THE EASTER WEEKEND has long been a time for motorcycle enthusiasts to take to the country roads – but all too often that can lead to tragedy.
Now police in the north east are reminding motorcyclists and all motorists to be aware, be safe and not to take risks – and to underline the point officers throughout the region are promoting safety awareness and enforcing legislation in respect of motoring offences.
Roads Policing inspector Joe Barron said: “Although a national initiative, Operation Zenith fully embraces our local focus – Operation CEDAR (Challenge, Educate, Detect and Reduce). Zenith began in the North-East and has now been rolled out elsewhere.
“My plea to bikers is to ride responsibly and concentrate fully. You must be aware of your surroundings and not take risks. I don’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of their hobby, but I have to urge caution.
“Police Scotland, along with road safety partners, are aiming to reduce the number of road deaths and make Scotland’s roads safer so I must ask – don’t risk it, reduce your speed and obey the rules of the road.
“Casualty figures show that whilst motorbikes only represent 1% of all road traffic they account for 13% of fatalities. More than 85% of all motorcycle casualties happen in rural areas, in good weather, during the day and in the ‘biking season’ which generally runs from April to September.
“Please let this year be different. By all means, go for a ride on your vehicles and enjoy our roads and wonderful countryside but please do so carefully so that you, and everyone else, can get home safely.”
Inspector Barron outlined the most common types of accidents involving motorcyclists – including their failure to negotiate bends on A-roads, collisions at junctions or while overtaking and riders losing control when no other vehicles are involved.
He added: “Other motorists must also please play their part and look out for bikers – these collisions are not always the fault of the riders. Collisions regularly occur due to other motorists failing to see or failing to react to the presence of the motorcycle. It is vitally important, particularly at junctions and when overtaking, that you all ‘think bike’.
“I would also like to remind motorcyclists that, when not in use, they should ensure that they take all possible steps to properly secure their vehicles; whether on-street, off-road or in a garage or shed.
“Bikes can be extremely attractive to those in our communities who will willingly help themselves to others’ property.”