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Sharp rise in number of motorcycle deaths prompts police action
HAMPSHIRE bikers are facing one of the most deadliest years on the county’s roads following a sharp rise in fatal crashes, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Police chiefs say that if motorcyclists continue to lose their lives at the same rate in coming months the county could be facing its worst number of biking fatalities in five years.
Now a campaign has been launched aimed at curbing the number of deaths and educating bikers about staying safe.
Extra police will be on known accident routes and roads across the county that are popular with bikers attending meets on certain nights of the week and weekends.
Details of the crackdown, called Operation Climate, can be revealed just 48 hours after the latest tragedy when a man in his 40s from Havant was killed in a rush-hour collision on the M27.
The man, who is yet to be named, died at the scene after colliding with a waste truck that left the scene of the crash. The driver later called police following appeals through the media and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving for which he is now on bail pending further inquiries.
The crash saw a stretch of the westbound carriageway closed for seven hours, causing traffic chaos throughout parts of Southampton, Hedge End, Fair Oak and Botley, as painstaking investigations were carried out covering a 200 metre stretch of road.
Inspector Steve Wakeford, leading Operation Climate, said: “We have already gone back to 2010 as far as the figures are concerned and we if continue at the same rate it will take us back to the picture we had in 2008 when 25 people lost their lives in motorcycle accidents. We don’t want that.”
Insp Wakeford said the sudden rise in deaths on the roads coincided with the arrival of good weather last month, bringing more leisure riders out on their motorbikes.
He added: “We investigate and analyse each fatality and there is no general cause that is the same behind each one. The fatalities we have seen have been a mix or rider error and driver error with speed an aspect in some cases.”
Operation Climate comes on top off the year-round work being done in Hampshire that focuses on vulnerable road users and priority routes where accidents regularly occur.
The force also backs the national Think Bike and Bike Safe schemes as well as collaborating with other authorities on campaigns.
Insp Wakeford said: “The biggest thing for us is education because we want to prevent fatalities and serious injury on our roads.