Speed is a major factor in crashes on North Yorkshire’s roads and while new figures reveal a welcome fall in fatalities those involved in an accident are more likely to be killed than the national average.
North Yorkshire’s road network, which covers 5,000 miles and criss-crosses stunning 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.
However according to bosses at North Yorkshire County Council efforts to highlight road safety and raise awareness appear to be having an impact, with local figures showing a reduction in road deaths across the county - bucking national trends.
Other areas of concern remain however with the number of cycling casualties up by 19 per cent over the last decade in the county during a period when the numbers getting on their bikes has increased.
Latest statistics show nationally road deaths increased by 4 per cent in 2014 compared with 2013, rising to 1,775. In North Yorkshire however, road deaths reduced by 20 per cent compared with 2013, falling from 51 deaths to 40.
“In such a large rural county which attracts so many visitors and tourists, with an extensive network of winding country roads and all the speed issues that go with it, we cannot afford to be complacent. We are encouraged by the findings in this report, but we want to see the numbers of those killed or seriously injured reducing even further,” said county councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s executive member for road safety.
Officers say the figures show biker deaths are also falling - 8.5 per cent below the yearly average between 2009 and 2013. However an accident on Friday, which saw two motorcyclists killed, is a stark reminder of how accidents can have such a devastating impact.
Two Suzuki motorcycles, travelling in opposite directions, collided on the B1257 between Malton and Amotherby, just before noon on Friday. North Yorkshire Police confirmed a man in his 30s and a man in his 60s, both from East Yorkshire, were killed and have appealed for any witnesses to contact them on 101.
Although the road death rate is down in North Yorkshire, 2.4 per cent of all road collisions result in a fatality compared to 1.1 per cent of road collisions nationally. Council chiefs say the relative likelihood of being killed on the roads in North Yorkshire is higher than the national average.
This is largely due to the fact that the county has long lengths of rural A and B class roads where vehicle speeds are higher and journey distances are longer, compared to other parts of the country. Speed is a factor in 69 per cent of car crashes, 11 per cent of motorcycle crashes and 8 per cent of van collisions in the county.
The county council’s road safety team is also working with partners to address issues of drink driving.
Although overall the number of injury collisions involving alcohol is slightly lower in North Yorkshire than nationally the number of fatal and serious injury collisions is higher than the national average.