Police launch new crackdown on 'hooligan' motorcyclists.

NO VALUE can be placed on human life - but road safety chiefs have revealed that the material cost of each fatal motorcycle accident in North Yorkshire is a staggering £1.5 million.

The figure was revealed as North Yorkshire Police announced a new campaign to crack down on hooligan bikers.

Every fatal motorcycle accident in the county costs the authorities £1.5 million in investigation, insurance, emergency service and medical bills.

It means the total cost of the deaths of 17 riders and pillion passengers last year, 11 fewer than the previous year, could have exceeded £25 million.

Road safety expert David Lindsay said: "Although this figure is shocking, at the end of the day, it is impossible to put a cost on someone's life, and that is why this campaign is so important."

Police chiefs have pledged to get even tougher on irresponsible road users who put their lives and those of others at risk.

Last year, rider and pillion passenger deaths on the county's 6,000 miles of roads were cut from 28 to 17 and serious injuries showed a similar decrease.

But Assistant Chief Constable David Collins said officers want to do better, and he has spelt out a series of measures that will take place during the coming motorcycling season.

He said: "My message to this minority of riders is this: 'If you behave badly in North Yorkshire, we will catch you.'

"And after we have caught you, bad things will happen to you - the options include fines, imprisonment, points on your licence and riding bans."

He was joined by Mr Lindsay, of North Yorkshire County Council, who said: "Our message is more than important. It is literally a matter of life and death."

Last year, 372 drivers and 48 riders were fast-tracked through the courts under the police campaign. In total, 91 lost their licences, for periods of up to six months.

This year's motorcycle casualty reduction campaign will feature:

Extra high-profile patrols and speed enforcement operations on "dangerous" roads and those popular with antisocial bikers

Special action days of operations for large motorcycle events including race meetings at Croft and Scarborough

More Bike Safe education work with officers sharing their experience and specialist knowledge with riders

Speed traps and Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras which automatically read number plates and check them against police and motorist databases.

Mr Collins said: "We welcome motorcyclists to North Yorkshire. We enjoy the colour and spirit of fellowship they bring and, as hard-headed Yorkshire folk, we welcome the money they spend.

"But we do not welcome riders whose skill is not up the performance of their machines."

Updated: 10:26 Saturday, March 26, 2005