Posted: Wednesday 23rd March 2016
Analysis from the North East Regional Road Safety Resource is being used in the latest road safety campaign being run by Road Safety GB North East (RSGB-NE).
RSGB-NE are urging motorcyclists to slow down and anticipate the mistakes of other road-users after figures showed almost 2,500 motorcyclists were killed or injured on North East roads in the past five years. Motorcyclists are 38 times more likely to be killed in a road accident than car drivers, and between 2011 and 2015, 52 bikers were killed and 771 were seriously injured – with 2015 seeing a 13% rise on the most serious accidents, with 15 people killed in that year alone.
Analysis shows that as Easter approachs, more and more bikers are likely to take to the region’s roads and biker accident figures are likely to peak.
RSGB-NE chairman (and Resource steering group member) Paul Watson appealed for all road-users to drive according to the roads and conditions, and to spend a second longer looking out for each other. The statistics show that the majority of motorcyclist fatalities involved bikes over 500cc, and 69% occurred on urban roads, rather than in rural areas.
County Durham had the highest number of serious accidents and fatalities during the past five years, followed by Northumberland, Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside. However, given the size of County Durham and Northumberland and the nature of the roads, these figures are to be expected.
However, while Redcar and Cleveland recorded 103 biker accidents in total, which was relatively low in comparison to other areas, four of them proved fatal, and similarly, in South Tyneside three people were killed in a total of 120 road smashes involving motorbikes.
Paul said: “It’s the time of year when bikers like to get their machines out and tour around the region, so understandably we tend to see a sharp rise in accidents involving motorcyclists between March and October.
“Failure to look properly is a factor in almost half of the accidents involving bikes and quite often riders simply lose control of their vehicles.
“We are not here to tell people not to ride motorbikes – we appreciate it’s a much-loved pastime for a lot of people. However, we do want people to take it easy and to make sure they have the skills and experience required for riding the larger bikes.”
However, Paul said bike accidents were not always the fault of the rider and it was vital that all road-users looked out for each other, particularly at times of higher risk.
“Drivers of cars and heavy goods vehicles may simply not see a biker as they pull out of a junction, or may fail to see them in their blind spot as they pull out on a motorway to overtake,” added Paul.
“It’s also easy for a driver to under-estimate how fast a motorbike may be travelling.
“Bikers are obviously very vulnerable because they don’t have the same protection, so it’s little wonder that motorcycle accidents tend to be far more serious with greater consequences.
“The message is clear, drivers need to take a second look for bikers because I don’t think anyone would want the death or serious injury of a biker on their conscience, and bikers, need to be sensible. There are no unsafe roads out there – only poor road-users and bad decisions.”
Accidents involving motorcycles of 500cc and over tend to peak in March/April and continue that way until September/October.
Strategic Road Policing Inspector Wendy Tinkler, of Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “The vulnerability of motorcyclists to injury or death on the road continues to be significantly higher than other road users and they are many times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than a car driver.
“Most collisions are preventable and Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit fully support any campaign that will encourage our road users to be more aware and look out for each other.”
Northumbria Police Motor Patrols’ Chief Inspector, John Heckels, said: "We take the safety of bikers very seriously as we know only too well that bikers are particularly vulnerable on our roads and it's so important that they ride safely and defensively. This is why we continue to remind bikers of the dangers on our roads and support this road safety initiative.
"Operation Dragoon is an ongoing Northumbria Police operation which targets dangerous drivers and aims to help educate the people of the North East about how to stay safe on our roads and look after the most vulnerable road users."
For more information about RSGB-NE and the campaign go to http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/regions/r3.html
For digital campaign resources, please see the "Campaigns" section of this website, or click here.