Biker death toll rises on North Yorkshire’s roads

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A TREBLING of the death toll among motorcycle riders has triggered a new safety campaign on North Yorkshire’s roads.

The county saw 15 motorcyclist deaths last year, up from five in 2012.

Figures suggest 70 per cent of collisions involving motorcyclists in North Yorkshire follow a mistake by the biker.

Next week, as biker season gets underway in earnest, posters will go up on roads across the county reminding drivers of the dangers in areas where bikers have crashed in recent years.

The 95 Alive Partnership, which brings together organisations in North Yorkshire to cut roads deaths, is behind the campaign which will also involve events through the year targeting bikers.

Partnership chairman and Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: “The objective for all the partners involved in 95 Alive has been to reduce the death toll on our roads. Sadly, 2013 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons by many families across North Yorkshire and the North of England.

“We are determined to try and make motorcycling safer, I will work with all our partners to achieve this objective.

“There are many positive reasons why people choose to ride motorcycles and as a police service we will seek to educate and inform riders and encourage responsible use.

“The consequences of riders or other motorists making errors of judgement are clearly taking a devastating toll, so we will take every opportunity to work with all road users to improve safety.”

While the campaign aims to educate riders, North Yorkshire Police have also made clear they will be taking a tough line on bikers who take risks on the road.

The figures suggest the majority of bikers involved in collisions are men aged between 40 and 59 riding bikes bigger than 500cc.

Just one third of the motorcyclists caught up in crashes last year were from North Yorkshire with a further third from West Yorkshire.

A quarter of accidents in the last three years involved bikers riding in a straight line.

County councillor Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s executive member for highways, said: “We know that as the weather gets warmer more people come out onto the roads to enjoy North Yorkshire’s beautiful countryside and historic towns.

“But we want people to enjoy the roads safely and to drive with the necessary skill and consideration for others. We want to prevent this tragic waste of life.”

The most accident-hit roads over the last three years have been the A170 between Thirsk and Scarborough, the A171 from Roxby High Moor to Scarborough, the A59 from Skipton to Harrogate, the A64 between Tadcaster and Scarborough and the A65 from Ingleton to Skipton.

Fiona Ancell, North Yorkshire road safety officer and a keen biker herself, said: “We had a bad year last year for biker casualties in the county.

“We know that our roads are becoming more popular with bikers and they are very welcome visitors but we would urge them to take notice of the fact that in 70 per cent of crashes that resulted in bikers dying or being seriously injured, the main factor that led to the crash was a mistake by the rider.

“Please honestly consider if your skill level matches the way you want to ride your bike. Consider taking a Bikesafe course, where riders are shown skills such as how to take the correct line round a bend and how to overtake safely.

“Or invest in an enhanced rider scheme course, which is tailored to the individual skill areas riders need to improve on.”