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21 March 2014, 06:39 | Updated: 21 March 2014, 06:41
Police in Hampshire and Dorset are appealing to bikers to take care, as many get back on the road after winter.
They're advising riders to check their bikes over carefully, as many will be getting bikes out of storage for the first time as the weather gets warmer.
15 riders were killed in Hampshire alone last year. There were also 263 serious injuries and 469 slight injuries in 2013.
A Hampshire Police spokesperson said:
"Over 80% of the motorcycle users injured in the force area live locally.
"Our force areas of concern are urban areas - Southampton, Portsmouth and the IOW - on 30mph limit roads at commuter times of the day.
"The greatest number of motorcycle user casualties occur in Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. "
Gary Elston, who runs a bike awareness scheme for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, says there is a temptation to go too fast:
"There's that new, fresh, exciting moment when you first get back on your bike to give it a really good exercise down the road. But with your skill set not being as good as when you put your bike away, because you haven't done it for a while, it's not the best thing to do.
"No matter how good you are, you can always improve. So try and get on an improvement scheme.
"Look at the state of your tyres. Just because they're legal, doesn't necessarily mean they're good enough to go on the road."
Dorset Police is also urging motorcyclists to take care on the county’s roads this spring.
The Force’s BikeSafe team have issued some useful tips and advice to ensure everyone stays safe while out on their bikes.
They are also encouraging motorcyclists to sign up to a life-saving BikeSafe course, which are being run across the county between March and September 2014.
Police Constable Chris Smith, BikeSafe Co-ordinator, said:
“After a long wet winter, the sun is finally out and this means bikers will be dusting off their machines and hitting the road.
“Now is a good time for bikers to check over their machines to ensure they are roadworthy and safe and brush up on their skills by doing a BikeSafe course.
“It is also important for all motorists to be aware that many of the roads are in a bad state following the heavy rainfall and floods. Motorcyclists should take extra care when out and about and remember the road surfaces may not be as smooth as expected.”
Bikers are urged to:
· Make yourself as visible as possible from the side as well as the front and rear.
· Wear a light or brightly coloured helmet and fluorescent clothing or strips.
· Put on your dipped headlights – even in good daylight.
· Be aware that other vehicle drivers may still not have seen you, or judged your distance or speed correctly, especially at junctions.
Any bikers interested in improving their riding and safety skills are invited to sign up to a BikeSafe course.
BikeSafe is a national police motorcycle casualty reduction scheme, run by bikers for bikers. It is available for anyone who rides a bike with an engine size of at least 250cc.
The courses are run in two parts over a weekend. The first part runs on the Saturday from 10am to 4pm and consists of a theory presentation which highlights the causes of accidents and the theory of advanced riding.
The second part of the course is an assessed ride which will take place on the Sunday between either 9am and 12 noon or 1pm and 4pm.
The course is subsidised by local councils and costs just £25.
Police Constable Smith said:
“We ride real bikes on real roads in real situations and plan routes to take in all the various road conditions that you might find in Dorset.
“Even the most experienced bikers could learn something on the BikeSafe course that may one day save their life.
“This course provides motorcyclists with a great opportunity to gain advice and tips on areas including cornering, overtaking, positioning and hazard perception.”
For full details, or to book a place on the course, please visit the national BikeSafe website www.bikesafe.co.uk.
Course dates and locations for 2014 are:
29 and 30 March – Wimborne, Allendale Centre
17 and 18 May - Wimborne, Allendale Centre
14 and 15 June – The Salthouse, West Bay
2 and 3 August - Wimborne, Allendale Centre
13 and 14 September - Wimborne, Allendale Centre
You can follow Police Constable Smith on Twitter @dorsetbikecop.