Biker safety warning for holiday weekend

Road Safety GB North East Chairman Paul Watson.
Road Safety GB North East Chairman Paul Watson.

A road safety campaign has been launched in a bid to cut deaths and injuries among motorbikers.

Sunderland saw 26 bikers seriously injured and one killed in collisions between 2012 and 2016, while in County Durham there were 22 killed and 168 seriously injured.

Now with Easter almost upon us and spring weather approaching, more and more bikers are likely to take to the roads, which will lead to a higher risk of collisions and deaths.

According to recent figures, bikers are 55 times more likely to be killed in a road crash than car drivers.

Road Safety GB North East said between 2012 and 2016, 2,345 motorcyclists had been killed or injured in the region, with 780 being seriously injured and 52 killed.

The road safety group and police are urging bikers to take it easy when out on the roads and are appealing for motorists to take a second look for bikes before pulling out of junctions or attempting to overtake.

Paul Watson, chairman of Road Safety GB North East, said the majority of motorcyclist fatalities involved bikes over 500cc, and 71% occurred on urban roads, rather than in rural areas.

“We are delighted to see that the number of motorcycle casualties across the region has decreased by 16% since 2012, but we are still seeing a high number of fatalities, and collision figures are way off where we would like them to be,” he said.

“Failing to look properly is a factor in many road collisions, and collisions involving motorbikes are no different.

“It may be that the biker hasn’t looked properly or is travelling too fast or not in accordance with the conditions or road.

“Sometimes they simply lose control of their bike.

“However, it could also be down to drivers failing to spot a motorbike when they are pulling out of a junction, or when they go to overtake.

“Bikers are more vulnerable to serious injury, so we urge everyone to take it easy, to drive or ride sensibly, and to look out for each other. It could save a life.”

Almost all motorcyclists, 97%, injured on the region’s roads since 2012 live in the region, and most people were injured on their home local authority’s roads.

Inspector Dean Hood, of Northumbria Police Motor Patrols, said: “The safety of all road users, particularly vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, is something which we take extremely seriously.

“Motorcyclists can take some sensible precautions to help avoid being seriously injured such as; wearing appropriate safety clothing and equipment, ensuring their skills and experience are current for the motorcycle they are riding and also that their vehicles are roadworthy and checked regularly.

“Motorcyclists can also take advantage of a number of courses and inputs, such as ‘cornering clinics’ and ‘biker down’ sessions, which are available locally.”

County Durham and Northumberland see the highest numbers of motorcyclist casualties.

However, given the size and nature of the roads in these two authorities, this is to be expected.