Biker safety warning ahead of holiday weekend

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

Motor bike riders are still at risk on roads in South Tyneside - despite the number of bikers injured seeing a marked decrease in the last five years.

Easter will see more and more bikers 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 were killed or injured in the region - with 780 being seriously injured and 52 killed.

In South Tyneside seven bikers killed between 2012 and 2016 and 161 suffered serious injuries.

The road safety group and police across the region 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.

He said: “While motorbikes account for less than 1% of total miles travelled in the North East, motorcyclists account for 19% of people seriously injured or killed on the roads.

“We are delighted 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.

“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.

“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.”

Inspector Dean Hood, of Northumbria Police Motor Patrols, said: “Motorcyclists can take some sensible precautions to help avoid being seriously injured such as wearing appropriate safety clothing, ensuring they have the skill to use 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.”