ENVIRONMENT Minister Mark H Durkan has joined the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club to appeal to motorcyclists to take care on the roads on the eve of the Ulster Grand Prix.
Mr Durkan urged biking enthusiasts attending or watching the race to leave the high speeds to the professionals.
He said: “Those with an interest in road racing will need to be aware there is a big difference between racing behaviour on the circuit and every day riding behaviour on the road.”
The Minister made the appeal as road collisions have claimed more lives here in recent days, with motorcyclist deaths now at 10 this year.
Minister Durkan added: “Motorcyclists – think ahead and be aware of the danger around every corner and every turn. Extend your vision, look into the distance – check for vehicles emerging from junctions, commercial premises and driveways.
“Drivers – be bike aware. Take another look for motorcyclists and remember that underneath the helmet is someone’s father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, or best friend.
“I do not accept that anyone should ever die on our roads. Biking can be a great experience but, ridden inappropriately, a motorcycle becomes a lethal weapon. Bikers have a responsibility to ride their bike in a proper and safe manner.
“Be under no illusion, drivers and motorcyclists alike, you can never control the consequences if you speed.”
Clerk of the Course at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix Noel Johnston concluded: “I echo the Minister’s comments and can’t stress enough how important it is to keep the race in its place.
“Please keep your wits about you as you travel to and from the circuit, and indeed at any time you’re riding a motorbike. Above all, resist the temptation to break the speed limit or take any unnecessary risks, the high number of road deaths this year tell us that it’s just not worth it.”
The Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix runs from the 11th to 16th August 2014 in Dundrod, Co. Antrim.