Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable urges motorcyclists to support new campaign
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Traditionally seen as the last hurrah of the summer, hundreds of motorcyclists are expected to hit the open road over the August bank holiday for one more ride-out of the year.
Joining them on two wheels will be police officers from across England who will be taking the opportunity to speak about a new campaign aimed at reducing the risk and improving the experience of riding for all motorcyclists.
Over the three days (August 26-28), police motorcyclists will be travelling along many popular routes and stopping at meeting spots for bikers and speaking to them to find out what police forces and other road users can do to help keep them safe on the roads.
Officers will also take the opportunity to encourage bikers to know their riding limits when it comes to picking their machines, as well as promoting the national BikeSafe courses which run across the country and provide additional training and refresher courses.
In Northamptonshire, both marked and unmarked police motorcyclists will be patrolling the county, speaking to riders about their riding behaviour and asking them to complete a quick questionnaire about how this may change in the presence of a marked police vehicle.
While in the north of the country, an operation will be led by North Yorkshire Police with the support of policing colleagues from West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Durham.
Like the operation it ran over the Spring Bank Holiday, North Yorkshire Police will be deploying several police bikes and cars, some of which will be unmarked, as well as its safety camera vans on key routes across the county.
Motorcyclists represent almost a quarter of fatal or serious injury collisions in the UK, despite making up three per cent of vehicles on the roads, showing just how risky motorcycling can be.
Tragically in 2021, after being involved in a road collision in the UK, 310 motorcyclists never returned home safely to their loved ones, 5,264 required urgent assistance for life-changing and serious injuries and 10,264 sustained slight injuries.
As a keen motorcyclist himself and the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for motorcycling and BikeSafe, Northamptonshire Chief Constable Nick Adderley will spearhead the campaign over the next two years.
Mr Adderley said: “This bank holiday weekend is traditionally the last one for motorcycling and as a keen biker myself, I know that many fellow enthusiasts will be taking the opportunity to get out and about across the country on a ride-out.
“Sadly, motorcyclists continue to be one of the most vulnerable road users and are more likely to be killed or seriously injured on the roads. As the national lead for motorcycling, it remains my priority to reduce the risk and improve the ride for bikers on our roads.
“We all have a responsibility to use our roads legally and responsibly to ensure everyone gets home safely to their loved ones, and I would encourage those who will be out on the roads over the bank holiday weekend to help us, help them by supporting our campaign.
“One way to do this is through education and reinforcing the message on the importance of being considerate and courteous, particularly taking extra care around more vulnerable road users.
“Engagement is also key for us to understand riders’ behaviour when it comes to riding on our roads and I would like to encourage fellow motorcyclists of all ages and riding ability, to help us by completing our questionnaire, so we can work together to improve road safety.”
As part of the campaign, officers will also be raising awareness and providing information on different aspects of motorcycling to help reduce the risk for riders and improve ride safety. These include:
• Gear up – the right riding gear is not jeans and trainers! The right protective clothing can reduce the risk of injury if you are in a collision. Buy clothing that suits your ride. You might need protection for your elbows, knees, back, chest and shoulders. Riders should wear boots to protect their ankles and gloves to protect hands
• Comfort zone – know your limits and ride in your comfort zone and with a suitable bike you can manage. If you are riding with others, do not push yourself to keep up
• Bike inspection – take part i skill test refresher courses and make sure your motorcycle is maintained and road legal
• Use your head – while mirrors are important, you also need to be aware of your surroundings and use your head. Always keep your head and eyes up especially when rounding corners. The safest way to change lanes is to turn and look over your shoulder to make sure you are clear
• Know the weather – The dangers of wet or icy roads multiply when you are on a motorbike. Stability is significantly reduced with greater exposure to the body of the elements and increases the risk of a collision.