A CAMPAIGN has been launched to help combat the number of deaths of motorcycle riders on North Yorkshire’s roads.

The launch took place in Bellerby, near Leyburn, where the county force’s deputy chief constable, Tim Madgwick, said the start of the motorcycle riding season was about to start.

“Last year saw a 30 per cent increase in motorcycling on North Yorkshire’s road, but there was also a 200 per cent rise in the number of bikers killed in crashes,” he said.

To try to prevent more deaths this year, the county’s 95 Alive Road Safety Partnership was relaunched and a series of events and initiatives will be organised across the county.

As part of the campaign this year, Think Bike posters and information boards will be put around the county’s roads, especially in areas where there have been a number of crashes in recent years.

Mr Madgwick said: “The objective for the partners involved in 95 Alive, has been to reduce the death tolls on our roads. Sadly, last year will be remembered for all the wrong reasons by many. We are determined to make motorcycling safer.”

North Yorkshire County Councillor Gareth Dadd, executive member for highways, said: “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.”

Last year, 15 motorcyclists died on North Yorkshire’s roads, the highest figure for several years, with 96 others seriously injured.

One of the blackspots is the Helmsley to Stokesley road through Bilsdale. Other high-risk routes are the A170 Thirsk to Scarborough; A171 Roxby High Moor to Scarborough; A59 Skipton to Harrogate; A64 Tadcaster to Scarborough, including the stretch through Ryedale. and the A65 Ingleton to Skipton road.

More than half the victims of the serious accidents have been men aged between 40 and 59, with nearly all collisions involving machines over 500 cc and sports bikes.