BIKERS who use the roads in and around Helmsley like a ‘speedway’ are forcing people to leave the town at weekends according to residents.

The market town has been a popular destination for motorcyclists for a number of years.

However, those living in the area are becoming increasingly concerned over the noise and safety issues the motorcyclists’ visits bring.

Jeanette Blackburn, who lives just outside the town, said her family had moved to the area eight years ago for the peace and quiet, but over the years the noise from the bikes had got worse and worse.

“It starts at 6am or 7am every Saturday and Sunday and the speed and noise is ridiculous — it is impossible for anyone to go for a walk or sit in their garden,” she said.

“They treat the roads like a speedway, often doing wheelies on the road down from Kirkbymoorside.

“Nearly everyone you speak to thinks they are nothing but a pest.”

Mrs Blackburn said there was also the issue of a lack of speed cameras and the increasing number of accidents involving motorbikes.

“These are grown men, who are not from our area, and love nothing more than speed and noise,” she said.

“We are plagued with bikers in this area and they take precedence over other people who visit the town and those of us who live here.”

Coun Chris Parkin, chairman of Helmsley Town Council, said the area had been a popular destination for bikers for a number of years.

“This is not the first time I have heard of people leaving Helmsley at weekends due to the noise and I feel sorry for people particularly living near the north end who have to put up with the most noise as they roar in and out of town,” he said.

“We have a facility which is open to visitors and which we like to share when we can but it is difficult when one visitor group uses the facilities to the exclusivity of others, which does happen some weekends.”

However, Chris Garnett, chairman of Helmsley in Business, said he felt the bikers were welcomed to the town.

“Bikers have a long association with Helmsley and use it as a meeting point,” he said.

“I believe most businesses welcome them and see them as a colourful addition to the town’s atmosphere.

“I am not aware of locals leaving the town at weekends because of the bikers apart from some during the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG weekend held in June.”