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Last Updated: Monday, 26 April, 2004, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Warning to 'born again bikers'
Bikers (generic)
Inexperienced bikers are being urged to take BikeSafe courses
Police hope that profiling and targeting bikers most likely to be killed on the roads of north Wales will help tackle its high death toll.

North Wales Police say most bikers killed are likely to be white men aged 35 or over, from the north west of England or the Midlands, who have recently returned to motorcycling.

Last year 18 bikers died in north Wales accidents, the highest recorded total.

The day after another motorcyclist was killed in Flintshire, Chief Superintendent Geraint Annwyl appealed for "born again bikers" to take riding courses.

The latest biker killed was a man who died in the Countess of Chester Hospital from his injuries after colliding with a car on the B5119 Mold Road at Northop at about midday on Sunday.

They are emulating their heroes in Grand Prix motor racing but doing it on the road.
Chief Superintendent Geraint Annwyl

Mr Annwyl said: "This time last year we had ten motorcyclists dead; this year we've got three.

'Real menace'

"However we could very easily have had four bikers dead on Sunday instead of one fatality and three serious injuries - it's a miracle no one else was killed."

Police are keen to spread the message, and as well as being interviewed on BBC Radio Wales, Mr Annwyl has also been on BBC Radio Lancashire and BBC Radio 4 to promote Operation Focus.

He said: "It's a case of targeting this audience also through motorcycling publications and the motorcycling industry and by working closely with bikers through BikeSafe - a two-day assessment course costing 80.

"BikeSafe is where expert police motorcyclists give feedback on riding styles and identify areas for improvement.

"We are also engaged in covert speed enforcement using cameras at static sites and using mobile vans for the first time as well as using the police helicopter and Vascar - a speed monitoring device which we are able to film from the air."

Chief Superintendent Geraint Annwyl
Geraint Annwyl says some bikers are 'gripped by the excitement'

Mr Annwyl said most fatal accidents involve high-powered bikes being driven on left-handed bends on sunny Sunday afternoons.

"Thousands of motorcyclist came to north Wales over the weekend for the first really good weather we've had this year.

"The majority are law-abiding and responsible people but there is a small minority who are a real menace to both themselves and other road users and endangering the lives of others."

'Macho image'

Mr Annwyl said some male bikers were attracted by motorcycling's "macho" image and travelled in packs where there was evidence they "egged each other on."

He said: "Some seek the thrill of speed and the challenge of negotiating corners as quickly as possible and are gripped by the excitement and sense of achievement if they overcome hazards.

"Some motorcycles are capable of travelling at just under 200 mph and we've caught people doing 140 mph plus.

"They are emulating their heroes in Grand Prix motor racing but doing it on the road.

"When you come off a motorcycle on a circuit track you see the bike and the rider sliding away and the rider shaking himself down and walking away.

"That doesn't happen on a left-hand bend where you will either hit a tree, a wall or a car or lorry coming towards you.

"I think aggression is linked to it and in terms of these born again bikers, it is a last ditch attempt to hang on to their youth."

A BBC Radio Wales programme, A Sunny Afternoon And A Clear Road, on the subject will be broadcast at 1900 BST on Monday.




SEE ALSO:
Biker death toll highest ever
08 Nov 03  |  North West Wales
Call for signs at biker black spots
11 Jun 03  |  North East Wales
Bikers urged back to basics
19 Apr 03  |  North East Wales


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