Call for safe biking

Local ambulance chiefs are reminding bikers not to turn a minor mishap into something more serious.


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With the weather forecast looking good for the weekend, thousands of motorcyclists will be heading out onto the roads of the West Midlands this weekend. West Midlands Ambulance Service are appealing to bikers to take care on the roads in order to reduce the heavy toll of accidents which occur during the summer months

Between March and October every year the region sees around 240 motorcycle accidents occur every month with aged 16–21 on small capacity machines making up the majority of rider casualties. Nationally, almost 6,000 riders are killed or seriously injured every year, with one on five of those killed on our roads a motor cyclist.

The Service are asking bikers to take a few simple precautions in order to reduce the possibility of serious injury should they be involved in an accident, and they stress – it doesn’t have to be your fault to hurt.

Think about what happens if you do come off your bike. What’s the first thing you put out if you fall?  Your hands. It’s the same in a crash whether on a scooter or a ‘big’ bike.  Without protection on (like proper riding gloves) your hands will take the full force of the impact leaving you with severe grazing and bruising at best.

The next points to touch down are the bony, sticky out bits – knees, elbows, shoulders etc. They’re bits worth protecting.  Tarmac isn’t designed to be slippery. At 30 mph it only takes three seconds to wear through flesh to bone. Tarmac is designed to grip and give friction to tyres so keep it away from your skin.

Good kit can make all the difference in the event of a crash. The difference between a bruise or a break; a graze or a painful and ugly skin graft.  Good kit not only protects you in the event of a crash, it keeps you warm and dry too. Frozen fingers don’t make for good bike control.

West Midlands Ambulance Service motorcycle paramedic, Mark Hayes, said: “A significant percentage of motorcycle accidents, particularly fatal motorcycle crashes, occur at relatively high speeds. Unfortunately, even a relatively low speed crash can lead to serious injury, especially if the rider is not wearing appropriate safety clothing.

“A good set of leathers, safety helmet and high visibility clothing go a long way to minimising injury.  Secondly, it is really important for people to concentrate on arriving at their destination safely, rather than as quickly as possible.  Preventing the accident is the ideal as opposed to relying on safety equipment to save lives.

“I have been riding for over 20 years and have dealt with many accidents involving riders.  All motorists, whether on two, three or four wheels are responsible for respecting the rights of all other drivers no matter the size or type of their vehicle.”

If you are out and about this weekend, have a great time, but please do everything you can to make sure you don’t meet Mark or any of his colleagues.

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