Bikers urged to do free road safety training after spate of fatal crashes in the South West

Motorcyclist at the roadshow at Damerells Motorcycles at Indian Queens Credit: ITV News

Motorcyclists are being encouraged to take further free road safety training after a string of fatalities on Devon and Cornwall's roads.

59-year-old David Crawford from Ivybridge died on the A38 at St Budeaux Thursday 12th May - a man has appeared in court charged with his murder.

On Monday 9 May, Boyd Smith, 34, from Beaworthy, died on the A3072 near Red Post near Bude.

39-year-old Benjamin Lavender died on the A390 at Lostwithiel on Wednesday 4 May.

Two weeks prior, Paul Parker and Pamela Osborne, a couple in their sixties from Truro, died following a collision with a van on the A39 near Bude on Monday 18 April.

Blood Bikes, RoSPA and the Institute of Advanced Motorists joined emergency services at Indian Queens Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police drone team

Bikers were invited to Damerells Motorcycles at Indian Queens to sign up to free rider safety sessions with the Institute of Advanced Motoring and RoSPA - Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Devon and Cornwall police joined road safety groups to talk about being alert to all dangers on the road.

Motorcycle Police Officer Ian Harvey said bikers do not have "that protective bubble" that other drivers have in vehicles.

"What I would like to say to the public is please, please, please, just think about your safety. I don't, and my colleagues don't, want to walk up your driveway at the end of each day and knock on your door and tell your loved ones you're not coming home."

He also encouraged riders to wear "high visibility jackets, brightly coloured helmets, putting things on your motorcycle that's going to get you seen".

Nikki Brockenshire attended today's safety roadshow with her husband. She used to ride when she was younger and last year retrained and completed her full license.

She says the recent number of deaths on the roads is "devastating" and it's made her more determined to attend more safety courses.

"The trouble is, a lot of the time it's not the bike riders fault. It's the driver maybe not seeing them."

"We do learn to ride quite defensively but we are always observant. One of the best pieces of information I've just been given from the police rider was to make sure that you don't switch off your brain until you switch off the engine because most of the accidents happen close to home.

Roy and Bridget Heath have been riding bikes for decades but say it's important to keep training. Credit: ITV News

Roy and Bridget Heath have been riding bikes for decades and now ride and socialise with RoSPA bike safe members.

Roy says "the standard we get tested to, it's the same as what they train the police on".

"We've been riding for a few years and it's changed my whole concept. When I'm on the road, I'm much more aware now of everything.

Bridget says "you never stop learning when you're riding motorbikes" but said it was "a pity" there weren't more younger riders came at Saturday's roadshow.

Their RoSPA tutor Chris Polawski says they retest their members every 3 years to keep their skills up but he admits it's been harder getting young adults to do the additional learning.

"It's quite hard to break into that because they've got their own social circles. But if we can maybe encourage them, we can break down that first barrier, make them feel welcome and actually get something out of it so that you can help them become a better rider."

Ian Findler, Cornwall Council Road Safety Officer, says statistically "the 16 to 24 age group of young riders seems to be one of our most at risk age groups".

He goes on to say building relationships with dealerships, and training providers could help "fill those gaps and encourage people to perhaps go into some post-test training or something similar".