Essex County Fire and Rescue's successful Firebike scheme is re-launching for 2011 and adding two new motor-biking firefighters to its panel of safety experts.

This year the scheme will visit hundreds of motorbike events with it two BMW motobikes and six riders. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service first launched FireBike in 2009 and the scheme was extended in 2010, it aims to make motorcyclists think about the best ways to keep themselves, and their passengers, safe on the roads of Essex.

After planning and preparation through the winter months FireBike2011 is now ready to go and will be taking to the roads to spread the message amongst the county's motorcyclists.

FireBike2011 is an RTC reduction education and publicity project run by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service with support from the Essex Casualty Reduction Board and in partnership with Cannon BMW motorcycle dealers, based in Braintree.

Husband and wife team. Sue and Bill Cannon, have loaned a top of the range bike to the service for the second year running as a way of attracting the attention of motorbike enthusiasts to the scheme. FireBike2010 riders are operational firefighters qualified to at least RoSPA Gold motorcyclist standard. They will use their experiences as both firefighters attending RTCs, and as motorcycle enthusiasts themselves, to engage with riders and their pillion passengers at motorcycle venues and events throughout Essex through the coming months.

Figures from Essex Police show that in the calendar year 2010, motorcycle killed and seriously injured fell by 13% compared with 2009 and in that same period motorcycle fatalities fell by 25%. Serious injuries also fell by 12%.

This reduction in motorcycle KSI results in a saving to the wider Essex economy of over £12m according to figures produced by the Department for Transport.

Andy Strougler, RTC Motorcycle Safety Co-ordinator, said: "This is a tremendous result and a reflection of the very real contribution that the FireBike product is making to reducing motorcycle deaths and serious injuries in Essex, and a tribute to the activities of our other partners such as the police and other members of the Essex Casualty Reduction Board.

"Last year also saw the addition of moped and scooter safety activities to the overall FireBike portfolio, in order to focus attention on this high risk group. The number of people killed and seriously injured on machines of 125cc and less, traditionally used by younger, less experienced riders, increased in Essex by 12.7% between 2008 and 2009.

"A dedicated moped and scooter safety presentation package was developed in partnership with the Young Essex Assembly, which is delivered to young riders between the ages of 16 and 20. This important piece of work will be continued and enhanced during 2011. "The FireBikes will be out and about the entire county from April to late October attending different motorcycling events and gatherings, engaging with riders and promoting the key FireBike messages.


Posted: 1105am, 28.04.11,