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North Wales Police say ‘biker errors the main cause of death’

MOST motorcycle fatalities that occur on North Wales roads are down to biker driving errors, police say.

Speaking at a North Wales Police and Crime Panel at Conwy’s Bodlondeb HQ, a sergeant presented facts and figures as part of a road safety campaign.

But while statistics showed the number of road traffic collisions had dropped when compared to the previous year, there had been a small increase in motorcycle deaths.

Whilst the 57 motorcycle road traffic collisions (RTCs) represented a reduction of 9.9% from the previous year, the number of motorbike deaths had increased by one – or 16.7%.

In the past year, North Wales Police said there had been 19 fatalities of all types on North Wales roads, a reduction of 32.1%.

The statistics also showed 26 pedestrians who had either been killed or seriously injured – a reduction of 36.6%.

All in all, there had been 169 serious injuries in RTCs, a reduction of 24.5%.

The stats also showed 17 pedal cycle collisions which also represented a reduction of 39.2%.

North Wales Police Sgt Liam Ho from the newly formed roads crime unit gave the presentation and said road safety had improved.

Sgt Ho put lower statistics down to Operation Darwin, a road safety campaign designed to also make drivers aware of the risks faced by motorcyclists.

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Sgt Ho said every statistic represented a personal tragedy or family who had experienced loss or a life-changing injury.

“We’ve seen a reduction in all areas this year in comparison to last year, ” he said.

“What we have seen an increase in is fatal road traffic collisions involving motorcyclists, of which there has been an increase of one.

“We spent a lot of time with operation Darwin raising awareness of the risks involving motorcyclists, and that’s not just involved with speaking to the motorcyclists themselves but other road users, making sure they are aware of the vulnerabilities that motorcyclists face.

“Of the seven (fatal) collisions we’ve had this year, six haven’t involved another vehicle, and the one that has – it is not thought that is going to lead to a prosecution or any blame on the other vehicle (driver).”

He added: “The reason we focus on motorcyclists is, despite they only represent one percent of the road traffic in North Wales, they are proportionate to 37% of fatalities, so they are disproportionately affected when it comes to those fatals and seriously injured.”

Conwy councillor Louise Emery then asked why bike fatalities occurred. “What causes that? Is it reckless driving from the motorcyclists?” she said

“Is it reckless driving from the person that hits them? Is it alcohol? Is it drugs? What’s causing these motorcyclists, who are doing this for pleasure, to keep getting killed on our roads?”

Sgt Ho said: “It is usually rider error. We do look at mechanical aspects as well and whether there are any physical aspects, the road, etc, or if there are any environmental factors that may have been a cause of the collision. But the six we’ve had this year, unfortunately, have been rider error.”

Meeting chairman William John Williams  asked, “What about the types of bikes? Are they racing bikes, tourers, or a mix of different bikes?”

Sgt Ho said: “The ones I attended personally have been a mixture of anything from a sports-performance bike to an adventure tourer bike.”