Fears for safety of motorcyclists after three die in crashes in 24 hours

Motorcyclists practising skills on an Essex Fire Bike course at Wethersfield Airfield. Picture: ESSE

Motorcyclists practising skills on an Essex Fire Bike course at Wethersfield Airfield. Picture: ESSEX FIRE AND RESCUE - Credit: Archant

Fears for the safety of motorcyclists are in the spotlight today after three men died in two separate accidents within hours of each other in Essex.

Andy Strougler speaking at the National Road Safety Conference 2019 in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Picture

Andy Strougler speaking at the National Road Safety Conference 2019 in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Picture: ESSEX FIRE AND RESCUE - Credit: Archant

Two men died in an accident in Great Bentley in Flaghill Road when a van and motorbike were involved in a collision at 11pm on Thursday March 12.

Just hours later another motorcyclist, on a black bike with L plates, lost his life on an accident blackspot at 6.25am at the junction of Burnham Road and Post Office Road.

Their deaths highlight safety concerns over motorcyclists as in Essex just 0.8% of road traffic is made up of motorcyclists but a staggering 21% of serious injury or fatal accidents involve motorcyclists.

Since 2007, 2,275 motorcyclists have been killed or seriously injured on Essex roads and in 2017 nine died and 180 seriously injured.


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A councillor for one of the 'accident blackspots' on the Burnham Bends has called it a tragedy for those involved.

Mark Durham, councillor for Wickham Bishops and Woodham, said: 'It is very sad. It is unfortunate that the Burnham bends, as they are called, are an accident black spot.

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'The roads are renowned as being a challenge for motorcyclists. Any injury or life lost is just tragic and I extend my condolences to the families.

'However, it is far from the first accident or fatality and it will not be the last there - those sweeping bends along that road are popular for motorcyclists and they are a hazard.'

Andy Strougler is in charge of the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service's Road Traffic Collision Reduction Team and works to educate bikers and other road users about the risks.

He said: 'We teach a lot about risk and consequence - sure you can ride on an unrestricted road at 60mph but how fast can you stop? The easy bit is going fast, the hard bit is stopping.

'We teach a lot about emergency braking on our course and when I ask how many people practise their emergency stops it is rare that anyone says yes.'

Mr Strougler runs the Fire Bike Better Biking course which teaches 'road craft', improving physical and mental skills such as road positioning and observation.

He added: 'A car has air bags, a metal frame, seat belts - whereas a motorbike has no protection, and a lot of collisions actually come down to other road users, not the motorcyclist themselves.'

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