Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Police warning to motorists as three bikers die inside a week

Police at the scene of Saturday’s crash which claimed the life of Declan McGurk
Police at the scene of Saturday’s crash which claimed the life of Declan McGurk

Police have appealed for motorists to be extra cautious when travelling over the Easter holidays in the wake of three motorcyclist deaths in less than a week.

On Saturday, 28-year-old Declan McGurk was killed after his motorcycle collided with a tractor on the Baranailt Road in Limavady.

His death brought the total number of fatalities on our roads so far this year to 20.

Two other men in their 20s who were travelling on a second motorbike were taken to hospital for injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening.

A day earlier, Richard Brown (44) from Lisbellaw in Co Fermanagh died after his motorbike also crashed into a tractor at 8:15pm on Friday on the Belfast Road in Fivemiletown.

Neither of the tractor drivers was injured.

On Monday, Alan Kelso from Antrim died when his motorcycle crashed into a telegraph pole on the Dungonnell Road in Crumlin.

The police appeal comes after expected increased traffic levels during the Easter break across the country.

Police are urging motorcyclists as well as other road users to take extra care on the roads as the good weather also encourages people to travel.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said that motorists should take greater care over the holiday period.

“With the brighter evenings, we are also particularly mindful of many motorcyclists taking their machines out of winter storage for the first run of the season.

“Bikers must ensure their motorcycles and safety equipment are in good working order, particularly after being laid up over the winter months.

“With many people enjoying some time off over the coming week, we are appealing to all road users to exercise caution, as our statistics illustrate that, like any other holiday period, there is an increased risk of collisions.

“Considering that speeding and drink-driving remain the biggest causes of collisions which kill and seriously injure people on roads across Northern Ireland, our message to drivers and riders is very simple.

“If you speed, take drink or drugs and drive, fail to wear your seatbelt, drive carelessly or dangerously, you run the real risk of killing or seriously injuring yourself, your passengers or some other innocent road user.”

Last year a total of 10 people died in motorcycle accidents in Northern Ireland, compared with just four in 2012.

In total in 2013, 37 motorcyclists died across the whole of Ireland.

The 20 deaths on our roads this year are more than twice the number killed by this point in 2012 when there were just eight.

Chief Constable Todd added that road users must take responsibility for the safety of themselves and others.

“Everyone must take into account increased traffic levels over the holiday period and heed the road safety message.

“We will enforce the law to make Northern Ireland's roads safer, but our role is very much secondary.

“All road users have a role to play in preventing deaths and injuries on our roads.

“All we ask is that drivers slow down, do not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wear a seatbelt and take greater care and attention,” he added.

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