With the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer, bikers all over Cheshire are getting in gear to hit the open roads again.
For many motorcyclists the onset of spring signals the start of another year of two-wheeled delight and has them eagerly dusting off their leathers following the frosty frustrations of winter.
But Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service are urging them to make sure they are up to speed on safety advice before returning to revving up their bikes on Cheshire’s roads.
Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable of all road users and riders’ skills can fade considerably after a few months off their bikes.
Colin Heyes, Road Safety Manager at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Once spring starts there are always a lot more motorcyclists out on the roads.
“We want them to enjoy riding their bikes but we also want them to be safe. We hope that by educating and informing people about possible dangers, and the ways they can improve their riding skills, we can help them to reduce the likelihood of becoming another biker casualty on our roads.”
Motorcyclists represent around just one per cent of road users but between 2014 and 2017 nearly 1,000 of them (962) were injured on our roads in Cheshire, with 36 per cent of them being killed or seriously injured.
Over the past three years motorcycle casualties have accounted for 24.7 per cent of all road fatalities in the county.
Cheshire Police Inspector Steve Griffiths said: “Motorcyclists are far more vulnerable than car, van and lorry drivers and the number of fatal collisions involving motorcyclists in recent years highlights this fact.
“We are urging all motorcyclists to take extra care while out on the roads and to take responsibility for their own safety.”
Riders are urged to follow this simple advice:
- Ensure your bike is safe to ride
- Make sure you have the correct protective clothing for riding – a long sleeved jacket, long trousers, full finger gloves, a helmet with a high protection rating and good footwear
- Riders should ideally wear fluorescent clothing to make them as visible as possible.
- Ride defensively, like you expect the unexpected
- Take a lifesaver glance, a last look around before you manoeuvre
- Anticipate potential hazards, positioning yourself in the best place to maximise visibility of potential hazards.
- Always think ahead with time to react
- Be aware of other road users and get in the right position on the road to anticipate hazards and take action.
Stay in control
- Ride at a speed that will allow you to slow down and stop in good time, whatever the road condition
- Be careful on bends and don’t overtake if you can’t see the road ahead
- Don’t do anything outside your own capabilities or take unnecessary risks.
With riding skills often rusty after a winter break, it is important for motorcyclists to ease themselves back into their preferred mode of travel.
Riders can re-hone their skills by taking part in post-test training at one of the various accredited courses available, such as the ones run by IAM RoadSmart, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and commercial training providers.
They are likely to find that IAM courses within Cheshire can be provided at a discounted rate.
Post-test rider training is proven to reduce the risk of bikers becoming involved in a crash and can often reduce insurance costs as well.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service organises Biker Down courses. The free training is run by bikers, for bikers and offers the chance to learn practical skills to lessen the chances of being involved in a crash.
The courses also provide essential first-aid training and advice on what to do if you are the first on the scene of a crash where someone is injured.
The next Biker Down courses are taking place at Safety Central in Lymm on:
- Sunday 15 April, from noon to 4pm
- Sunday 20 May, from noon to 4pm
- Sunday 1 July, from noon to 4pm
- Sunday 30 September, from noon to 4pm
- Sunday 28 October, from noon to 4pm
- Sunday 25 November, from noon to 4pm
- Sunday 16 December, from noon to 4pm
Places are limited and can be booked by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Biker Down visit www.cheshirefire.gov.uk/public-safety/road-safety/biker-down or go online at https://youtu.be/EC_ouDI_2Mg.