Free ‘Biker Down’ training sessions following rise in fatalities

Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is continuing to hold free sessions on emergency first-aid for bikers following a rise in the number of motorcyclists killed on Oxfordshire’s roads during 2017.

While total fatalities fell from 32 in 2016 to 23 in the last 12 months, the number of motorcyclists killed rose from three to eight – accounting for more than a third of road deaths in 2017.

The Fire and Rescue Service’s Road Safety Education Team holds regular ‘Biker Down’ workshops for motorcyclists and other road users to learn what to do if they are the first person at scene of an incident - particularly one involving a motorcyclist. The workshops deliver basic first aid training, including when and how to remove a rider’s helmet. Bikers can also learn how to make themselves more visible to other road users.

Further training

Firefighters are also encouraging motorcyclists of all ages and experience to consider taking more practical training to improve road awareness and riding skills.

Road Safety Team Leader, Andy Ford said: “While it’s obviously good that the overall number of people killed on our roads is reducing, it’s a concern to see a rise in the number of biker fatalities.

“Compared with other road users, motorcyclists will always be more vulnerable to serious injury in a road collision or when losing control of their vehicle. No matter how long you’ve been a biker, you’re never too good and there are always new things you can learn from further training – both in terms of how you can help at the scene of an incident, and how you can be a safer rider.”

Becoming a safer rider

Andy, who is himself an experienced motorcyclist, recently attended a Bike Safe course run by Thames Valley Police.

He said: “I certainly learned a few things which I now put into practice when I’m riding. It’s not just the young or inexperienced rider who is at risk - those killed in Oxfordshire ranged from just 17 years old all the way up to 72.”

He added: “Regardless of the circumstances of individual incidents, it makes sense for motorcyclists to be mindful at all times of their relative vulnerability on the roads, and consider whether they could become a safer rider. That’s something I continue to do myself after 35 years on the road, and I’ve certainly benefited from the extra training I have attended. I would encourage every rider to attend even if they have been before.”

Skills and confidence

Oxfordshire County Council’s Deputy Leader Judith Heathcoat said: “People who have attended the Biker Down workshops have told us how much they value the information and skills they have taken away, and the confidence this has given them should they have to respond to an incident. There is also information on our website about opportunities for further road safety training for motorcyclists.”

For more information about the free Oxon Biker Down workshops, see their Facebook page. To register interest in attending a Biker Down workshop and go on a waiting list for notification of the 2018 dates/venues, email bikerdown@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Further information about practical training is available here

Photo: Firefighter Nathan Crockford carries out a demonstration with a colleague at a recent Biker Down workshop.