A high-profile motorcycle safety scheme is being rolled out across the county once again by the Safer Northumberland Partnership.
For the past four years, Northumberland County Council, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police have led an initiative aimed at cutting motorbike-related accidents on the county’s roads.
Around 200 of the bright yellow Shinysideup signs, warning bikers about the dangers of speeding and cornering, have been put up on rural roads throughout the county in key locations where police have received reports of dangerous driving.
The eye-catching yellow boards, designed to make bikers and drivers think twice about speeding, have been put up in accident hot-spots across Northumberland ahead of the Easter bank holiday. They will appear on rural and arterial routes principally leading through Berwick, Alnwick, Morpeth and West Northumberland.
The original scheme within Northumberland was launched in 2010 after residents raised concerns with the partnership about bikers riding dangerously on country roads, especially during the summer months.
Last year two motorcyclists were killed on Northumberland’s roads, while 36 more were seriously injured and 44 were slightly hurt. This is four more casualties than in 2012.
Coun Dave Ledger, policy board member for public protection, said: “Over the years there have been a number of lives lost on roads in the county and we are determined we do all we can to reduce this figure.
“We hope these warning signs will continue to have a positive impact on the behaviour of people who may otherwise drive dangerously or in an anti-social manner on our county’s roads.”
Alex Bennett, chief fire officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The signs remind people of the potentially horrific consequences of driving irresponsibly, or at speed.
We want bikers, drivers and their passengers to enjoy our countryside but to treat the area with respect and understand the hazards presented on rural roads.”
Northumbria Police chief inspector Aidan Sloan, from Northumberland Area Command, said: “Making sure the roads are safe is a real priority for police and our partners and we will continue to work to ensure Northumberland remains a safe place for everyone.
“We recently launched Operation Dragoon, a force wide road safety initiative aimed at tackling dangerous driving, and the activity forms part of that campaign.
“Northumberland is a popular place for bikers and we want to make sure everyone can enjoy the scenery of Northumberland safely. We hope the signs continue to help reduce incidents in the area.”
The road safety signs will be displayed from now until October, the peak time for motorcycle traffic on Northumberland’s rural roads. The campaign is underpinned by enforcement; motor patrol officers and local neighbourhood officers from Northumbria Police will be patrolling the county’s roads taking positive action with anyone caught speeding or riding dangerously.
Riders are also being encouraged to log onto www.riderespect.co.uk a motorcycle rider development scheme run by the council as part of a programme of initiatives to cut motorcycle casualties in Northumberland.
More details on the Shineysideup campaign are available online at www.shinysideup.co.uk