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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Police urge bikers to stay safe this weekend

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The Chief Constable of North Wales has been out on patrol on the region’s roads urging motorcyclists to stay safe.

Mark Polin (pictured) was out on a police motorbike as part of the force’s ongoing campaign to reduce deaths and serious injuries on the roads of North Wales.

Operation Darwen, a force-wide campaign which runs from Easter through until early autumn, will continue over the forthcoming bank holiday weekend, whereby officers will target accident hotspots and crackdown on the Fatal 5 offences – which includes dangerous driving and speeding.

So far during 2016 (1st January – August 17th) there have been 47 KSI (killed seriously injured) collisions involving all motorists on the roads of North Wales compared to 51 during the whole of 2015. So far this year four motorcyclists have been killed compared to two during the same period in 2015.

Some of the high speeds involving motorcyclists recorded by officers from the Roads Policing Unit include 109mph on the A5 at Dinmael in Corwen, and a 105mph on the A470 at Maenan, Llanrwst. Both face a court appearance.

The campaign also sees officers from GoSafe, the all Wales casualty reduction partnership being deployed on routes looking at all motorists.  Some of the highest speeds recorded by GoSafe being 104 and 109mph.  During May alone 60 NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) letters were sent out to motorcyclists.

The Chief Constable said: “As a passionate biker myself I am proud to offer my full backing for Operation Darwen.

"We are committed to keeping people safe on the roads and our message is clear - we want people to enjoy the freedom of the road but to do so safely and responsibly. Anyone who chooses to ignore the safety message will be dealt with robustly.

“All too often police and our partners in the other emergency services are called to serious and fatal road traffic collisions across North Wales. Staying safe on the road applies to every single one of us, whether we have two or four wheels on our vehicle. I would urge riders and drivers to think about their behaviour and what changes they could make to improve their own safety and that of other road users. Positive action will be taken against those who flout the law.”

The priority routes that police patrol include the A494 between Dolgellau and Bala, the A525 from Ruthin to Bwlchgwyn, the A525/A539 Ruabon, Overton and Redbrook, the A5 between Betws-y-Coed and Corwen, the A543 between Denbigh and Pentrefoelas and the A5104/A494 Bryneglwys to Corwen. The route known as the ‘EVO Traingle’ is also patrolled which incorporates the A483, A5 and the B4501.

Over a five year period between 2011 and 2015, 118 motorcyclists have been killed on the priority routes.

Chief Inspector Darren Wareing from the Force’s Roads Policing Unit said: “August bank holiday is traditionally one of the busiest times for motorcyclists.

“We have done a lot of analytical work over the years – this isn’t about us simply targeting bikers for the sake of it. Statistics are telling us that those who are involved in collisions are men aged in their 40’s and 50’s – sometimes a little bit older, who come off their bike on either a weekend or on a Wednesday between midday and 5pm. Their fatigue then gets the better of them on a right-hand or left-hand bend.

“Whilst the vast majority of motorists drive or ride appropriately, some choose to use the roads as a racetrack, committing serious breaches of road safety legislation, such as speeding and driving or riding dangerously thereby putting themselves and other road users at risk of death or life changing injury.”

He added: “Our message is two-fold – we are simply asking bikers to enjoy our beautiful region safely and abide by the law. And secondly we are urging other road users to be mindful of the possible increase of bikes on the roads this weekend, be aware of their vulnerability and take extra care to look out for them.”

Bikers are also being urged to ensure they are wearing the correct protective equipment when riding, even during the warm weather. Tyres should always be checked as worn or under inflated tyres haven previously been a common theme during collisions.

Chief Inspector Wareing added: “Motorists should be mindful that we will use all available tactics to us – and that includes unmarked vehicles. Over recent months we have also caught other road users driving at inappropriate speeds and these are all being dealt with accordingly.

“So far this year we’ve had four fatal collisions involving motorcycles therefore we are urging all road users to stay safe on the roads and take extra care.

“Reducing casualties remains one of our top priorities and Operation Darwen is one of the many campaigns and initiatives that we run throughout the year targeting high-risk road users. It is not about alienating the motorcycling community – it is about education and enforcement.

“We will continue to target, with a view to prosecution, all those that ride or drive dangerously, at excess speed, overtake on solid white lines or commit any other road traffic offences. Please heed the warning.”

Throughout the campaign BikeSafe representatives have been out speaking to riders at various events and locations across the region promoting the *free workshops.  To book a space on a workshop please visit their website via www.bikesafe.co.uk

Social media users can follow the campaign via the #OpDarwen and #RideSafely hashtags.
Note: *Bikesafe workshops are subject to a booking fee.

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