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'Be aware of what is happening around you' - Calls for improvements after death of two motorcyclists

PUBLISHED: 12:40 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:40 25 April 2019

A previous Safe Rider event, which keeps motorcyclists safe. Photo: David Kirkham

A previous Safe Rider event, which keeps motorcyclists safe. Photo: David Kirkham

Archant

A fresh call for improved safety on Norfolk's roads has been voiced after two motorcyclists died, and another was seriously injured, over the Easter weekend.

Norfolk Constabulary chief inspector Jon Chapman. Photo : Steve AdamsNorfolk Constabulary chief inspector Jon Chapman. Photo : Steve Adams

It comes following the death of Lukasz Parszcz , who was named locally as the biker who died after a crash with two cars on the A1067 in Bawdeswell, between Dereham and Reepham, on Sunday.

In a separate incident , another rider was also found dead after a Suzuki GSXR motorcycle, travelling on the A1075 at Wretham, was involved in crash with a chevron sign on Saturday.

In the same area, and just a day earlier, a Yahama motorcycle and Mercedes crashed on the A1065 at Weeting .

The motorcyclist, a man in his 20s, was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, with serious injuries to his legs, ribs and collar bone.

It is not yet clear what led to the crashes.

Over the past five years the number of fatalities on Norfolk's roads has reduced by just over 27pc, with 33 deaths recorded in 2014/15 and 24 in 2018/19.

In Suffolk, the figures saw a reduction of 12pc, but there were fewer fatalities – 25 deaths in 2014/15 and 22 in 2018/19.

The figures, from Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies, which are recorded from April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2019, show a total of 150 fatal collisions in Norfolk during that time, of which 26 people were motorcyclists. In Suffolk, 131 fatal collisions were recorded in the same period.

The A1067 at Bawdeswell, where the crash took place. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPThe A1067 at Bawdeswell, where the crash took place. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

But despite the encouraging statistics and drop in deaths on Norfolk's roads, the recent spate of serious accidents has revived fresh reminders for drivers – on both two and four wheels – to stay safe.

Chief insp Jon Chapman, of Norfolk police, said while the force continued its efforts in clamping down on the fatal four offences, which has a proven track recorded of keeping road users safe, it was still promoting all-round safety.

The fatal four are the four biggest dangers while driving – inappropriate speed, using a mobile phone while driving, not wearing a seatbelt and drink-driving.

READ MORE: Shocking footage of fatal Norfolk crash released as part of safety campaign.

He said: “As we enter spring and summer and we see better weather, we would encourage all road users to concentrate on their driving and be aware of what is happening around them.

“For us, it's about getting the message out there.”

A previous Safe Rider event, which keeps motorcyclists safe. Photo: David KirkhamA previous Safe Rider event, which keeps motorcyclists safe. Photo: David Kirkham

Speaking about the recent tragedies, he added: “Our thoughts are with the family, friends and communities of those who have lost their lives and we will work as hard as we can to investigate.”

Local councillors have also voiced frustrations, asking if people have to lose their lives before road changes are made.

Bill Cunliffe, chairman of Bawdeswell Parish Council, said the council had been concerned for a couple of years about the stretch of road running alongside the village.

In 2017, councillors objected to an application to have 40 new homes built there due to concerns over increased traffic. The plans have since been approved.

He said: “As a parish council we have been worried for some time about this particular stretch of road, especially as traffic has increased since the NDR opened.

“We've now got two major junctions, one at the garden centre and the one with Dereham Road, and on both of them there are no traffic lights.

“You have to wait for a really good gap in the traffic before pulling out.”

Mr Cunliffe, who is a former police officer, was also concerned about the latest figures, claiming they did not present a full picture as some accidents - such as damage-only - do not need to be logged with police.

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The chairman of Wretham Parish Council, Harold Smith, also echoed concerns for bikers after the crash, saying the road was “twisty” and that the parish council had tried to get extra signs installed along it.

- Do you think more needs to be done to protect motorcyclists on our roads? Write to The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk.

Advice - Chief insp Jon Chapman, of Norfolk police

Motorcyclists:

- Ride defensively

- Anticipate the actions of others

- Be alert

- Position yourself in the best place on the road

- Maximise your visibility

- Use life-saving glances over your shoulders.

Drivers:

- Take a little bit more time to look for motorcyclists

- Take care pulling out at junctions

- Do not drive too close to motorcyclists

- Be mindful of larger vehicles obstructing riders

Safe Rider Scheme

Safe Rider is a joint initiative between Norfolk Constabulary and Norfolk County Council which aims to reduce motorcycle casualties.

The scheme comprises a series of downloads to keep, a two-and-a-half hour-long evening session and a five-hour road session

The workshop provides individuals with professional advice and confirms their strengths and identifies their weaknesses as a rider.

During the road session, participants will receive a demonstration ride by a police rider and there will be an opportunity to have riding assessed with constructive feedback.

Safe Rider is available to residents of Norfolk and the border towns who have a full licence, including Category A2, and are not already members of an advanced riding group.

Enquiries can be emailed to andy.micklethwaite@norfolk.gov.uk or by ringing 01603 638115. Please be sure to include your postcode in the email.

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