A NEW road safety campaign has been launched in Somerset to help reduce high casualty rates involving motorcycles in the county.
Called ‘Shiny Side Up’ – the name of the campaign comes from a popular motorcyclist saying – keep your shiny side up – implying that the rubber should stay firmly on the road.
There have been 21 fatal and 127 serious collisions on Somerset roads the last five years involving motorcyclists. Riders in the 40-59 age group are most at risk. Most of the collisions occur on rural A roads where the speed limit is in excess of 40mph.
The campaign has been launched by Somerset County Council’s Road Safety Team who will be putting up temporary signs along key routes within the county.
A selection of six different signs will be used, each designed to either highlight dangers to riders or to raise awareness of the presence of motorcyclists to other motorists.
Similar signs are also being used in partnership with other authorities in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.
The ‘Shiny Side Up’ campaign was originally launched in the East Midlands to help tackle dangerous collisions involving motorcyclists.
A council spokesperson said: “The majority of fatal rider crashes occur on bends on rural roads or involve another vehicle at junctions – so they’ll be key messages on ‘bends dead ahead’ on routes where a number of crashes have occurred.
“There also signs to encourage the rider to think ‘Safe to Go’ when considering an overtake of slower vehicles, particularly near junctions and where there is a danger of vehicles turning across your path.
“One big concern for motorcyclists is that drivers don’t see them. Two of the new signs warn drivers to either check their mirrors for the presence of bikes before turning or to ‘Think Bike’.
“Wherever you see our signs you should know that the route you are riding can be challenging. Use your judgement to help you avoid becoming a statistic.
“Somerset Road Safety will continue its campaign to reduce casualties to bikers who, unfortunately, figure too highly among crash statistics, alongside our partners within the police and fire & rescue service.”