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Finger points at the bikers

BRITAIN’S bikers are being blamed for making the notorious A537 Cat and Fiddle road a treacherous black spot.

BRITAIN’S bikers are being blamed for making the notorious A537 Cat and Fiddle road a treacherous black spot.

The stretch of tarmac has recently been named the most dangerous road in Britain according to recent statistics from the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP), which were highlighted in a recent ITV programme, Police, Camera, Action!

For more than eight miles from Macclesfield to Buxton, the pass climbs and falls, and twists and turns through the idyllic setting of the Peak District. But, as many Maxonians who use the road know, the picturesque pass is fraught with danger, thanks to riders "testing themselves to the limits".

Recent statistics show that road users are 30-times more likely to die on the A537 than on an average road.

Based on a calculation of accidents and volume of traffic and statistics from EuroRAP, the single-lane road has 250 fatal or serious accidents for every billion kilometres travelled on it.

And despite being highlighted in news coverage as amongst the worst for the past four years, the remote road – with no fixed speed cameras – draws riders and petrol heads from all over the UK to test their road handling skills.

There have been 43 fatal or serious crashes on the notorious road since 2001 and nearly three-quarters of those involved motorbikes.

And figures from EuroRAP show that if crashes involving bikes were removed from the data, the road would catapult from being a traffic black spot to one of the country’s safest.

Richard Nickson, road safety manager at Cheshire County Council, said that the behaviour of bikers is to blame for the high risk road.

He said: "The fact is that it’s an attractive road to motorcyclists – they see it as a challenge to ride with its hair-pin bends, limited views, downhill descent and uphill ascent.

"The thing that angers us most is not the fact that it’s dangerous, but that there are a group of people on that road who knowingly push the boundaries.

"We have tried to get the message across, that it is the emergency services that have to pick these people up off the road and have the duty of telling their families that they have killed themselves."

Inspector Gareth Woods, head of Macclesfield’s Neighbourhood Policing Unit, is also confident that education is the key to improving the safety of the road. He said: "It’s interesting to see that without the motorcycle accidents, it would actually be classed as one of the safest roads in Britain. Unfortunately, the more you tell people about how dangerous it is, the more bikers will want to come and use it."

Richard explained that due to the nature of the road, it is difficult to introduce permanent speed cameras.

At present, Inspector Woods is confident that a mobile CCTV van and specific police presence operation is a positive step to preventing road users from taking advantage from the lack of speed cameras.

Click on the video window to see our footage which shows just how many tight twists and turns there are on just a short stretch of the Cat and Fiddle road ...

 

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