On yer Bike!

One of the 'On yer Bike' campaign adverts

Press release by Safer Roads Partnership

The Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia is today launching a new campaign, aimed at motorcycle riders, to help reduce casualties and deaths on the region's roads.

Motorcycles last year represented 1% of road traffic but accounted for 18% of all fatalities nationally. Over the past three years in Shropshire and Telford there have been 28 fatalities and 542 casualties following collisions involving motorcycles, which represents 28% of all roads deaths in Shropshire and Telford.

The campaign is aiming to target both motorcyclists and car drivers with the aim of increasing general awareness and offering additional training. Roadside posters are being erected along key motorcycle routes throughout Shropshire and neighbouring counties, highlighting routes where both motorcyclists and drivers need to take more care and be more aware. Within Shropshire and Telford this activity will be targeted along the A442, A458 and A454 at Bridgnorth, the A442 from Telford to Whitchurch and the A41 from Albrighton to Whitchurch.

As part of the campaign the Safer Roads Partnership will also be offering free of charge 'RideCheck' rider assessment sessions through the Institute of Advanced Motorists to motorcyclists living within West Mercia. RideCheck is a short assessment aimed at everyone who is interested in safer motorbike riding, which takes about an hour and is run by a local IAM group. RideCheck candidates also become an Associate of the IAM, for a period of 12 months which entitles members to regular newsletters, magazines and other offers.

Advertising on bus backs and within local petrol stations will also be running through the rest of March and April.

Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager for the Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia said:

"Shropshire has some excellent biking roads and as such attracts many riders to the area, particularly at weekends and when the weather is good. This campaign is aiming to make motorcyclists and car users more aware of the risks that are present when they are out on the county's roads and to also increase the level of training on offer to motorcyclists within Shropshire.

Sgt John Roberts, West Mercia Constabulary said:

"Rural areas like West Mercia attract large numbers of leisure motorcyclists using powerful bikes and the majority of collisions involving motorcyclists occur on the fast A and B roads across the area. Many of these type of motorcycle collisions are caused by the riders' lack of skill combined with riding at excessive and inappropriate speeds for the road and conditions.

Encouraging people to ride safely is an important part of the Constabulary's 'Seven Deadly Sins' road safety strategy and we welcome the IAM initiative which will seek to improve rider's skills and awareness and encourage them to take further training to reduce the risks of collisions.

In addition, there also remains a minority of reckless motorcyclists who continue to endanger their own and other's lives by riding in an anti-social and inappropriate manner on our roads. We will be using marked and unmarked cars and motorcycles to target this behaviour and bring prosecutions where necessary as well as focusing on drivers of other vehicles who cause danger for motorcyclists."

Ashley Brown, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service said:

"Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service are happy to be taking part in the Safer Roads Partnership motorcycle campaign, in a bid to reduce the number of motorbike road traffic collisions this year. We are committed to helping to reduce the amount of motorcyclists killed on Shropshire's roads and welcome this opportunity to educate riders of the importance of ensuring they have all the essential training they need and of the potential dangers that they face when out on their bikes. We will be attending various events through the spring and summer months to help support the campaign and to bring the messages to as many bikers as possible".

Steve Chadwick, Senior Road Safety Officer for Shropshire County Council said;

"We are delighted to support this important campaign which advices both Motorcyclists and drivers to be more aware of each other when out on the roads, and for bikers to get the right training. We would like remind bikers to:

Anticipate the action of motorists

Be alert and observant. Important when you are negotiating junctions or roundabouts; and when you need to look out for other vulnerable road users – children, pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

Ride at a speed that will enable you to slow down and stop in good time. The unexpected can happen. Also ride according to the conditions: slow down if it's wet, foggy or icy (is your journey absolutely necessary).

Position yourself in the best place. For defensive riding, consider your road position, so to give you maximum field of vision, and allowing others to see you, especially when turning right or left, showing others what you aim to do.

Overtake safely. Can you see hazards? Is there a bend or a junction? Can you overtake without speeding up or swerving too much?

Take a 'lifesaver' glance over your shoulder before carrying out manoeuvres when you need to know where other drivers are and what are they doing.

Are you seen? Dipped headlights, even in good daylight, can help you to be seen. Also wear fluorescent clothing during the day and reflective at night."

The Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia is operated by an independent team of specialist staff and is not Police led. The participating agencies are: the four local highway authorities of the Borough of Telford & Wrekin, Herefordshire Council, Shropshire County Council, Worcestershire County Council, the Highways Agency, the 4 NHS PCTs in West Mercia, West Mercia Constabulary, The Magistrates' Courts Service in West Mercia, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, and Herefordshire & Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service.

23rd April, 2008