AS North Yorkshire’s roads begin to fill once again with the roar of motorbikes, a campaign to ensure riders know the hazards they face has stepped up a gear.
Provisional figures show that 12 motorcyclists were killed and 81 were seriously injured on the county’s roads in 2015.
While they mark a continuation with the downward trend that saw biker deaths fall 8.5 per cent below the national average between 2009 and 2013, four motorcyclists have already suffered serious injuries in January this year alone - making clear there is still a need for the campaign.
North Yorkshire County Council’s lead for motorcycle safety, Fiona Ancell said: “In just one week in August, 10,000 motorcycle journeys were made across just seven roads, which gives you an idea of the numbers out there.
“Another death is one too many. We’re not targeting all bikers, we’re not saying they are all idiots, but off all those killed or seriously injured, 70 per cent are doing so because of a mistake they made. It is one moment of inattentiveness that costs a life.
“We need people to be aware of the risks and make informed choices. “
North Yorkshire’s road network, which covers 5,000 miles and criss-crosses countryside including the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, is a huge draw for bikers from across the country and for many rural communities speeding drivers is one of the biggest safety concerns.
The A59 from Skipton to Harrogate; the A170 from Thirsk to Scarborough; the A64 from Tadcaster to Scarborough; the A65 from Ingleton to Skipton and the B1222 from Stillingfleet to Sherburn-in-Elmet see the most incidents - and as part of this year’s efforts to curb crashes, the 95 Alive York and North Yorkshire Road Safety partnership have produced detailed maps of the routes to inform riders of blackspots.
North Yorkshire Police will also be hosting a series of Bikesafe events starting on Wednesday running over the bank holiday weekend in locations popular with bikers, including Squires Cafe in Sherburn-in-Elmet and Manor Cafe at Bellerby.
Advanced motorcycle officers will provide safety advice, saefty courses and point people in the direction of the Roadwise website, which features the interactive accident blackspot maps.
Crime Prevention Officers from West Yorkshire Police will also be attending the events taking place at Squires, from 4pm to 8pm on Wednesday, March 23 and 9am to 4pm on Saturday, March 26, to offer advice on how to protect your motorbike from thieves.
Regional BikeSafe coordinator, Traffic Sergeant Sean Grey, said: “We are committed to reducing the number of bikers killed or seriously injured on our roads. The BikeSafe scheme and the Roadwise website are just two examples of how we assisting riders to improve their skills, knowledge and hazard awareness so they are riding safer.
“The events are open to all to come along, have a chat with us to learn more about the training and enrol on a course. “
Book to encourage safety in tots
CHILDREN as young as two will be taught the importance of road safety after a new book was developed by Bradford Council’s road safety team.
The book shows parents the importance of setting a good example to children when out walking and driving and also explains which car seats are the most appropriate for their age.
It includes a story about getting to school safely which can be used by parents to discuss road safety. Every child will receive a book from their health visitor at the two to three-year-old check.
Coun Val Slater said: “We want all children and adults to be safe and hopefully this book will be one more way to provide parents with the information they need.”