New biker safety campaign launched
A new advertisement campaign highlighting the dangers facing motorcyclists is to be launched in Northern Ireland.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said he hoped the hard-hitting television adverts, aimed at bikers as well as motorists, would help cut the number of road deaths.
Last year 13 motorcyclists were killed - the equivalent to one in six of all road fatalities in the region.
Mr Durkan said: "Motorcyclists have a right to ride on the road, just as motorists have a right to drive.
"Drivers must be vigilant of motorcyclists and respect their right to use the road. Bikers themselves need to take sensible precautions like slowing down and using the road safely.
"If we share the road, we have to share the responsibility. Everyone has the right to travel on the road. Everyone has the right to come home safely to their loved ones."
The campaign has two key messages - urging bikers to think about the emotional wreckage they leave behind if they speed, and encouraging drivers to focus when turning right or emerging from minor roads.
Last year senior coroner John Leckey called for the 1970s advert Think Once Think Twice Think Bike. He was speaking during the inquest of Neil Graham, from Blackskull Road, Dromore, Co Down, who suffered fatal head injuries when he collided with a Nissan Qashqai car in Lisburn on May 11 2012.
"Unlike the occupants of motor vehicles, motorcyclists have very little protection when they crash," he said.
"This makes motorcyclists especially vulnerable to death or serious injury if they come off their bike or are struck by a car, truck or bus."
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said : "This latest advertisement shows just how quickly the lives of people can change, because of one moment of inattention, one momentary lapse of judgment.
"Northern Ireland has a big biking culture and thousands of people regularly enjoy freedom that a motorbike, scooter or moped offers.
"We want them to be able to continue that safely.
"All road users need to take responsibility for their actions. Slow down. Pay greater attention to your surroundings and never drive or get on the bike after drinking or taking drugs."
The prime time television adverts are due to start tonight and will continue until March 31.