Two more killed on county's roads

By Mark Heath and Patrick LowmanTHE families of two motorcyclists are in mourning today after they died in crashes on the roads of Suffolk, continuing the grim toll of accident deaths.

By Mark Heath and Patrick Lowman

THE families of two motorcyclists are in mourning today after they died in crashes on the roads of Suffolk, continuing the grim toll of accident deaths.

Six people have already been killed on the county's roads in 2004 and Suffolk is facing the prospect of the number of deaths approaching the 100-mark by the end of the year if the current fatality rate continues.

A senior councillor voiced last night his disappointment at the number of deaths so far this year and urged motorists and pedestrians to take care on the roads.

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In the first accident, Robin Leeks died after the motorbike he was riding was involved in a collision with a car in Norwich Road, Ipswich, on Saturday lunchtime.

The crash happened at 12.39pm as the 40-year-old, who lived in Shotley Gate, was riding his Honda Firestorm bike near to the junction with Kelvin Road.

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A Suffolk police spokeswoman said: "A solo 40-year-old man on a Honda Firestorm was driving out of town on Norwich Road when he was in collision with a Peugeot 206 going in the opposite direction. The driver of the motorbike received fatal injuries."

Norwich Road was closed for almost four hours and diversions were put in place while the emergency services dealt with the aftermath of the crash. Mr Leek's family were too upset to talk last night.

In the second accident on Saturday afternoon, Matthew Poulson was killed after the 600cc Suzuki motorbike he was riding was involved in a collision with a red Vauxhall Astra estate on the A1092 between Cavendish and Clare.

Emergency services were called to the scene at about 3.15pm and the road was closed for several hours while the accident was dealt with.

Mr Poulson, 25, of Tudor Road, Sudbury, was taken by ambulance to the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, where he was pronounced dead.

His devastated parents and older brother were comforting each other at their Tudor Road home last night. His mother said: "We are all devastated, were just too upset to talk at the moment."

Mr Poulson lived in the Sudbury area almost all his life and was educated at Woodhall Primary, Uplands Middle and Sudbury Upper Schools. He had also worked for Sudbury firm A and B Glass.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: "It appears the rider lost control as he attempted to negotiate a sharp left-hand bend and received injuries which turned out to be fatal.

"An investigation into the accident is now under way and we are appealing for information. It was a clear, sunny day and the conditions were good, so there may well have been a reasonable traffic volume on the route at the time."

The two crashes continued the grim toll of death on the county's roads in the first month of 2004 with six people having already been killed this year. In 2003, 59 people died in accidents on Suffolk's roads – the highest total since 1990, when 61 motorists lost their lives.

Peter Monk, portfolio holder for public protection on Suffolk County Council, said: "It is very sad for all those involved and it's a very disappointing start to the New Year.

"We have to remind everybody to please take care on the roads, especially as we are likely to have some inclement weather coming up. It doesn't matter whether you're a motorist or a pedestrian, you have to be careful.

"We do all we possibly can to make our roads safe. Obviously, we have an enormous amount of roads in our county and people quite rightly want the freedom they provide, but with it comes a great deal of responsibility."

Mr Monk added crashes involving motorcyclists were a particular area of concern for the county council.

"There has been a high level of motorcycle accidents and that's an area we want to concentrate on. There is an onus on all of us, whatever vehicle you drive, to be aware of other road users," he said.

Anyone with information about the Ipswich crash should contact Pc Jim Gooding on 01473 613500 and anyone with information about the A1092 accident should contact Pc Yvette Arondel on 01284 774153.

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