Rise in Norfolk motorcyclists and moped riders killed or seriously injured sparks calls for action

An increase in motorcyclists being killed or seriously injured on Norfolk's roads has led to calls for action from councillors. Photo: Steve Adams An increase in motorcyclists being killed or seriously injured on Norfolk's roads has led to calls for action from councillors. Photo: Steve Adams

Monday, July 14, 2014
9:40 AM

The number of motorcyclists and moped riders killed or seriously injured on Norfolk’s roads has increased by almost 50pc in just 12 months, new figures have revealed.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

And the rise has sparked concern from county council officers and councillors that the increase could be partly because cash-strapped young people are switching to larger motorcycles because the costs of running cars is beyond them.

Between April 2012 and March 2013, there were 74 motorcyclists and moped riders killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads, but from April to March this year there were 108 - a percentage increase of just under 46pc.

The number of riders who died fell year on year, from 10 in 2012/13 to eight in 2013/14, but the number suffering slight injuries in crashes on the county’s roads increased, up from 177 to 192.

And officers at Norfolk County Council believe one of the reasons for the increase is because young people are being priced out of cars and on to two wheels.

In a report to the council’s environment, development and transport committee, officers stated: “Although not directly evidenced, the data appear to be consistent with a greater uptake of riding larger bikes (50 to 125cc) as an alternative to car driving, possibly related to rising costs for younger drivers.”

John Timewell, Liberal Democrat county councillor for North Walsham West and Erpingham, said the increase was a major concern.

He said: “We have a situation where insurance of cars is becoming increasingly difficult for young people and they are getting motorbikes to use and these are very fast machines.

“The problem we have with these young people is that it is not considered ‘cool’ for them to go for training and we have to find a way to get them trained and safe on the roads.”

Terry Jermy, Labour county councillor for Thetford West, said, in his experience as a youth worker, more young people were buying motorcycles and mopeds in order to be able to get to work and training in rural areas.

He said: “The cost of driving lessons and insurance has forced them to do that. It’s a question of need for a lot of these young people.”

But it was riders at the opposite end of the age spectrum which concerned Cliff Jordan, Conservative county councillor for Yare and All Saints.

He said: “There’s a lot more elderly people on bikes now, the ones I call born-again motorcyclists. They are the ones I think need to be targeted.”

Colleen Walker, Labour county councillor for Magdalen ward in Great Yarmouth, said: “I think it is very serious. A lot of these will be impacts by car drivers, because in some cases I think it’s them who are to blame.

“But it’s also about educating people that these are not toys.”

Independent county councillor Richard Bird, who represents North Coast, said: “What concerns me is some of these bikes being ridden are way beyond the capability of the people who are riding them.”

Tracy Jessop, assistant director of highways and transport, said the county council was trying to reduce casualties among riders.

She said: “We have introduced different initiatives to tackle hard to reach people and have had really good results as part of our Hugger campaign. The team is already well on top of the results of the current trends. It is a case of balancing the available resources, but we are trying very hard.”

She also added that part of the reason for the increase could be down to the riding season having been longer this year - so motorcyclists were on the roads more frequently.

She said: “We have had a very mild winter, so the two-wheel riding season has been a lot longer. This year you could ride from mid February quite comfortably, whereas last year it wasn’t until mid April.”

• What do you think? Tell us your views by writing, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or emailing edpletters@archant.co.uk.

28 comments

  • I like Stew Pydsodd comment and obvious mind reading ability to assume that a motorcyclist has an alternative idea of the speed limit!Typical old driver thinking they know the laws of the road better and anyone else, laws that are now so different to 'in their day'. many factors, machines be it cars or bikes, individuals being it riders or drivers and conditions are to blame for the accidents, with no 2 the same accident. I dirve a car and ride a motorcycle. when driving I know I need to look out for motorcycles as they will always be there somewhere. When riding I know I need to look out for Drivers with no sense to look for motorcycles, they only expect to see other cars and here is the problem. Train the Drivers to be aware of Motorcycles better and educate the Riders better to be more aware of their speed. You can never take the idiot of the road and these are both drivers and riders

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Hitman79

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • There is such an obsession with speed limits that it appears many people think as long as you stick to the speed limit, it by default, makes you a "safe" driver or rider whilst all other good practices such as forward planning, observation, anticipation and road positioning are rescinded.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    frank young

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Johnny H, I agree up to a point but if the car driver isn't looking in the first place it really doesn't matter if the rider is doing 60 or 600 mph, the end result is the same. And giving an indicator doesn't give you right of way in any circumstance.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    frank young

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Powered two wheelers form 1% of the traffic but are involved in 30% of serious accidents. Of these a third are single vehicle incidents. There is not a special middle lane just for the sole use of these vehicles so if one collides with a car that is turning right or overtaking and is indicating then it is not the car that is at fault. Car drivers are more likely to be at fault when they pull out when it is not safe to do so, even then it is subject to the speed of the other vehicle.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    JohnnyH

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

  • Arguably, motorcyclists are far higher trained and examined than car drivers who, with minimal lessons can climb into a powerful machine at 17 and kill. Train the motorists properly!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    marty r

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • What needs to be looked at is as follows To ascertain who or what is at fault you need to know a few thing like If bikes are to blame why are cars ALWAYS in the middle of the accident Granted there are a few cases where u get idiots on bikes but where are the stats for idiots in cars Big bikes require more training and and test than cars do Big bikes though they shouldn't, are capable of far higher speeds than cars that said capable means to go to and stop from high speeds thus ridden by a capable rider are safer at say 80mph than the average city car may be at 50mph Maybe the answer is to teach driving cars more like u are a bike Don't teach how to pass the dawn test teach how to DRIVE in the first place You see EVERY bike accident on the news but only a small percentage of car accidents Come on government raise the bar on car lessons and lay off the easy out blaming the bike I.may also add 50cc bikes should be outlawed They not fast enough to keep with traffic flow nor cross junctions at a safe pace

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Mike Chaney

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • .....as a car driver of far too many years..far too many!...and unable to quote statistics, I can only say what I see....That funny looking sign with a number in the middle is there to indicate the Max miles per hour a motorised vehicle may travel at....no ifs..no buts....and since I've reached this advanced age , I really have tried to obey that ruling!....I make a habit of not trying to overtake a rider on a motorcycle, in the knowledge that this person has right of way and has an alternative idea of the speed limit!....I don't mind them passing me at the speed of sound...it's the driver coming towards me..the one needing a ski jump on his bonnet that I am concerned about!.....

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Some off these comments really anger me. Maybe if car drivers would do shoulder checks and check their blind spots, there would be a lot less accidents involving motorbikes. The council could also sort out the pot holes and bad road surface, because that's a joke too!!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Marcus Knight

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • This story or the research and comments that prompted it are all over the place. A big bike is not 50-125cc. Someone jumping out of a big car can't unless they already possess one hop straight onto a large motorcycle. I thought the whole point of gathering statistics was to use them . It appears they don't know the ages of those involved in the accidents or even the causes. Were they to establish this they could establish what needed tackling.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Mr. Raspberry

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • As most probably mentioned before its not the motorbike that is dangerous, because when parked up it wouldn't hurt anyone, unless obviously it fell on you.50% of the the time the motocyclist may be to blame if going to fast for the road and its conditions,but just sometimes its motorists who are sitting at a junction and pull out and they can not judge distance and speed and cause one hell of an accident, or are totally oblivious and drive off not knowing they have caused carnage behind.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • frank young I now of a lad who when he was 16 had a 50cc moped. After some work on it he managed to get 50mph easily. They can tweak them though I don't know what they do but this lad was a friend of my son. I have seen so many L moped riders that cut in and through queues almost causing accident and older motorcycle riders who race past when overtaking at well over the speed limit. I have also had a courtesy wavehand as thankyou from many safe experienced riders.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    JEN

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • An interesting read, blaming the motorcyclists for sensationalist headlines. GovermentDVLA figures show the number of new riders is actually FALLING since all the recent changes to the licencing... And as other have pointed out you have to have far more training to get on a bike than you do to get in a car - and there are also age restrictions as well on how big a bike you can get... There will always be a group of bikers who ride like nuts, the same as there will always be a group of drivers who drive like nuts, trying to put the blame on anyone group is a pointless exercise.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    DaveHedgehog

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Several incidents can be as a result of poor road surfaces, having two wheels makes bikes even more reliant on good road surfaces. Farmers bringing mud and debris onto the tarmac and not being made to clean up and verges not being cut, leading to poor visibility on corners are also contributing factors. As usual its the Biker that instantly gets the finger pointed at. I have witnessed car drivers deliberately moving to the center of the road to block an overtaking bike, what is it with this type of car driver? is it because they are jealous of bikes making progress while they are in a queue? On a recent trip to Holland I round the roads to be excellent and the drivers to be very courteous, far from what I experience in this country.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    the.kickboxer

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • "these machines" It is obvious that you have never experienced riding one. what you consider to be breathtaking is so easily achieved by a quick twist of the throttle. Perhaps it is the dawdling Sunday bimblers, such as yourself might be, that causes such rash overtakes, lest they fall asleep behind you.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    the.kickboxer

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Does John Timewell actually know the difference between a motorbike and a moped? 16 and 17 year olds are running around on 50 and 125cc mopeds and scooters that can barely manage 40mph. These are hardly "fast machines". A little gimp in a nice, safe clapped out Corsa can easily do double that with same scant amount of training. ".. Although not directly evidenced.." says it all really.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    frank young

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Two things spring to mind from this report. 1) 108 killed or seriously injured. This implies police involvement investigating the incident implying some useful information gathered. Yet there is no further analysis of these figures. 2) In lieu of this factual information we have the in depth opinion of Politicians. What can we infer from this? I suggest nothing useful. We can all express our prejudices. So let me air mine! I have ventured onto the UK roads in or on vehicles with two wheels (powered and non-powered), three wheels in all three possible configurations, and four wheels. It does seem to me that those in control of motor vehicles “do not see” “inferior” vehicles, or treat them with contempt. In the 80s I found that the visibility of my black BMW motorcycle increased by at least 50% when I added a thin piece of stainless steel wire as an aerial, I wonder why?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    The Fortean

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • I find the dangerous riders seem to mainly fall into two groups, the 16-18 year olds riding poorly maintained small machines, often scooters, in urban areas too fast and deliberately anti-socially. And thirty year old plus weekend riders on fast large machines often racing with others and overtaking very dangerously. On bank holiday weekends particularly they are a frequent hazard on roads out towards the coast. The first group seems to have declined somewhat, perhaps the economic downturn of recent years has meant mummy and daddy haven't been able to afford to buy their 16 yo kids scooters or the police crackdowns on anti-social driving in towns are having some effect. The second group though seems to be on the rise and having witnessed some gobsmackingly reckless manoeuvres it's no surprise to hear deaths are on the up.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • It's a shame that the figures for mopeds and motorbikes aren't split. This might give a better indication of who is at the bigger risk. Incidentally, today some car driving idiot pulled out right in front of me. There was no way I could have stopped in time, so it was lucky for them (and me) that I could go round them. HOW did they fail to see me? Also luckily for me, I was in my GREAT BIG VAN, not on my bike. If drivers aren't going to look, then they will cause accidents.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Lord Elf

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • BG, whilst your comments are in some ways correct and some motorcyclists do exceed the speed limits and ride too fast for their ability this also applies to car drivers too. All too often we are witnessing all vehicles either driving too fast for the roads or their ability and drive far too close. The problem that we have is everyone is in too much of a hurry to get anywhere. Please also remember that there are just as many serious injuries caused to horse riders and they are subject to no road training at all.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Spyder

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • I have read evidence that suggests that many victims of motorbike accidents are older men going through a midlife crisis, discovering that for a few thousand they can afford something that will outpace a Ferrari. Many of them also have no experience on bikes.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • A gun isn't dangerous until it's given to a human. Unfortunately Bikes can't take rider education courses. anyone wishing to take up riding bikes, for what ever reason, has to be educated on how to ride within the limits of the bike, road conditions, weather conditions and to always have at the back of their mind that every cager is out to kill them.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    RoadWarrior

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Why do young drivers find insurance so expensive? Because they are statistically the highest risk. And that is because the few are arrogant risk-takers who know it all and don't believe in their mortality. They are the ones we do not need on our roads.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Patrick

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • "no one should be allowed anywhere near a motorcycle until he she has taken and completed a rider education course" seems to suggest that the motorcycle is dangerous. It's not, it's the rider who will be the danger if not properly aware.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Patrick

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Over 50% of motorcycle accidents are caused by car drivers. The majority of these are at junction where drivers don't look properly. These are official Govt figures. The story alludes to 50cc-125cc bike being fast. Well they most certainly aren't. They are actually slower than most cars. 125cc bikes are limited to 15hp.New riders cannot ride anything bigger than a 125cc bike until they are 19 years old. You HAVE to complete COMPULSORY BASIC TRAINING before you can ride a bike. There are no such limitations on car drivers. Also, something to consider is the lack on maintenance on our roads. A pot hole can be a nuisance to a car driver, but it is more likely to cause an accident with a motorbike. "Surface dressing" where the highways just lay stone chips over hot tar rather than resurfacing properly is like riding on marbles. The car insurance is an issue, as at 17yrs old, it cost upwards of £4000 to insure a cheap little run about.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Lord Elf

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Having grown up in rural Norfolk and started my first real job in 1974, in most cases the only way to get about was on a bike. Public Transport being totally out of touch with what people require and a car being out of the question due to costs and having to pass a driving test to drive solo. I still have a bike and I am almost 57, would not want to be without mine, although I do not live in Norfolk anymore. The answer to the above is contained within the body of the story, in part I agree with the cost issue as that has always been a factor. Rider education is a must and no one should be allowed anywhere near a motorcycle until he she has taken and completed a rider education course. This would of course have to be provided free of charge as this would be an additional cost for young riders. Education for the riders but also education for the cage drivers who in over 50% of accidents involving motor bikes are the cause, no mention of that in the article?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    RoadWarrior

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • As with any form of transport, it's the hothead few that set the tone for everyone else. The majority of motorbike riders do so carefully and with consideration to other road users (look at those who wear all the protective gear, whatever the weather), filtering to the front when safe to do so (which is perfectly allowed and encouraged in police training). However, there are also those who go up from a twist-and-go with the same devil-may-care mindset. Usually they wear little in the way of protective gear. It's those, and the ones who've been driving a car for years and then go back to motorcycling, who need to be encouraged to an advanced training course. The police in Wymondham do one called "Safe Rider", which consists of several evenings in the classroom followed by a day out on the roads in very small groups with a police rider, putting the theory into practice.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • The deteriorating condition of the Counties roads will have had a big impact on rider safety. A pot hole may be an expensive inconvenience for a car driver. But it is a potential killer to anyone on two wheels & the fact that everyone & everything is blamed but the appalling state of our roads, suggests that those involved in road safety at County Hall are either ignorant about the issues involved in two wheeled road safety or that they are happy to play Russian roulette with the lives of motorcyclists.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    el84

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • Anyone who drives on the county`s roads at the weekend will regularly witness the lunatic riders of these machines exceeding the speed limits and performing breathtaking overtakes. Its no coincidence that the weekends always result in the death or serious injury of a motorcyclist somewhere in the county. Motorcyclists may get a kick out of it but it only brings misery to the hapless motorist and the family of the rider involved in one of these accidents.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    BG

    Monday, July 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 15°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT