Be safe on your motorcycle

TAYSIDE Police, along with all other Scottish Police Forces, are supporting the ACPOS National Campaign focusing on Motorcycle Awareness from 7 a.m. tomorrow (Friday) until 7 a.m. on Monday, March 12.

As the weather improves, this is traditionally the time of year when many more motorcyclists return to the roads after the winter break. As this may be the first time in some months that some of them will have used their bikes it is imperative that they check them over for any potential defects and faults before they take to the road. Maintenance is directly linked to road safety and this is especially crucial when applied to two wheel motoring.

To help promote safer motor cycling the constabulary is reinforcing the importance of motorcycle maintenance. There are many critical areas that should be routinely checked for potential defects but are sometimes overlooked due to the desire to get back on the road when the weather improves.

The message that they want to get over is don’t be tempted just to take to the roads without ensuring that your motor cycle is in a fully roadworthy condition. Spending just a short time on these essential safety checks may save you further expense and prevent a failure which could cost you or someone else far more than a few pounds.

Along with roadworthiness, riders should also be aware of the road conditions and the potential dangers. ‘Around the Corner’ is a website which is aimed primarily at motorcyclists to make them think about what may be happening on the road ahead. ‘Can you stop in time?’ It also details some helpful riding advice and specific safety information about many of the routes traditionally used by motorcyclists across Scotland. Visit the website for information and advice on safe riding.

To reinforce the message officers will be patrolling our roads and carrying out road checks for the duration of the campaign. They will be talking to road users, with a particular emphasis on the dangers faced by more vulnerable road users, in particular motorcyclists.

The opportunity will also be taken to ensure that safety is not being jeopordised by vehicles failing to comply with the legislation primarily dealing with ongoing maintenance and roadworthiness, i.e. the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. Officers will also be actively dealing with any incidents of inappropriate use of vehicles, making full use of the powers given under Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 to warn drivers and seize vehicles when appropriate.

Other factors affecting road safety including speeding, use of mobile ‘phones whilst driving and failure to wear seatbelts will also be dealt with.

Chief Inspector Sandy Bowman, head of road policing, said: “This campaign focuses on educating all road users about the vulnerability of specific groups of road users, particularly motorcyclists. Hopefully we are entering a period of better weather and there are more daylight hours so that people have a greater opportunity to enjoy our roads safely.

“Having said that we all must remember that weather and road conditions can change almost in an instant and that road surfaces may still be affected by the vagaries of the winter which has not yet left us. All these issues have to be carefully considered. This is of course not restricted to motor cyclists, as usually there is an increase in slow moving agricultural vehicles, cyclists and horse riders along with pedestrians on some of our roads. Ask yourself what might be “Around the Corner” and be prepared for that eventuality.

“Many more motor cyclists begin to take to the roads at this time and unfortunately we have found that this often results in an increase in the number of collisions and incidents involving this group. If a motorcyclist is involved in a collision almost inevitably it will have more serious consequences. Consequently motorcyclists should remember that if they have not been on the road for some time they should ease back into their riding and of course ride responsibly.

“A momentary lapse in concentration or attention to the road can be disastrous and it is imperative that everyone is aware of such vulnerable road users. All have their part to play in making the roads safer. Motor cyclists have responsibility to use their machines responsibly and ideally should wear high visibility protective clothing and make full use of their headlights at all times. I would urge all road users to ‘Think Bike, Think Biker’.”

Tayside Safety Camera Partnership (TSCP) is supporting this campaign with enforcement on known motorcycle routes to encourage safer riding.

Arron Duncan, Safety Camera Partnership manager, said: “Bikers are more at risk than other road users and injuries sustained in collisions if travelling at high and inappropriate speeds for the route conditions can have fatal consequences. It’s these outcomes we are aiming to reduce when we enforce the speed limits”.

Anyone who has any information relating to the irresponsible use of vehicles on the roads is asked contact Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1111.