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BikeWise 2019

BikeWise 2019

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Motorcycle Action Week

Think BikeOfficers from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operation Unit will this week be focusing upon motorcyclists as part of the  National Police Chief’s Council week of action.

In England and Wales during 2014 the number of serious injuries as a result of motorcycle collisions was at the highest level since 2009.
Based on the most up to date analysis covering 2014 however the total numbers of motorcyclist casualties in the North East however remain amongst the best in the country.

Bucking the national trend across Cleveland and Durham force areas actually fell in 2014 by 17% over 2013 taking it to the lowest number of motorcyclist casualties in ten years.
Despite our relative success however a number of riders across the region have died or received life changing injuries as a result of a collision and given their lack of passive safety any motorcyclist involved in a collision remains extremely vulnerable.
During 2014 the total number of motorcyclists casualties resulting from in collisions in Durham force area was 111 with a further 68 in Cleveland.

To remind riders of their  vulnerability and to encourage them to take responsibility we have deployed the motorcycle advisory safety signs across the two force area in addition however many of these signs are also aimed at other road users to remind them to look out for bikes when for example at junctions where in there quarters of collisions the motorcyclist was not the most blameworthy vehicle.
In addition we held a BikeSafe workshop on Saturday providing riders with the opportunity to reflect upon their  own skills when accompanied by a police rider and the opportunity to take up advanced riding skills through the IAM,  further dates will be released throughout the year and more detail can be found on the BikeSafe website
We have released an article with advice on preparing your motorcycle particularly important when many bikes will have been stood up over winter.

Sgt Iain Rodgers said :  ‘Officers across Cleveland and Durham will be actively engaging with motorcyclists to make sure they’re machines are fit and appropriate for the road and to remind riders of their own vulnerability, as well  as checking over machines we will also urge all riders to take responsibility for their own riding by taking the next step to get some advanced training and reduce their chances of becoming a statistic  ultimately we don’t want riders to learn by accident so let’s build upon our positive downward trend and keep our roads amongst the safest in the country !’.

Durham Advanced Motorcyclistswho are the countrys top IAM motorcycle group & have worked closely since their formation in 1995 can be reached via their website -

In addition 48 signs, advising motorists & motorcyclists of potentional dangers have been placed at the following locations :

Stockley Lane; B6301 Dan Castle; B6302 Cornsay Colliery; B6301 Lanchester; B6296 Lanchester dairies; B6296 High Stoop; B6296 High Stoop to Wolsingham; B6296 Wolsingham; A68 Harperley; A68 Hummerbeck; A688 Coundon Gate; A68 west Auckland; A688 West Auckland; B6279 Staindrop-darlington; B6279 Staindrop-Kinninve; A688 Bowes; B6277 Barnard Castle; Startforth; A167 Nevilles Cross; A691 Lanchester; A691 Witton Gilbert; Castleside Healeyfield Lane; Crawleyside; Edmundbyers x 2;
B6278 Stanhope; B6278 Stanhope to MIT; St. johns-langdon Beck; Langdon beck to St Johns; A689 Lane head; Teesdale county boundary; B6277 High Force; B6277 Newbiggin; B6277 Egglestone; A688 Thinford; A688 Tursdale; A177 Shincliffe;
A181 Sherburn Road; Broomside Lane Belmont; A690 Gilesgate; A177 South Road; A690 Stone Bridge; A167 Sniperley; A691 County Hall; Little Thorpe RAB; Bradbury; A691 Leadgate.

BikeSafe 2016 (Durham & Cleveland)


Since its inception in 1995, the BikeWise approach to reducing the risks that motorcyclists are exposed to has hinged upon Durham Police Motorcyclists engaging with riders on our roads.
Our success over the years resulted in BikeWise as a casualty reduction strategy being awarded the Highways Magazine Excellence Award, as Road Safety Scheme of the year in 2008. This was followed up in 2009 when BikeWise was awarded the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award.
Since it started in 2008 until the end of 2012 BikeWise Training was delivered to approximately 500 riders by ex -Durham motorcycle officers Bob Brown and Mick Alder.
Many of these riders went on to gain IAM and RoADAR qualifications.

From 2013 officers from Durham Constabulary Motorcycle Section have been successfully providing BikeSafe workshops, and the feedback up to now has been excellent.

BikeSafe is a national police led motorcycle project that is run by most forces throughout the UK. The main aim is to reduce motorcycle related road casualties and by improving skills, knowledge and hazard awareness it will hopefully make riding safer and more enjoyable.

The BikeSafe workshop’s which we run, explore the main issues facing today’s bikers. It also explores the principles of advanced riding through the on-road element. The BikeSafe Durham Police observer will give assessment and feedback which will highlight areas where the rider needs to develop. BikeSafe is about starting on the right path to development as it "Bridges the Gap".

All motorcyclists in possession of a category A, A1 or A2 licence are welcome on our workshops provided they have passed their test, but If you have only just passed your test you would benefit from getting at least a few months of riding experience without ‘L’ plates before attending your BikeSafe workshop.  BikeSafe workshops are not aimed at riders who have passed an advanced motorcycle test already.
Most types of motorcycle are welcome ie. Category A1 light motorcycle, Category A2 restricted motorcycle, or category A unrestricted motorcycle. BikeSafe is not suitable for mopeds or 125 cc learner bikes. Category A1 bikes that are not learner and are capable of national speed limits are welcome. Whatever bike you bring it must be in a legal roadworthy condition.
Our 2016 courses are being run between 9am and 5 pm from our new base at Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, Spennymoor Police Office, Wesleyan Road, Spennymoor, Co. Durham DL16 6FB.
The format of the day consists of an interactive presentation by Advanced Police motorcyclists in the morning, followed by an on road assessed ride in the afternoon.
The cost for your BikeSafe Durham workshop is £20. For this you will get the workshop presentation and assessed ride as described, a copy of Motorcycle Roadcraft and the Highway Code, plus refreshments including lunch will be provided during the day.
During your day you will get the option to enrol on an IAM ‘Skills for life’ riding course in the weeks ahead with Durham Advanced Motorcyclists (DAM), and provided you work through their package to test standard then you will receive a £75 refund towards your training from the Durham Road Safety Partnership. You will have an opportunity during your day to speak to someone from DAM about this great offer, and even enrol on the day if you wish.
By providing feedback via the BikeSafe website you will also receive a BikeSafe certificate. Gift vouchers are also available if required.
If you are now ready to ‘Bridge the Gap’ with a BikeSafe Durham workshop, then you can book your 2016 place straight away by clicking the National BikeSafe button above, where you will also find all relevant workshop information. Hope to see you in 2016! 

Dates for the 2016 Durham BikeSafe workshops are to be released over the coming months. The next workshop date to be released is  Saturday 9th April and this will available to book on the BikeSafe website on Monday 7th March.

There are only ten (10) places on each workshop so please contact BikeSafe and book your place as they will quickly be taken.

Next meeting of the BikeWise Mini Bike Club


The first  meeting of 2016 for the BikeWise Mini Bike Club will be on :

Sunday 27th March at Carrville Park & Ride, Durham.

Usual start time of 1030hrs with signing on from 1000hrs.

If you can help to set up the track or take it down at the end it would be appreciated.
If anybody can marshal , see the girls at the signing on desk, sign the form and then well tell you what to do :-)

Fingers (& toes) crossed that the weather will be ‘kind’ to us on the day as its been a long wet /cold winter !!

Please check website / Facebook / Twitter if you have any doubt about the weather.
Any cancellation will be posted by 0915hrs.

Respect Your Machine And Your Machine Will Look After You.

As the start of motorcycle season looms upon us PC Tony Richmond one of the motorcycle section instructors offers the following advice …   
Many machines will have been laid up over the winter and you really don’t want to be left standing at the side of the road waiting for recovery as your mates ride off into the distance or more importantly facing a sudden and dangerous mechanical failure that has you off your bike facing all that brings with it!
So ideally a full service from a competent mechanic at the start of the biking season sets a good benchmark and you know the machine is safe.
Whilst modern motorcycles are pretty reliable they’re not immune to wear and tear or component failure so relying on the service is not enough, a few basic checks before every rideout will help you identify problems that you can resolve to keep you safe over the next few weeks and months.                                              
The best way to start a rideout is not on the bike but a few minutes in the comfort of your own garage with a warm brew close to hand.
Get into the habit of performing a systematic drill of the key issues that need checking on your bike and if you perform this in the same order each time it’ll  become instinctive so you’re less likely to forget something.
I like to start with a brief general visual check over the machine then I grab at parts of the bike such as mirrors, rear rack, Reg plate, body panels, panniers etc. just to make sure nothing has vibrated loose during the last ride it’s surprising just how much vibration a bike can produce and even the tightest fittings can loosen over time.
Whilst doing this I also check the floor under the bike for any fluids a sure sign of a leak and also and the bike itself, if you see fluids trace them back before you move the bike to see where they’ve come from and if in doubt seek advice.
So fluids …
Manufacturers (with a couple of exceptions!)  have made it easy for us to check fluid levels with generally nothing other than our, we generally have four types of fluid to worry about oil, clutch/brake, coolants and suspension.
Oil is the lifeblood of the engine and many bikes will use oil in normal conditions so it will naturally go down.
It’s critical that you monitor the oil level and top it up as necessary using the correct grade of motorcycle oil – an engine with no oil will eventually seize and if you’re riding it at the time that could have serious consequences.
On most bikes you can check your oil through the inspection glass, some have a  tube or dipstick but remember irrespective perform this check in line with the manufactures guidelines which can vary from model to model. (Warm oil, Centre stand, Bike upright etc.).
Clutch and brake fluid levels are readily checked through small inspection windows in the reservoirs or through a translucent reservoir, most bikes have a front and rear reservoir for brake fluid and some have an additional clutch reservoir although many rely upon cables for the clutch , make sure you know where yours are.
If they do need topping up check for leaks and then only use new brake fluid from a sealed container.
When checking the brake/clutch fluids also pull the levers to ensure the correct resistance is present.
Coolant levels can be checked through the translucent expansion bottle marked with Max and Min levels, the location of this can vary but in many bikes is to be found in the front inner fairing close to the radiator and again if the levels are down first check for leaks and top up as necessary.
Fluid is also present in the suspension so check front forks stanchions for signs of oil loss through the seals which will impact upon handling and stability and also a rear shock absorber may rarely blow a seal dumping oil on the back tyre – it’s nothing other than a quick visual check and a feel about but a blown rear shock in particular can make things very interesting! 
If your bike doesn’t have a fluid based clutch and brake lever then it will rely upon cables so test each lever to see if your cable is moving freely and smoothly whilst keeping an eye out for any damage or frayed areas and lubricate the cables from time to time following the manufacturers advice on the correct lubricant.
Wheels and Tyres…
Tyres keep you on the road it’s as simple as that.
Consult your handbook or a label attached to the bike for the correct tyre pressures and in the main these should be checked using a tyre pressure gauge when cold to give the most accurate reading – the wrong pressures can dramatically alter the grip and handling of your bike as well as increasing wear rates.
Also check the tread depth around the entire circumference of the tyre, look at the surface for signs of damage or objects such as nails, glass etc. stuck in the surface that may not have caused an obvious puncture and feel for bulges – if you’re in any doubt get them checked a sudden tyre failure can be catastrophic.
Remember the minimum legal tread depth for a motorcycle tyre is 1mm and towards the end of a tyre’s life it can get down to this level very quickly particularly on sports bikes so make sure you can complete your journey legally!
Check the wheel rims for dings or cracks as a dented rim can cause a tyre to suddenly deflate and can also cause handling problems.
Spoked wheels also demand special attention and you need to make sure the spokes are all still under tension, do this by gently tapping them, a loose spoke will have a lower and dead sound. If necessary tighten any loose spokes but make sure you aren’t just compensating for a dented rim.
You should take a look at each and every light, operate all of the switches on and off several times and check for warning lights on the when the engine is running.
So include your headlights, both high and low beam, brake lights, tail lights and indicators and make sure the brake light operates from both the front lever and rear pedal and don’t forget to test the horn too and make sure your lights are clean they’re no good if they can’t be seen.
Drive Chain/Belt
A chain failure when you’re riding can cause can cause massive and critical damage to the bike and to the rider neglect it at your peril!
Start by simply looking at your chain (Assuming it’s not shaft driven !) it shouldn’t look dry or rusty and shouldn’t have a significant sag at the bottom, make sure it’s lubricated on a regular basis with an appropriate product and then feel the play to ensure that it’s tensioned correctly (check the manufacturers specifications), lift the back wheel if possible and spin it to check that all the links are links in good condition and haven’t seized.
Also check the front and rear sprocket for any excessive wear or damage to the teeth.
A worn chain and/or sprockets should be replaced and again seek advice if you’re unsure.
You should inspect a belt driven bike in a similar way but be guided by the manufacturer.
This may have taken a while to put into typed words but in reality it takes only a few minutes at most to carry out and it give you a better understanding of your machine, the confidence that your motorcycle is safe for the road and less likely to break down on a rideout leaving you to focus on your riding skills and the road ahead.
More importantly a motorcycle is the sum of its parts it’s no good checking the chain when you have no oil or having a perfect machine with no brake fluid so get in the habit of checking everything, remember respect your machine and it will look after you !
Safe Riding
PC Tony Richmond