Bikers involved in a quarter of fatal road accidents in county

The Biker Down course PNL-151008-164520001
The Biker Down course PNL-151008-164520001

Motorcyclists make up just one per cent of the traffic on the roads of East Sussex, yet they are involved in just over a quarter of all fatal or serious collisions.

Biker Down Sussex, a scheme led by a dedicated team of volunteers headed up by coordinator Clive York, is working to change this sobering statistic.

A Sussex firefighter of 26 years, Clive has been responsible for the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s Firebike scheme, promoting safer riding, since 2007.

Clive said: “I’m just passionate about keeping people safe on the road, especially those on powered two-wheelers.”

Biker Down was first introduced by Kent Fire and Rescue Service in 2011 before being brought over to East Sussex.

The Biker Down Sussex team was first formed in 2013, holding two pilot workshops in February, 2014, with the first official workshop at Hastings Fire Station in July, 2014.

Clive said: “Biker Down is aimed at all powered two wheelers who happen to come across an accident involving either another motorcyclist or other road user.

“Most people are not quite sure what to do, but Biker Down will give you an insight into what needs to be done before the arrival of the emergency services.”

The workshop is broken down into three modules.

The first deals with accident scene management, with participants learning how to secure the scene and maintain a cool head while contacting the appropriate blue light service. Module two teaches first aid while module three is all about the ‘science of being seen’.

Biker Down is a partnership between East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and Sussex Police.

PC Phil Barrow, of Polegate Road Policing Unit, explained: “It’s a worthwhile workshop that motorcyclists need to come on to improve their skills. From a police point of view, it’s good that someone can take control at an accident scene. They can get on the phone to us, but they can also be doing stuff while we get to them.”

The course attracts bikers of all ages, from teenagers up to those in their 70s, from West Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset.

All the Biker Down workshops are fully booked up until September, but there are still a few places left for the June 13 workshop at Maresfield.

Other free workshops will run on September 19 at Lewes, October 11 at Uckfield, November 14 at Bexhill and December 5 at Hove. To book a place, email firebike@esfrs.org

The scheme, which is run entirely by volunteers with a shared passion for biking.

Andy Sullivam, who gives up his free time to run the courses said: “If bikers go away with one thing that changes the way they ride, it could potentially make a difference.”

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