NPAS aircraft joins Op Darwen patrols

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce motorcycle-related deaths and serious injuries on the roads of North Wales officers from the Roads Crime Unit held a special operation over the weekend using the NPAS (National Police Air Service) fixed wing aircraft.

Officers in marked and unmarked cars targeted the A494, A5 and A487 in the Gwynedd South area on Sunday, 9 June, roads which feature in KSI (killed or seriously injured) statistics in the area.

Temporary Sergeant Leigh McCann of the Roads Crime Unit said: “The aircraft was useful in locating and directing officers on the ground to areas where motorcycles were seen being ridden in an anti-social manner.

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Course dates in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire County Council has announced courses for mature drivers and motorcyclists in 2024-25.

Dragon Rider is a motorcycle training course supported by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Enhanced Rider Scheme. The initial session is delivered via Microsoft Teams, which is then followed with the practical element which will be road based. This takes place a variety of roads throughout Pembrokeshire and neighbouring counties to meet the training needs of each individual rider, based on the advanced Police rider manual, Roadcraft.

Course dates
24 April 2024
22 May 2024
26 June 2024
17 July 2024
18 September 2024
23 October 2024
27 November 2024
15 January 2025
26 February 2025

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Police launch #OpDarwen Motorcycle Safety Campaign 2024

A campaign aimed at reducing the risk of motorcycle-related deaths and serious injuries on the roads is now underway across North Wales.

The annual Operation Darwen campaign runs from early Spring through until the autumn, covering a period that sees the highest number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured. The campaign is aimed at promoting rider safety and will see high visibility patrols being carried out along key routes which have been identified as risk areas.

Over the coming months, officers from the Roads Crime Unit will be on active patrol across the region and will also be engaging with riders at popular biker meeting spots.

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Drone helps to tackle illegal off-roading

Funding has been given to a project to fund two police officers and state-of the-art technology to help tackle illegal off-roading.

The initiative between Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly councils and Gwent Police has been operating since the start of November resulting in the seizure of 10 illegal off-road vehicles to date.

The local authorities have invested £122,220 Shared Prosperity Funding to fund the officers’ posts, as well as a drone, Land Rover and quad bike to catch people who ride scramblers, quad bikes and motorbikes illegally on the mountainsides.

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Advice for motorcycling in wet weather conditions

Riding in the rain - it’s probably fair to say that bikers in Wales will have lots of experience of this!

Nevertheless a few hints and tips from Wales By Bike will hopefully provide a useful reminder of how to ride safely in wet weather.

  • Traction is greatly reduced in the rain; it’s especially important that tyres are undamaged, inflated to the correct pressure and with good tread depth
  • Ride as smoothly as possible with careful, progressive use of the brakes and throttle
  • Wear proper rain gear, one or two sizes larger than you normally wear, so it fits over your normal PPE
  • Choose your lane position to avoid large amounts of surface water; look for dry tracks made by vehicles in front of you, as these sections allow greater grip for your tyres. Avoid puddles wherever possible - they may even be hiding a pothole
  • Use common sense; slow down in the rain and keep a safe extended following distance - at least double the distance you allow in dry conditions
  • If they really can’t be avoided safely, take slippery spots such painted lines and manhole covers as straight on as possible  
  • A rainbow patch on the road surface could be oil mixed with rainwater so early observations will allow you to avoid this hazard
  • Being tense on a your bike affects control and puts you at greater risk; stay relaxed and if the weather really becomes too bad, pull over
  • Bikers are even harder to see in the rain. Make yourself as visible as possible; hi-vis rain gear can be a good option. And remember to use your lights
  • Remember, when visibility is low it becomes even more important to ride so you can stop in the distance you can see to be clear

Rain or shine, each ride should ideally be smooth, relaxed and confident. Look well ahead and try to enjoy the experience, even if you’re soggy around the edges!

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Know the difference between e-bikes and electric motorcycles

Following a wave of seizures and arrests across the country, Road Safety Wales would like to clarify the difference between electric bicycles, commonly known as e-bikes, and electric motorcycles, as these are vastly different modes of transport.

An e-bike is an electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPC) which is equipped with an electric motor to assist a rider when they are pedalling. By law it cannot propel the rider on its own - if it does, it is classed as a motorcycle or moped.

To ride an e-bike, a person must be at least 14 years old. However, you do not need a driving licence and an e-bike does not need to be registered, taxed or insured.

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DVLA launches new online account for motorists

From today (2 August 2023), motorists can opt for digital vehicle tax reminders rather than having to wait for a paper reminder to drop through their letter box. The change comes as part of DVLA’s new Driver and vehicles account  service, which launches on GOV.UK today.

The new service, which allows motorists to easily access their driver and vehicle information in one place, has been launched as a public beta and DVLA are asking motorists to provide feedback to help develop the service.

The Driver and vehicles account is easy-to-use, secure, and it only takes around 5 minutes to sign up. Once an account has been set up, motorists can simply sign in using their email and password, and will be able to:

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Wales by Bike Prize Draw

Paul, a biker from Blackwood in south Wales, has been randomly selected as the winner of the Wales by Bike Prize Draw Survey.

Anyone who had completed a Welsh Government subsidised course was invited to fill in a survey and to be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win £250 from Road Safety Wales.

Welsh Government subsidised courses included:

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Courses available in Neath Port Talbot for 2023

Neath Port Talbot Council has announced a number of motorcycle courses for 2023, all of which are subsidised by the Welsh Government.

BikeSafe is national police run motorcycle initiative aimed at working with motorcycle riders, in a relaxed environment, to raise the importance and value of progressing onto accredited post-test training. The purpose of BikeSafe is to upskill riders, instil confidence and increase their depth of knowledge and understanding, with an aim to making them safer road users.

The BikeSafe assessment course involves a morning of discussion to explore the main riding hazards that riders face, whilst the afternoon consists of an observed ride with a police motorcyclist or an approved BikeSafe observer who will help determine strengths and weaknesses.

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Spring is in the Air – First Ride of the Year?

With the approaching Easter bank holiday weekend, the increasingly lighter days mark the start of the new motorcycling season for many riders.

Wales holds a major attraction for riders due to the uniquely challenging roads and breathtaking scenery.  Whilst the vast majority of motorcyclists show an excellent standard of riding, a small minority choose to use the roads as a racetrack, putting themselves and other road users in danger and risking life changing injuries or even death. Police forces across Wales will target these individuals in the coming months, giving the clear message that poor and anti-social riding behaviour will not be tolerated.

This could also be the first time in a few months that many motorcycles have been out of the garage. Before every ride, preparation is key to your safety.  Take a close look at your kit and your bike to ensure everything is in full working order, paying particular attention to the condition of your tyres, brakes and lighting – it could save your life.  Just as important is ensuring that you are well prepared; never ride angry, tired or impaired by drink or drugs.

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