High death toll on county’s roads

THE NUMBER of people dying on North Yorkshire’s roads has seen a dramatic rise with a significant hike in the number of bikers killed, according to the latest available figures.

51 people died on North Yorkshire's roads in 2013
51 people died on North Yorkshire's roads in 2013

They reveal fifty one people died in 2013, which was a 65 per cent rise on the figure of thirty one for 2011, while the number of motorcyclists killed on the roads went up from an all-time low of five in 2012 to sixteen in 2013.

The county’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 nation. Police have admitted one of the biggest problems is with bikers travelling to North Yorkshire from other areas including West Yorkshire and Teesside who are unfamiliar with the weaving country roads.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, of North Yorkshire Police, said yesterday provisional figures for 2014 indicated there were lower fatalities and fewer motorcyclists killed on the roads than in 2013 - however he said casualties remained too high.

“Excess speed is a key factor in many serious and fatal collisions,” he said.

Work has been going on with a number of agencies across the county to reduce the problem and highlight the risks.

In a report to be considered by members of North Yorkshire County Council’s transport, economy and environment and scrutiny committee on Wednesday, David Bowe, the council’s corporate director for business and environmental services says there are some encouraging signs.

“We are increasingly hearing the majority of motorcyclists condemning and dissociating themselves from the few who ride dangerously and at extreme speeds....This makes that majority more receptive to information and advice from us and the resistant remainder are dealt with by the police,” he says.

The figures show that the numbers seriously injured fell from 442 in 2012 to 425 in 2013 and the number of children killed or seriously injured also fell from 28 in 2012 to 21 in 2013.

Provisional figures show 45 people died on the county’s roads last year, a slight reduction on the previous year, said Mr Bowe. They show biker deaths down from 16 in 2013 to 14 in 2014.

His report says a new bid to improve the driving of young motorists has proved a success. The pass plus programme, commissioned by the County Council’s road safety team has involved young, novice drivers, their parents and driving instructors and includes practical lessons on motorway and city driving, and advanced challenging driving by a specially trained instructor.

Mr Madgwick said: “We are working closely with the Department for Transport to analyse how can reduce the number of fatal motorcycle collisions, as well as offering bike safe courses and other educational engagement activities with motorcyclists to try and educate them about responsible riding.”

He said the Force was working with the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) and experts nationally to look at how the issue can be tackled. He said it included “...plans for how we would like to try and reduce serious and fatal collisions by working with an even wider range of partners, organisations and charities - this will be launched in March.”

There will also be a national week of action to coincide with start of motorcycle season over Easter.

He said enforcement remained a key part of the Force’s response to road safety.