Lincolnshire Talks: What’s the answer to reducing the county’s motorcycle carnage?

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Some 72 motorcycle riders lost their lives or suffered life-changing injuries on Lincolnshire’s roads in the last year and made up more than a quarter of fatal crashes since January.

As the total 2016 road death toll hits 50, police and campaigners in the county are calling for action and exploring the reasons serious crashes in the county are on the rise.

The last year has seen record carnage on Lincolnshire’s roads, with the number of people killed or seriously injured between October 1 2015 and September 30 2016 reaching 369.

Just looking at the year 2016 to date, there have been 14 fatal motorcycle casualties, seven of whom were aged between 17 and 24 years of age.

While bikers make up just 1% of traffic on roads in the county, they account for 30% of all fatal collisions in 2016. In addition, the majority involved high powered vehicles (over 500cc).

Motorcycles made up more than a quarter of the fatal crashed in Lincolnshire in the year 2016 to date.

Motorcycles made up more than a quarter of the fatal crashed in Lincolnshire in the year 2016 to date.

The latest annual report on serious road accidents in the county will be presented to the Lincolnshire County Council Community and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, November 2.

The report notes that serious crashes involving high powered and low-powered motorcycles and scooters occurred mostly in rural areas of the county where bikers negotiate narrow, winding highways.

The districts of West and East Lindsey together made up almost 50% of locations where a motorcyclist has been killed or seriously injured.

In September alone, two bikers lost their lives in horrific road crashes. 63-year-old Nigel Usher from Farndon in Newark was sadly killed in a collision involving another bike and a car on Ingham Road in Stow.

Following this, 66-year-old Keith Wilson from Chesterfield was killed on the A158 in Hagworthingham .

What’s causing crashes?

According to latest figures the majority of collisions happened in fine weather without high winds and during daylight hours. So what are the main contributory factors in recorded serious motorcycle crashes?

The Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership figures show the most common reason for fatal crashes was a poor turn or manoeuvre, followed by exceeding the speed limit, loss of control and failure to look and judge other driver’s speeds.

John Siddle, spokesperson for the partnership, which was set up to reduce the number of people killed and injured on Lincolnshire roads, explained there has been an increase in motorcycle ownership.

He also suggested part of the solution is better education for riders about the dangers faced, even after the most fundamental errors.

John Siddle said: “We are very focussed on motorcyclists and have worked in all areas of their riding habits, visiting bike nights and shows, providing further training through BikeSafe and Performance Plus.

“We have identified 12 biker routes (regularly used) through the county, erected street furniture that is biker friendly – plastic chevrons instead of metal ones.

“We know there has been an increase in motorcycle ownership despite (but maybe because) of the recession but we also know that rider skills factor highly in our collision causation factors.

“We want to educate riders to make them more aware of their vulnerability but also make them more aware of how collisions occur and what fundamental errors previous riders have made and ensure they possess the skills to avoid such collisions.

“It is not often the power of the motorcycle that is the issue, it is more often the rider skills or lack of skill that becomes the issue.

“What’s the solution? Rider and driver awareness, further training for riders – the basic riding test only qualifies them to ride a motorcycle, good riding skills come from training and practice.”

The Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership provides a number of training courses, education and information including a Performance Plus Course, RIDE Motorcycle course, BikeSafe assessments with Lincolnshire Police and the Lincolnshire Biker magazine.

The partnership is currently running a survey to determine the public perception of road safety in the county. 

“Slow down”

Mike Bristow, spokesperson for Brake, the road safety charity said: “In the UK motorcycles make up about 1% of all traffic but suffer about 18% of deaths and serious injuries, most frequently in collisions with cars or in crashes where no other vehicle was involved.

“There are simple steps that drivers of motorbikes and cars can take to prevent tragic collisions.

“All road users need to stay well within the speed limit, and slow down for bends, and other road conditions such as bad weather. People driving a motorbike or a car can also help to protect other road users, by slowing down to 20mph in urban areas.”

Do you have a view on how both motorcycle and other road vehicle crashes can be prevented in Lincolnshire? Leave your views in the comment section below or contact [email protected]

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