OpDarwen Annual Road Safety Campaign begins

A campaign aimed at reducing the risk of motorcycle-related deaths and serious injuries on the roads is now underway across the region.

The annual Operation Darwen campaign, which runs from early Spring through until the autumn, is aimed at promoting driver and rider safety and will see high visibility patrols being carried out along key routes which have been identified as risk areas.

The campaign sees officers from the Roads Policing Unit, the Armed Alliance Unit and Special Constabulary Road Safety Unit engaging with riders and drivers at popular meeting spots. They are also working closely with Dyfed Powys Police along the border routes and colleagues from Go Safe are also being deployed as part of the operation.

Officers are also reminding motorists that they can submit dash cam footage of any driving offences they witness on the roads of North Wales as part of All Wales’ Operation Snap.

The operation – which involves members of the public submitting their dash cam footage or photographs as evidence has the full support of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Superintendent Jane Banham, Head of Specialist Operations at North Wales Police said: “We look at all motorists as part of the Op Darwen campaign and we will continue to target, with a view to prosecution, all those that ride or drive dangerously, at excess speed, overtake on solid white lines or commit any other road traffic offences.”

During 2017 there were 80 KSI (killed or seriously injured) collisions involving motorcycles in North Wales. The greatest proportion of riders involved in KSI collisions from outside the force area were from the Merseyside and Lancashire areas.

Riders impaired by alcohol and/or drugs showed as an emerging trend as well as under-inflated and illegal tyres.

Over the weekend Op Darwen patrols continued across the region and several TORs (Traffic Offence Reports) were issued. One motorcyclist will also be going to court after being clocked travelling at 106mph on the EVO Triangle and a car driver was clocked driving at 100mph on the A5.

Supt Banham added: “Reducing casualties on our roads remains one of our top priorities. We want people to enjoy coming to North Wales travelling on some great roads, but most of all we want them to ride and drive safely and responsibly.

“Our officers – as well as partners from other emergency services see far too many tragedies, many preventable on the roads. Staying safe on the road applies to every single one of us, whether we have two or four wheels on our vehicle. I would urge riders and drivers to think about their behaviour and what changes they could make to improve their own safety and that of other road users.”

North Wales Police are also encouraging bikers to ensure their machines are ready for the months ahead. For many it is a leisure activity which can see their bikes put away throughout the winter months and then brought out and used straight on the roads. As part of the operation, officers will also be checking that bikes are roadworthy, paying particular attention to tyres. Worn or under inflated tyres on motorcycles have been one of the most common themes during collisions, and yet is easily prevented by riders doing basic checks.

Routine patrols will also continue along a stretch of road known commonly as the EVO Triangle which covers parts of the A5, the B4501 and the A543 in the Cerrigydrudion and Pentrefoelas areas.

Superintendent Banham said: “We are aware of local concerns around the EVO Triangle route. It is an area where families regularly visit and are being put at risk by the unreasonable actions of some riders and drivers who are converging from all over the UK to use these roads as race tracks.

“Last year many motorists were caught riding or driving at over 100mph in the 60mph zones, which is clearly unacceptable.

“Sadly we have also seen fatalities on this route therefore we will continue to target all those who drive or ride in an unacceptable manner.

“Op Darwen is not about spoiling people’s fun but encourages riders and drivers to be safe and competent with the aim of reducing the number of collisions.”

Bikers are also being encouraged to improve their biking skills by taking part in *free BikeSafe workshops which are a mix of theory and practical sessions designed to further enhance the skills of riders. These are suitable for all abilities, from the most seasoned rider to those returning to biking after a period of absence.



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