'Slow down' plea to motorcyclists

Suffolk's ambulance chief yesterday made an impassioned appeal to motorcyclists to slow down after a spate of accidents in the Waveney Valley area left two dead and several others seriously injured.

Suffolk's ambulance chief yesterday made an impassioned appeal to motorcyclists to slow down after a spate of accidents in the Waveney Valley area left two dead and several others seriously injured.

Rob Lawrence, Suffolk chief officer for the East of England Ambulance Service, described the tragedies as "totally unnecessary and avoidable" and urged motorcyclists using the county's roads: "Kill your speed and not yourselves".

His plea follows a succession of serious and fatal accidents across the eastern region and comes as Norfolk Police conduct a motorcycle safety campaign.

Mr Lawrence said: "The dry road conditions we have had during the past two or three weeks seem to promote greater speed and risk-taking which, as the recent accidents have demonstrated, have proved a lethal combination.

"The ambulance crews, police and fire service arriving at the scenes of these tragedies are confronted with gruesome, self-inflicted injuries.

"Each and every one is totally unnecessary and avoidable.

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"Both banks of the Waveney Valley are a magnet to motorcyclists in the summer and, while riders have every right to enjoy themselves, they have a duty of care to themselves and other road users."

Mr Lawrence said recent call-outs included fatal accidents at Needham and Aldburgh and serious collisions at Beccles and Shipmeadow.

Another serious accident involved an overtaking motorcyclist colliding with a goods vehicle east of Beccles and resulted in the amputation of the rider's arm.

East Anglian Ambulance Service spokesman Matthew Ware said: "When the weather is nice it seems that everyone gets on their bikes. Because the roads are dry they think they can drive faster, but it doesn't really work like that.

"I think sometimes motorcyclists have this feeling they are invincible, but they remain the most vulnerable people on the road.

"Sadly with high-speed crashes motorcyclists either die or have some kind of serious injury. Very rarely do they escape with something minor."

Suffolk Police spokesman Anne-Marie Breach said: "We are concerned that there have been quite a large number of accidents involving motorbikes, and we would ask them for their own safety and the safety of other road users to keep their speeds appropriate for the conditions and just to take care.

"The impact on friends and family if they lose a loved one is just horrendous."

Last year there were 15 serious or fatal accidents involving motorcyclists in north Suffolk and the figure so far this year stands at eight. In Norfolk there have been six deaths so far in the county.

Insp Jeff Anderson, who launched Norfolk Police's two-week safety campaign which comes to a close this weekend, said: "While the vast majority of motorcycle riders use their vehicles within the law a minority abuse it. We have seen these irresponsible riders every day of the week."

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