A good proportion of my constituency post bag is about the noise and speeding of motorcyclists on rural roads in Hampshire. There is no doubt this is a real problem with very large groups of bikers travelling on the county’s roads, particularly at weekends and on summer evenings when the noise can be continuous for residents.
Volumes of riders are high on the A272, A31 and the A32, which are real favourites, but other routes such at the Corhampton and Morestead road and several others down near Rowlands Castle and Denmead also have issues. These vehicles are presently allowed on the road just like any other, but many residents are fed up with the dangerous speed they travel through villages, some of their manoeuvres while on the road, road racing between bikers and the sheer noise of the high-performance machines with illegal track exhausts.
The letters and emails about this has got to such a level I have called for a meeting with the police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes and local parish and district councillors so that they can air their grievances. It’s clear that the police are the lead on this issue and have done work to try and address the problem. I know that new 360 degree mobile speed cameras can capture motorcycle registrations and I will be pressing that they are deployed more often at hotspots.
Now there are, of course, always issues about motorcycle safety – something that has rightly attracted a great deal of government money and high profile campaigns on television, and I accept that we are talking about a minority of bikers spoiling things for the law abiding majority. It’s a startling fact too that motorcyclists are roughly 35 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants, per mile ridden and in 2012, 328 motorcyclists died and 5,000 were seriously injured in road collisions in Great Britain. But perhaps some of the money properly spent on avoiding fatalities involving motorcyclists with slogans like ‘Think Biker, Think Bike’ should also be spent on educating that minority of nuisance riders of their responsibilities to residents living on routes they wish to ride.
Perhaps the slogan should be altered a little to: ‘Think Biker, Think Residents‘.