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Warning after death of motorcyclist

PUBLISHED: 10:52 06 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:39 01 August 2010

ROAD safety bosses are calling on motorcyclists and drivers to be take more care following the latest tragic death on the A146 to Beccles.

The warning comes after the death of a 43-year-old rider who collided with a car just outside of Norwich on Sunday evening.

ROAD safety bosses are calling on motorcyclists and drivers to be take more care following the latest tragic death on the A146 to Beccles.

The warning comes after the death of a 43-year-old rider who collided with a car just outside of Norwich on Sunday evening.

The crash happened at the junction with Kirby Road, in Bixley, at around 4.05pm and involved a black Suzuki motorcycle a black Mercedes.

The rider was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital but died overnight. Police said they were likely to identify the causality later today.

The tragedy marks the seventh motorcycle death on the county's roads so far this year, following from 13 motorcycle fatalities in 2008.

Despite only making up 1pc of the county's traffic, motorcyclists make up 34pc of road deaths in Norfolk - a figure which has risen steeply from just eight deaths a year in 2005 and 2006 to 15 a year later. In 1996 there were just two motorcycle deaths.

“You can have a major crash in a car and walk away with some bent metal,” warned the county council's road safety officer for motorcycles, Andrew Micklethwaite. “But motorcyclists are very vulnerable. As soon as you fall off it's a question of luck, you roll along the road and you could hit anything - a lamppost, another vehicle.”

However the number of serious motorcycle crashes has reduced in recent years. After rising from 98 in 2005 to a peak of 125 in 2007, the figure reduced by 29pc to 89 in 2008. Meanwhile the number of slight injuries has reduced slowly from 278 in 2005 to 244 last year.

Norfolk County Council's Think Bike campaign aims to hammer home the startling figures to both car and motorcycle riders with a series adverts on busses, in print, and in packs given out to riders at motorcycle dealerships.

The council's road safety team also take 150 riders a year on their Safe Rider scheme, which sees motorcyclists given theory in the classroom and taken out riding in groups for advice and assessment.

A new scheme, the Hugger Challenge, also sees motorcyclists offered a heavily subsidised post-test assessment that can earn riders cash off their insurance premium. The scheme has already attracted 70 riders since its launch in August.

Mr Micklethwaite added: “Sometimes crashes will not be related to road condition or anything, they just happen. Someone made a mistake somewhere along the line and it had tragic consequences.

“The problem with Norfolk is there's no specific problem area or junction, which makes it hard to address.

“Even if a motorcyclist isn't responsible for a crash that's a small comfort from a hospital bed. We need to get people into training to get them better prepared for the environment that faces them.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash and officers would like to hear from witnesses about the manner of driving of both vehicles. Witnesses should contact the Serious Crash Investigation Team on 0845 456 4567.

Do you want to pay tribute to the victim of Sunday's crash? Contact reporter Rob Garratt on 01603 772439 or email rob.garratt@archant.co.uk.

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