Police launch ‘live fast, die old’ bike campaign

Motorcyclists are being urged to stay safe on the roads this summer to avoid a day out turning to tragedy.

Inspector Ian Paul and Sergeant Kenny Strachan. Picture: Greg Macvean

Despite bikers making up just one per cent of road users, they are involved in 13 per cent of all fatal accidents.

Senior police officers are encouraging motorbike enthusiasts to “live fast, die old” by ensuring their skills are kept up to date.

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An ongoing campaign of the same name is being ramped up over the summer, which is inevitably the most popular time for bikers to take to the road.

Inspector Ian Paul, who heads up Police Scotland’s motorbike unit, said the drive was mainly aimed at “leisure” bikers aged over 40, who drive on rural roads over the weekend.

One in three fatalities happen on left-hand bends – and during the summer season, an average of one biker is killed every weekend.

Figures released by Transport Scotland last month revealed that 31 motorcyclists lost their lives on Scottish roads last year, while there was a total of 819 motorcycle casualties.

Insp Paul said the heartbreaking impact of a serious or fatal car crash could not be overstated.

“We deal with the human side of these crashes, dealing with families and friends of a fatality,” he said. “As a road policing officer, all the fatalities that we have been to, they were preventable. People don’t have to die on that particular day. It’s not like a disease.”

Insp Paul and his Capital-based colleague Sergeant Kenny Strachan stressed that their aim was not always to enforce – they also want to educate.

“We understand the thrill around motorcycling and why people want to do it but we’re trying to keep people safe on the roads,” said Insp Paul.

“Most of the crashes are preventable, someone has left their house that day and said goodbye to their loved ones – they expect to come back. Events that have led to the crash invariably could have been avoided.”

Sgt Strachan said: “Being a skilled motorcyclist is half the battle. If you lose control on a right hand bend you might run off the road and go through a hedge, but on the left hand bend you’ve got opposing traffic which could be a lot more serious.”

Motorcyclists are advised to take part in advanced driving courses, and to visit www.livefastdieold.scot or www.aroundthecorner.org.uk.