Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

What Can Be Done with Deadly Road?

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

What Can Be Done with Deadly Road?

Article excerpt

A SCENIC road between Stokesley and Helmsley has gained a reputation as a Mecca for bikers but also an accident blackspot. EMMA GREENHALGH looks at why.

THE B1257 in North Yorkshire has been nicknamed as the "Helmsley TT".

The 19-mile stretch, which runs through the Bilsdale area, has twists and bends which make it an attractive prospect for bikers.

But the scenic route has a darker side which has put it at the centre of road safety campaigns.

Statistics show 48 casualties recorded over a three-and-a half year period, 20 of these were motorcyclists or their passengers. In the latest tragedy, Harold John Hill, 65, of Brotton, was killed between Chop Gate and Helmsley on July 4, when a deer ran in front of his Ducati bike. Mr Hill had no chance to avoid a collision, and police have told his family there was no excessive speed involved.

But speeders on the road, which is managed by North Yorkshire County Council, are now being targeted by a mobile safety camera pilot.

North Yorkshire Police's high-visibility van can detect the speed of approaching and receding traffic from up to 1,000 metres away and captures 360 degree images of the location.

Dave Connor, of Teesside Bikers, is dedicated to improving rider safety and works closely with the Cleveland and Durham forces.

Dave, 41, of Ingleby Barwick, who also runs a first aid training company, said: "I think when I have looked at the accident statistics, they have been bikers from outside the area. I think having the name 'TT' attracts them in."

He said that up to 2,000 bikers use the road to get to Helmsley Square meeting point on a Saturday.

He emphasised the need for refresher courses for older riders, and compulsory post-test training for younger ones.

But he said other road-users need to be educated on manoeuvres used by bikers which may initially appear "aggressive".

Inspector Dave Brown, head of strategic roads policing at North Yorkshire Police, said they welcome bikers to the county and the boost they bring to the local economy.

But he added: "Many bikers treat the road as a racetrack and much work has been done over the years to reduce their speed, including engaging with, and educating bikers on the dangers of irresponsible riding as well as hardline enforcement campaigns. "Thousands of riders and car drivers navigate the road safely on a daily basis, it is not the road which is dangerous.

"With very rare exceptions, it is the behaviour of road users which causes collisions.

"The combination of high-powered bikes and riders with only basic bike handling skills can be a lethal combination on challenging routes such as the B1257."

He urged bikers to improve their bike-handling skills by taking extra training and making themselves familiar with the 95 Alive road safety partnership's biker's guide to North Yorkshire, which highlights areas where motorcyclists have come to grief in the past. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.