Nationwide roll out for Operation Zenith model of motorcycle safety campaigns
The Operation Zenith model of motorcycle safety campaigns is to be rolled out across Scotland following its success in engaging with motorcyclists in North-east Scotland.
Operation Zenith launched for its fifth and final year at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service base in Aberdeen on Friday, 14 March.
The scheme aims to reduce the number of collisions involving motorcyclists on Grampian's roads by adopting an innovative multi-agency approach to raising awareness of motorcycle safety.
The last four years of Operation Zenith have seen a steady reduction in the number of injury collisions involving motorcycles in Grampian and the campaign looks set to reach its target of a 15% reduction since 2009.
While this is the last year of the initial Operation Zenith campaign, partners are committed to continuing the campaign and are already in discussions about what form it will take in the future.
Police Scotland is adopting the Operation Zenith approach of engaging motorcyclists in a two-way dialogue, raising awareness of safety issues as well as a continued focus on enforcement of criminal behaviour, and the model will be adopted by police divisions across Scotland.
In the North-east Operation Zenith will this year host a number of exciting events to raise awareness of issues affecting bikers on roads in Aberdeen City, Shire and Moray.
Over the summer, police bikers will continue to speak to bikers using the most popular routes, offering advice and handing out a few freebies. A number of ride out events, giving bikers the chance to experience some of Grampian's greatest roads and get safety tips from expertly-trained police riders will be held through the summer.
One-day motorcycle training sessions, entitled Be A Better Biker, run by Operation Zenith in partnership with the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) will be held following the success of the pilot scheme last year.
Operation Zenith is also planning an event later in the year offering manoeuvrability training on the track, a ride out with trained motorcyclists and a raffle for some top motorcycle prizes.
The safety campaign will also have a presence at this year's Grampian Motorcycle Convention in September.
Aberdeen City Council's vice-convener of Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure Councillor Angela Taylor, launched this year's Operation Zenith. She said: "Since its inception, Operation Zenith has seen a steady decline in the number of motorcycle accidents which have resulted in injury. This has been a steady, multi-agency campaign which has delivered great results and has undoubtedly helped to save many lives.
"Operation Zenith plays a very important role in the road safety education of motorcyclists and other road users. The learning and skill improvement opportunities on offer, including the Be a Better Biker sessions and manoeuvrability training really do make a difference. One accident is too many, but if Operation Zenith were to help prevent even just one, then it would still be well worthwhile.
"There will always be more work to do and I am very pleased that, despite Operation Zenith coming to an end, its model will be replicated and rolled out across Scotland while the Operation Zenith partners have pledged to continue working together to ensure the North-East roads are as safe as possible for motorcyclists."
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council's Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: "When Operation Zenith launched it was an innovative approach to motorcycle safety, working with motorbikers and partners to raise awareness of safety issues in the north-east of Scotland.
"I am pleased to see that, with a year of the current operation left, we have seen a drop in motorcycle casualties in this area. This shows the positive impact of such an inclusive approach to road safety, but there is more work to be done and we will continue to strive to see the figures drop even further."
Chief Inspector Derek Hiley, of Aberdeenshire and Moray Division, Police Scotland, said: "Operation Zenith has been highly successful since its inception five years ago. We have seen a steady reduction in the number of injury collisions involving motorcycles.
"We are committed to keeping people safe and our message is clear we want people to enjoy the freedom of the road but to do so safely and responsibly. Anyone who chooses to ignore the safety message will be dealt with robustly.
"Operation Zenith has been a fantastic example of partnership working and we would like to thank our partners for their collective commitment to reducing road casualties involved in collisions on our roads."
Police Scotland will continue to target and enforce the minority of irresponsible bikers who choose to ride in a manner which presents a danger to themselves and others. This will be carried out on an intelligence-led basis, and the support of the public in identifying those few is sought in order that we keep people safe whilst travelling on Scotland's roads.
Operation Zenith is a partnership with Aberdeen City, Shire and Moray Councils, Police Scotland, the North East Safety Camera Partnership (NESCAMP), Community Safety Partnerships, the Scottish Ambulance Service, local motorcycle groups, Transport Scotland, BEAR Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).