AN increase in motorcycling on the scenic roads of North Yorkshire has been accompanied by a huge leap in the number of bikers killed in the county.
Last year saw a 30 per cent increase in motorcycling on the county’s roads - but the number of bikers killed in crashes trebled.
A major new campaign has now been launched in an effort to prevent the death toll rising even further.
Tim Madgwick, Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire, said: “Sadly, 2013 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons by many families. We are determined to try and make motorcycling safer, I will work with all our partners to achieve this objective.”
In 2012 there were five biker deaths but last year the figure rose to 15. The figures show that those bikers most likely to be involved in a collision are men aged between 40 and 59, who ride sports motorbikes over 500cc.
The county’s 95 Alive Road Safety Partnership is now planning to hold a series of events and initiatives across the county.
“Think Bike” posters and information boards will raise awareness of potentially demanding sections of road where bikers have crashed in recent years – and remind drivers to check their mirrors.
A new biker’s guide to the county has been produced that highlights where and how crashes have happened, gives advice and information about improving rider’s skills and some useful facts about choosing helmets and other gear. And throughout the spring and summer months the 95 Alive team will attend various venues and events popular with motorcyclists.
Figures show that 70 per cent of collisions involving motorcyclists on the county’s roads were caused by the biker making a mistake, rather than car drivers or other factors.
Many were the result of poor overtaking, taking the wrong line through bends or late and harsh braking.
“There are many positive reasons why people choose to ride motorcycles and as a police service we will seek to educate and inform riders and encourage responsible use,” said Mr Madgwick.
“The consequences of riders or other motorists making errors of judgement are clearly taking a devastating toll, so we will take every opportunity to work with all road users to improve safety.”
Police say one in three accidents involving motorcyclists happened when the biker was on a bend and one in four happened during late braking.
The worst five accident blackspots for motorcyclists in North Yorkshire are the A59 between Harrogate and Skipton, the A64 between Tadcaster and Scarborough, the A65 near Settle, the A170 between Thirsk and Scarborough and the A171 between Scarborough and Whitby, and on to Roxby High Moor.
Last Sunday, three motorcyclists were taken to hospital after a crash on the B1222 near Squires Cafe Bar near Sherburn in Elmet. The accident also involved a car. All three riders were taken to Leeds General Infirmary.