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Eleven motorcyclists killed on North Yorkshire roads in 2013 as fatalities rise this summer
NORTH Yorkshire Police are pleading with motorcyclists to slow down as the death toll for this year reached 11 – more than double that for the whole of 2012.
With three fatal motorcycle accidents in the last week alone, North Yorkshire Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick has spoken out against bikers risking their lives on the county’s roads.
Mr Madgwick said: “We need to get the message across to the motorcycling community that while we want them to come to North Yorkshire and we want places like Helmsley to be popular, we don’t want them going home in a box.”
With seven out of ten motorcycle fatalities caused by rider error, and most of those down to speed, Mr Madgwick said it was up to bikers to slow down and ride safely.
Speaking in Helmsley market place yesterday as part of a police campaign to help reduce the number of bike deaths on North Yorkshire’s road, he said: “A large proportion of the community are safe riders, but that does not explain why a small minority are prepared to take risks.”
He also pledged to pursue irresponsible and dangerous riders – some spotted driving at 50mph over the limit – using the force’s new camera vans, and prosecute them through a special court in Northallerton.
He said: “I don’t think we have been complacent. We have invested in new equipment in the vans, but some part of the message has not got through.”
TC Steve Beckwith is a motorbike officer with the force. He said that while the majority of riders “take it steady and enjoy their day out”, he sees some who are intent on riding as fast as they can, overtaking on double white lines or near junctions, and never checking their mirrors.
He appealed to bikers to improve their skills and not ride beyond their capabilities.
Less than a week before, a 60-year-old motorcyclist from Lancashire died in a collision near Ripon, and later that day motorcyclist Gordon Andrew Bullock, 45, from Redcar, and driver Jennie Currer, 65, from County Durham, were both killed in a crash on the B1257 near Helmsley.
With so many accidents on his roads, Mr Madgwick said his officers and emergency services were often stretched to the limit at weekends.
They have found evidence of dangerous games thought to be a thing of the past, lsuch as bikers racing between market towns and using parking tickets bought at each end as proof of their speed, making a comeback on North Yorkshire roads, he added.
Fiona Ancell is a road safety officer specialising in motorbikes at North Yorkshire County Council. She said she had seen too many tragedies of bikers dying on the roads.
“I ride motorbikes and I have lost mates in crashes. I don’t want to go to any more of those funerals and I don’t want anyone else to either,” she said.
“It’s not a message bikers want to hear but a proportion of them need to improve their skills and exercise more restraint.
“There are a few who use the roads as a racetrack, but there is no place for that because it is only a matter of time before, in the best case scenario, they are caught speeding or, in the worst case scenario, they are killed.”
• A motorcyclist was injured in a crash near Knaresborough yesterday. The 20-year-old man was airlifted to hospital with injuries to his leg and pelvis following the crash with a Citroen C1 at Arkendale. His injuries were not life threatening.
The 2013 death toll
Eleven bikers have died on North Yorkshire’s roads so far this year:
• Robert Wilkinson was travelling towards Harrogate when he came off his bike near the Black Bull Hotel, at Felliscliffe, on March 17
• Dominic Lee, 49, of Trawden, Lancashire, died following a crash on the A65 near Skipton, on May 1
• Paul Barker, 46, of Thirsk, died following a crash in Moor End Lane between Sowerby, Thirsk and Dalton, on May 2
• Darren Adams, 47, of Stockton-on-Tees, died on the A171 between Whitby and Scarborough on May 12.
• Lee Constable, 50, of Redcar, died following a collision in Lockton Lane at Lockton near Pickering on May 12.
• Andrew Harrison died in Osgodby on May 15.
• Gail Richards, 42, died at the scene of a crash on the B6479, near Horton-In-Ribblesdale, on May 25.
• Simon Higgins, 39, from Todmorden, West Yorkshire, died on the A65 Clapham bypass at the junction with Station Road, on July 27.
• A 60-year-old biker from Lancashire, who has yet to be named, died in a collision near Ripon on August 3.
• Gordon Andrew Bulllock, 45, of Redcar, died in a crash on the B1257 near Helmsley on August 3.
• A rider, who has yet to be named, was killed on the A163 North Duffield on August 8.