Plymouth bikers demand council's help to cut death toll
BIKERS in Plymouth say they are making good progress in setting up a road safety forum – but claim their main obstacle is still Plymouth City Council.
Pete Bourner, the Plymouth representative of The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), claims he has contacted the authority twice to set up a meeting, but says he has been "brushed off" on both occasions.
City MAG members are keen to help launch a major road safety drive to cut the worrying number of biker deaths and casualties in and around Plymouth.
Mr Bourner, aged 47, says he and fellow MAG members have received almost widespread support since announcing their intention to set up a form last week.
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But he said they continue to feel "let down" by the city council.
It comes despite Plymouth City Council stating it is "reviewing" its road safety work amid what it has called a "worrying rise" in casualties.
"We have three rider training schools interested, plus representatives of Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue, and the NHS but we are waiting on Plymouth City Council," Mr Bourner said.
"We just want to work together but we seem to be coming up against a brick wall.
"It's disappointing, we are upset and a little bit angry.
"We've tried twice to set up a meeting with the city council and we have been brushed off both times.
"We just seem to get a condescending email back each time.
"We just want to sit down and work out how to stop these deaths and injuries on our roads."
Police figures show Plymouth is a biker death hotspot, compared to other cities of its size.
Since July last year there have been six biker deaths on roads in and around Plymouth.
MAG's Plymouth members have compiled a report comparing death and injury tolls in 10 cities where the population is around 250,000.
Using police figures, it names Plymouth as third-worst for fatalities and serious injury collisions.
The city comes out as top for non-serious injury collisions, which include those leading to broken bones.
Mr Bourner said he has attended seven biker funerals in Devon in the last six months and now is the time to change the statistics.
"Plymouth has disgusting statistics for injuries and deaths of riders," he added.
"We are one of the worst places in the country for these statistics and that needs to change.
"It's not about slagging off road users. It's about getting the message across to all road users that we all need to take responsibility for our actions."
A spokeswoman for Plymouth City Council told The Herald last week: "We are aware of the worrying rise in the number of motorcycle casualties on our roads and are, with partners, reviewing the motorcycle road safety work we deliver."
The spokeswoman also refuted claims it does not want to work with the group adding: "It is not true to say we are not interested."
Council leader Vivien Pengelly also said the authority wants to help.
"We are all concerned about the number of motorbike accidents recently," Cllr Pengelly said.
"This idea of us all sitting down is a good way to help improve things and come up with some recommendations.
"I will make sure that a meeting takes place."