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Rapid rise in motorcycle accidents; ROAD SAFETY.

THE National Association of Air Ambulance Services is urging all motorists to take responsibility for motorcycle safety, after research found a dramatic increase in call-outs to accidents involving motorcyclists.

Police forces across Wales have been concerned for some time that motorcyclists are coming to the country in growing numbers to take advantage of its sweeping rural roads, with Dyfed Powys Police staging a second motorbike safety campaign this summer.

Nigel Webb, chief executive of the NAAAS, said, "It's a harsh reality that motorcyclists are 24 times more likely than motorists to be killed on the road. Air ambulances are called out to thousands of road accidents involving motorcyclists every year."

Mr Webb said that many motorcycle accidents involve collisions with other vehicles, and riders should not forget their vulnerability on the roads as well as the danger of speed.

He added, "We see a lot of accidents with motorcyclists getting injured when vehicles are turning at junctions, especially HGVs. Therefore motorists should make sure they don't pull up alongside lorries and other large vehicles at traffic lights."

Britain has one of the highest death rates per registered motorcycle in the world. More than 600 motorcyclists were killed on the country's roads last year, an increase of 11pc from 1999.

The high number of road traffic accidents that air ambulances attend has prompted the AA to support NAAAS.

Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA, said, "As motorcycling increases in popularity, people who rode motorcycles in their youth are returning in greater numbers.

"It's important to remember that not only are the machines more powerful than they were 10 or 20 years ago, but also the roads are busier and more dangerous.

"This can prove a lethal combination. I hope that we soon see a marked decrease in the number of serious motorcycle incidents."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 31, 2001
Words:305
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