Bikers urged to stay safe on Norfolk roads

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A SHARP rise in the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured in Norfolk since the beginning of January has prompted new steps from Norfolk County Council and police to help riders stay safe on the county’s roads.

From the beginning of January to mid-March, two motorcyclists died in crashes (0 for the same period last year), 21 were seriously injured (10) and 33 suffered slight injuries (45).

This follows on from a steep increase last year (2011) in slight injury crashes- up from 174 in 2010 to 213- although the number of riders killed or seriously injured remained roughly static.

“There are fine margins in whether a motorcyclist escapes from an accident relatively lightly, or is seriously injured or killed,” said Andy Micklethwaite Norfolk County Council’s Road Safety Officer for Motorcycles.

“There was always the risk that a strong rise in slight injury crashes would lead to more serious injuries or fatalities- although some of the difference may be explained by the severe pre-Christmas weather which kept bikes off the road in 2010, wherease they continued to be ridden in 2011.”

The council, with the support of the police, is:

• Providing new, free motor cycle skill downloads, to encourage motorcyclists to improve their riding. The ‘Hugger Rider Skills Downloads’ are availble on www.think.norfolk.gov.uk

• Relaunching the ‘Think Bike’ campaign across Norfolk to remind other motorists to be especially aware of those travelling on two wheels.

Alec Byrne, Chairman of Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership, said: “Motorcyclists feature far too often in our accident statistics, and the start of this year has taken its toll with two deaths and 21 serious injuries. What is frustrating is knowing that the range of training on offer could very well reduce this toll. We hope that these free downloads will encourage motorcyclists to take the next step and join one of these courses, honing their roadcraft and control skills with the help of the experts.”

Andy Micklethwaite said “The downloads, aimed at full licence holders, cover established skills and techniques formulated by the police in their Roadcraft manual and are used extensively by the IAM and ROSPA. This information is too valuable not to be readily available in a format people can easily access.

“What we have tried to do is distill it into a more easily digestible format using plenty of drawings, photos and embedded video. It is not intended to replace training but to draw people into the idea of training, and we have plenty of options for them.

“The downloads are interactive and fun, and if used as pre-read for Norfolk Constabulary’s Safe Rider courses only one classroom session is needed before moving on to the road.”

Motorcycle training opportunities

Bookings are taking place now for the 15th season of Safe Rider, still only costing £30.

The County Council also runs a 90 minute 1:1 Hugger’s Challenge assessment, subsidised to cost just £20.

The third option is the i2i Machine Control course which is run at an airfield twice a year by the i2i Motorcycle Academy.

Details of all the courses can be found on www.think.norfolk.gov.uk or call Andy Micklethwaite on 01603 638115 or email: roadsafety@norfolk.gov.uk.