A road safety campaign has been launched in a bid to cut deaths and injuries among motorbikers.
In Hartlepool there have been 224 motorbikers hurt, with two killed and 69 seriously injured, between 2012 and 2016.
Now with Easter almost upon us and spring weather approaching, more and more bikers are likely to take to the roads, which will lead to a higher risk of collisions and deaths.
According to recent figures, bikers are 55 times more likely to be killed in a road crash than car drivers.
Road Safety GB North East said between 2012 and 2016, 2,345 motorcyclists had been killed or injured in the region, with 780 being seriously injured and 52 killed.
The road safety group and police across the region are urging bikers to take it easy when out on the roads and are appealing for motorists to take a second look for bikes before pulling out of junctions or attempting to overtake.
Paul Watson, chairman of Road Safety GB North East, said the majority of motorcyclist fatalities involved bikes over 500cc, and 71% occurred on urban roads, rather than in rural areas.
“While motorbikes account for less than 1% of total miles travelled in the North East, motorcyclists account for 19% of people seriously injured or killed on the roads, which is quite a startling figure,” he said.
“We are delighted to see that the number of motorcycle casualties across the region has decreased by 16% since 2012, but we are still seeing a high number of fatalities, and collision figures are way off where we would like them to be.
“Failing to look properly is a factor in many road collisions, and collisions involving motorbikes are no different.
“It may be that the biker hasn’t looked properly or is travelling too fast or not in accordance with the conditions or road.
“Sometimes they simply lose control of their bike.
“However, it could also be down to drivers failing to spot a motorbike when they are pulling out of a junction, or when they go to overtake.
“Bikers are more vulnerable to serious injury, so we urge everyone to take it easy, to drive or ride sensibly, and to look out for each other. It could save a life.”
Almost all motorcyclists, 97%, injured on the region’s roads since 2012 live in the region, and most people were injured on their home local authority’s roads.
Inspector Darren Breslin, of Cleveland and Durham Special Operations Unit, said: “The figures in terms of motorcyclist casualties and fatalities speak for themselves, and particularly around bank holidays we need to raise awareness for other road users to take extra care and reinforce safety messages as there are more bikers present on the roads.
“There are precautions that need to be taken all year round, but figures show that bikers are more likely to be out on roads around bank holiday weekends.
“Drivers need to be aware so that extra care can be taken, particularly at junctions and when overtaking.
“Motorcyclists themselves also need to take extra care and drive appropriately for the road conditions.”