Campaign to cut biker death toll

PUBLISHED: 13:29 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 13:27 04 May 2010

A NEW initiative to protect motorcyclists and reduce the rising death toll on East Cambridgeshire roads was launched on Tuesday. New roadside warning signs were placed at accident blackspots on the A1421 road between Witcham Toll and Haddenham and the A14

A NEW initiative to protect motorcyclists and reduce the rising death toll on East Cambridgeshire roads was launched on Tuesday.

New roadside warning signs were placed at accident blackspots on the A1421 road between Witcham Toll and Haddenham and the A142 road between Soham and Stuntney.

The signs, placed on other roads throughout the county, are being aimed at both bikers and motorists and are in areas where motorcyclists have been killed or injured.

Since 2001, there has been a 17 per cent rise in the number of motorcyclists killed or injured on the county's roads - from 257 to 301 riders. Fatalities have more than doubled in the same time.

Cambridgeshire County Council's road safety team will be using innovative roadside signs, trialled in Norfolk last year, on nine stretches of Cambridgeshire's roads, where motorcyclists have crashed in the last few years.

Many of these crashes involved overtaking, often near junctions; and cornering, mainly on left hand bends. Riding too fast for the road was also often a factor.

Three styles of signs are being used. The message "Think Bike" is being used at road junctions to encourage drivers to watch out for motorcyclists. "Crash site!" signs are being placed near bends and "Overtaking?" signs are going up on the straights.

In 2005, motorcyclists, who represent less than two per cent of the road-user population in Cambridgeshire, accounted for 18 per cent of all road-user fatalities and 23 per cent of serious injuries. In 2005, 10 motorcyclists were killed and 95 were seriously injured on Cambridgeshire's roads.

Steve Merrett, Cambridgeshire Road Safety Officer and keen motorcyclist, said: "Sadly crashes involving motorbikes are all too common on our roads. We hope that by giving drivers and riders simple messages with these posters we can prevent the tragedies faced by families, when loved ones are killed and injured on the county's roads. We know from Norfolk's trial of these signs last year that drivers and riders have taken notice of them. It is vital that all drivers and riders get this message. This unnecessary toll of deaths and injuries can, and must be stemmed.

"Motorcycling is a practical and fun form of transport. By encouraging drivers and riders to look out for each other as well as for themselves, we hope that the deaths and injuries amongst motorcyclists during the last few years will not be repeated in 2006.

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