Zero Deaths after Bike Campaign

The stark motorcycle crash image

A safer motorcycling campaign has successfully reduced fatalities on Shropshire roads from ten to zero, say organisers.

Bridgnorth Community Safety Partnership which includes fire, council, police and the Safer Roads Partnership launched the education drive earlier this year to combat last year's "shocking" statistics of five motoryclists dead and 16 seriously injured on the worst roads in and around Bridgnorth.

A stark campaign poster showing a motorbike crash on a straight stretch of road with the caption: "Will we see you again?" was displayed on Shropshire Fire and Rescue's Community Outreach Vehicle which tours the county to educate the public about road and fire safety.

The motorbike used in the poster was displayed with the permission of a widow whose husband was riding the bike on the day he died in an accident near Bridgnorth.

Partnership members attended nationally known biker meetings at Swancote Country Club on the A454 and at Allens Café on the A442 in a bid to talk to motorcyclists and find a way to reduce casualties.

Fire Officer Jim Quinn talks to bikers at Swancote

"We were all so concerned about the high number of deaths and injuries on our roads that we had to do something positive. This campaign targeted motorcyclists who now look out for us. A friendship has developed and we look forward to continuing our message in the New Year.

"It is an excellent example of partnership working which has brought down road deaths and casualties," said Partnership Chairman Councillor John Hurst-Knight.

There has also been a marked reduction in the number of collisions causing serious and slight injuries.

The campaign involved police enforcement action, education and "engineering" of collision hotspots, said Sergeant Bob Matthews.

Complaints from concerned residents about loud exhaust noise from motorcyclists riding at speed past their homes have also been considerably reduced with bikers co-operating and supporting the campaign, he said.

The bike crash image has been displayed on buses in Essex with Bridgnorth partnership members working with their counterparts as part of road safety campaigns. Best practice has also been shared with motorcycle training providers in Ireland.

The Shropshire poster message is used on the back of Essex buses with the help of Shropshire Retained Support Officer Dave Jennings (right), Bridgnorth District Council Community Safety Manager Tracy Johnson and West Mercia Constable Matt Picken.(left)

Fire officer Jim Quinn, chairman of the task group which co-ordinated the campaign, said: "Our roads safety messages are getting through to motorcyclists in Shropshire and in other areas across the UK and Ireland. Our success is down to all the organisations involved in the partnership and we plan to continue with plans for a new campaign at the start of the 2009 motorcycle season."

Tim Porter, Acting Group Station Manager of West Midlands Ambulance Service, said the campaign had resulted in reducing the pain and suffering of all those involved in a road death or injury as well as freeing up emergency resources.

4th January, 2009