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Motorcyclists urged to take “safety first” approach

[Friday 17 October 2008]

WITH the days growing shorter and winter fast approaching, North Yorkshire Police is warning motorcyclists to take extra care on the roads.

A combination of poor visibility, high winds and wet or icy road conditions can prove extremely hazardous for those travelling on two wheels.

In the past few weeks there have been a series of serious and fatal collisions involving riders in the county. Whilst it is too early to say if weather or road conditions played a significant role in these individual cases, it is vital that riders are aware of the dangers and take heed.

Motorcyclists in particularly are extremely vulnerable to the risk of road traffic collisions at this time of year.

Alison Higgins - North Yorkshire Police

Chief Superintendent Alison Higgins, who is leading the force’s ongoing road-safety campaign Operation Anvil, said: “Motorcyclists in particular are extremely vulnerable to the risk of road traffic collisions at this time of year. All it takes is for one tyre to lose grip on a damp patch of road or a painted road marking and the consequences could be severe.

“The advice we offer to riders is to be prepared and adapt to the conditions. If the weather is cold and wet it’s very easy to lose concentration. Therefore make sure you are dressed accordingly and make regular stops to combat fatigue and maintain awareness and reaction times.

“Above all else, use your common sense. If the weather is horrendous and you don’t need to ride, then simply don’t risk it. But if you decide to venture out onto the roads please drive carefully, reduce speeds and watch your braking distances by leaving extra space between you and the vehicle in front.”

    Safety advice or motorcyclists:
  • White lines and painted areas in the roads - try to avoid as they tend to be far more slippery than tarmac in the wet.
  • High winds - don’t underestimate the power of the wind. Ride more slowly and take extra care when overtaking goods vehicles or travelling on exposed roads
  • Ice - watch out for hidden patches of ice or frost, particularly in shaded areas on the road where the ice or frost will remain on the ground for longer.
  • Snow - not only will the roads be much more slippery, especially when snow is packed down, but visibility can also be poor. Take extreme caution or avoid altogether if possible.
  • Visors - make sure they’re clean, not scratched or tinted. Consider a visor insert to prevent misting
  • Clothing - never go out riding without the correct clothing. Invest in good quality waterproof gloves, jackets, boots and trousers. Wear plenty of thin layers to trap body heat
  • Service condition - double-check the service condition of your bike before you leave.
  • Lights - ensure they’re all working, that the headlight is correctly adjusted and clean for maximum visibility
  • Tyres - make sure they are correctly inflated and have plenty of tread. Replace them before they get to the legal limit of 1mm
  • Brakes - ensure that they are correctly adjusted and that the brake fluid is above the minimum level
  • Fuel - ensure there is sufficient amount for the journey and that the petrol tap (if fitted) is not set on reserve
  • Chain - ensure it is correctly adjusted and lubricated
  • Ride according to the conditions and within the law

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