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A494 - Road Safety Initiative

The Easter Bank Holiday weekend traditionally sees a large gathering of motorcycling enthusiasts taking to the roads of North Wales. The ‘A494 Road Safety’ public engagement day held at the Ponderosa Café at the Horseshoe Pass Complex, Llangollen, a popular meeting place for motorcyclists, on Bank holiday Monday 21st April 2014, provided a unique and informative way of reaching out to motorcycle users to inform them of the potential risks they face when travelling the route.

A joint task force of organisations from across North Wales (the North Wales Fire & Rescue Service, Welsh Ambulance Service, Trunk Roads Agency, Gwynedd Council, Snowdonia National Park, BikeSafe, GoSafe and North Wales Police) have collaborated to address this road safety issue that affects in particular, the section of the A494 between Corwen (A5 junction) and Bala.
 
A key aim of the partnership is to raise awareness of the dangers facing motorists, in particular motorcyclists, when driving this notoriously beautiful but challenging route.
 
Representatives from the partner organisations participated in the initiative on the day, which, along with guest appearances and volunteers made the day’s events both interactive and enjoyable for those visiting the area.
 
A number of key messages were on display including newly installed signposting as well as a specially designed leaflet highlighting precautions that motorcyclists can take to ensure their safety on roads in the region.
 
Colin Jones, Gwynedd Council’s Road Safety Manager said:

“As Chair of the Partnership and Focus Group, I would like to thank all Partners for their contribution and for their commitment during the past 12 months to reduce motorcycle related casualties on the A494. We recognise that road traffic collisions involving motorcyclists can often have tragic consequences many of which are entirely avoidable.
 
“I believe the Partnership has taken significant steps in the field of education, engineering and enforcement to try and reduce unnecessary deaths and injuries along this route.
 
“As a road safety professional and motorcyclist, I believe that Partnership working is key to the success and longevity of this project and driving down casualty statistics involving motorcyclists who use the A494.”
 
Adding to those comments, Superintendent Rob Kirman, who is in charge of North Wales Police’ Roads Policing Unit said:

“We identified the need to raise awareness of motorcycle safety many years ago to help reduce road traffic casualties amongst motorcyclists. It is not about alienating the motorcycling community – it is about education and enforcement for those that commit offences.
 
“We are committed to keeping people safe on the roads of North Wales. We want them to enjoy the roads but most of all we want them to ride safely and responsibly.
 
“Responsible riders are welcome to visit the area and take in the stunning scenery and landscape, but they should be aware that they face risk of death or serious injury by underestimating the risk posed by fatigue brought on by a combination of driving long distances and concentrating on navigating challenging and unfamiliar routes.”
 
Motorcyclists are more at risk of being killed or seriously injured in a road traffic collision than any other road user, representing 1% of road traffic but accounting for 18% of all fatalities.
 
Superintendent Kirman added “North Wales Police are pleased to have worked in partnership with the various organisations that have supported this latest initiative to make North Wales a safer environment to visit and enjoy.
 
“I would also urge bikers to take the opportunity to enhance their skills through training and attend the free Bikesafe workshops. Bikesafe is an accredited scheme which is run nationally by police forces which aims to reduce motorcycling casualties.”
 
Further details regarding the free Bikesafe workshops are available via the Bikesafe website – www.bikesafe.co.uk