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North Yorkshire bike safety scheme launched
MOST fatal crashes involving motorcyclists are their own fault, police have said, as they launched a new campaign to cut the county’s accident rate.
Road safety experts said the claim was not popular among bikers, but said it was backed up by the facts and said motorcyclists had to take more care.
Since 2002, 139 bikers have died on North Yorkshire’s roads and last year alone, 108 were serious injuried and five were killed. The fatal figure is down from nine in 2011 and 20 in 2010, but police and campaigners said it was still too high.
Yesterday, police launched a new biker's guide, including videos showing potential hazards and hidden dangers on popular routes.
Fiona Ancell, road safety officer with North Yorkshire County Council and 95Alive, said: “We will be going out to biker venues and spreading the message, which is basically that consistently over the last few years, the main cause of fatal and serious crashes has been biker error.
“It’s not a popular message for motorcyclists to hear, but it is an important message to get out. We have met some resistance because nobody likes criticism aimed at them, or the suggestion they need to improve their skills, but the facts speak for themselves. The police investigate crashes, and they conclude that the rider had collision with something and fell off because of a lack of skill or error they made. In towns it can often be driver error, but on rural roads, often it is biker error.”
Assistant Chief Constable Iain Spittal, chair of the 95Alive Partnership, said: “Although there has been a reduction in deaths over the past couple of years there are still too many serious collisions involving motorbikes on our roads and we are determined to get the figures down. Most bikers are responsible riders but there are people out there who don't heed the warnings and those people are not welcome in North Yorkshire.”
This year's scheme was launched at Squires’ Café Bar, at Sherburn-in-Elmet, where Traffic Constable Roger Walker said it was not just motorcyclists who had to beware.
He said: “Motorcycle season is now very close to starting, with better weather coming. So the message is to people who bring their bikes out after four or five months rest period, don’t try to ride as you would towards the middle of the season.
You need to build up your skills and get used to the handling of the machine again. But also, car drivers need to be aware there will be larger numbers of bikes on the roads now, so it's important for them to become more aware looking for motorcyclists, who are vulnerable road users.”
The routes in the videos are the A170 between Thirsk and Scarborough and the A65 between Ingleton and Skipton. Videos of the B1222 between Sherburn and Stillingfleet and the B1257 between Helmsley and Stokesley were filmed last year. All are available at nyrides.co.uk David Jackson of Bishopthorpe, whose 35-year-old son Phillip, a father of two, died in a motorbike crash in 2010, said motorists and bikers should pay attention to the scheme. He said: “We should all know how important safety is, but I suppose bikers could benefit from the videos.
It’s so easy to have an accident, isn't it? It doesn't have to be something you have done, there are that many idiots on the road, I see it every day. It’s common sense really, but everyone rushes about, they don't have time to wait. Use common sense and be aware of what's going on around you and what other people are doing.”