Motorcycle fair as part of effort to keep riders on the road

John Cavalier with his motorcycle.
John Cavalier with his motorcycle.

A motorcycle fair in Birkenshaw this weekend will take place as part of an awareness scheme for the safety of riders.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service staff started the 'Biker Down' awareness course around 18 months ago to help keep motorcyclists on the roads.

The fair will take place at the Fire Service Headquarters in Birkenshaw on Saturday between 10am and 4pm alongside partners from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and West Yorkshire Advanced Motorists, as well as other supporters.

Since its inception, the course has been delivered to 170 people across three of West Yorkshire five districts.

One of the course instructors, Watch Commander John Cavalier, works in the Fire Investigation department, but is also a keen biker.

He said: "The free course offers people the chance to learn practical skills to help avoid being involved in a crash, as well as essential first aid training and advice on what to do should they find themselves first on the scene of a crash where someone is injured.

"It’s that time of year when people will be dusting off their motorcycles and getting out for a ride and it’s often that people from West Yorkshire are actually out riding in North Yorkshire due to the inviting landscape.

"Nationally motorcyclists account for 1% of road users by miles travelled but make up 21% of the road users killed."

In total, 15 courses have been delivered across three districts - Killingbeck (Leeds), South Kirkby (Wakefield), and Dewsbury (Kirklees).

When Fire and Rescue Services attend road traffic collisions it is primarily to release trapped people. However, motorcycle accidents don’t always result in entrapment.

John said: “A number of serious motorcycle related incidents drew our attention to the vulnerability of motorcycle riders and we acted on it.

"In 2016 there were 178 motorcyclists injured on West Yorkshire’s roads, six of which were fatal.

"Figures obtained from North Yorkshire's Road Risk Reduction Team covering 2013 - 2015 show 66 people from West Yorkshire were injured on North Yorkshire's roads and three were fatally injured."

"West Yorkshire riders don't just get hurt on our roads but elsewhere also."