Crash which claimed lives of two Norfolk motorcyclists “very, very unusual”

The scene of the double fatal accident on the B1136 Hales to Haddiscoe road. Picture: Denise Bradley

The scene of the double fatal accident on the B1136 Hales to Haddiscoe road. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

A crash which claimed the lives of two Norfolk motorcyclists has been described as 'very, very unusual' by one of East Anglia's most senior police officers.

The scene of the double fatal accident on the B1136 Hales to Haddiscoe road. Picture: Denise Bradley

The scene of the double fatal accident on the B1136 Hales to Haddiscoe road. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Chief Insp Chris Spinks, head of roads policing for Norfolk and Suffolk, said it was the first time for two decades that he had seen a head-on collision between two motorbikes, killing both riders.

A 48-year-old man and a 52-year-old man died at the scene of the crash, which happened on Sunday afternoon on the B1136 Loddon Road between Haddiscoe and Hales about 400 metres from the junction with Crab Apple Lane.

The riders, who were on a black Aprilia RS3 and a multi-coloured BMW S1000, were travelling in opposite directions, with no other vehicles involved.

Chief Insp Spinks said: 'It is very, very unusual. The reason being is that, obviously, the front of a motorbike is a very narrow area, so to collide like that is unusual. The only one I can remember – and I don't want to draw any comparisons between what caused that and what caused this – was on the A149 at Stalham in the 1990s where two motorbikes collided head-on. I haven't done any research on it but that is the only one that comes to mind.

'It's a really tragic set of circumstances that have come together in that if there had been seconds or centimetres difference they would have potentially never made contact.

'Both motorcyclists involved were mature riders and it is not believed they were known to one another.'

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Sunday's deaths came a few days after Norfolk police released a graphic road safety video showing David Holmes's fatal motorbike crash.

David's Story has been viewed by nine million people after his mother, Brenda, agreed to release the footage to get drivers to think about road safety.

The video shows clips of the collision, which he captured on his headcam, and the moment a car crossed the Norwich man's path as he travelled from King's Lynn on the A47 at Honingham in June last year. He died instantly.

Chief Insp Spinks said: 'This is really tragic news after David's Story. This collision obviously centres on motorcyclists whereas a car was involved in David's Story, which underlines the fact that all road users as a whole need to remain safe.

'It just highlights the fact that it can happen to anybody and we have to do anything we can to get the safety message out there. If it's possible this crash is more poignant than any because it comes on the heels of David's Story.'

The men's deaths are not the first to have occurred on the Haddiscoe to Hales road.

In August 2011, Sam Barnes, 24, of Shropham, near Attleborough, died when the blue Ford Focus he was driving hit the verge and overturned.

The Rev Nick Will, rector of Aldeby, Burgh St Peter, Haddiscoe, Norton Subcourse, Raveningham, Thurlton, Thorpe-next-Haddiscoe, Toft Monks and Wheatacre, called it a 'rat run'.

He said: 'It is bendy and narrow, undulates through fields and woods, and has a number of busy local junctions. It is, and should be, treated very much as a local road.

'The road signage requires it to double up as a spur link between the wide and open A146 Norwich-Lowestoft road, and the A143 to Great Yarmouth. It is no wonder there are so many accidents. Effectively it acts as a Highways Authority-sanctioned rat-run and is unfit for purpose.'

The motorcyclists are not expected to be named until an inquest has been opened and next of kin informed.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the crash or has information concerning the riding manner of either motorcycle prior to the incident.Witnesses should contact PC Charlie Savage at the Serious Collision Investigation Team on 101.

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