plan, to raise funds in a very skeptical and little careful place like ours, to make an interesting proposition for Don without disturbing or irritate the British Association and also to co-opt to the project our German friends.

"Together with Coliped MadeinEurope, anti-dumping China Italian campaign, Don’s recruitment and the agreement between him and Italians to have him head of CENTC333, was one of the ‘maneuvers off the radar’ for which I still am deeply proud of. 

"In my opinion the main merit of Don was to have directed successfully an extremely complex international process up to the final delivery of a full set of advanced EN standards. The further step toward harmonization of the bicycle standards to the GPSD has been quite far out of the technical CEN context.

"With no doubt the very good level reached by EN standards has helped a lot the European Commission toward the Decision to reference them under GPSD (despite the final attempt by some EU Members to reject the harmonisation under GPSD).

"Away from work, Don was a man of great humour and we loved the magical stories about safety bicycles by Jerome K. Jerome."

There will be a service at Iford Baptist Chapel in Dorset on Monday 8th February. There will be a memorial service in May or June in Nuneaton, near to where he used to live and work.

Don Wright’s family request that wreaths are sent from the family only but that, in their stead, donations can be made to the Macmillan Trust via a JustGiving website.

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