An operation aimed at promoting rider and driver safety on the roads of North Wales will continue over the weekend.

Operation Darwen - an annual campaign which runs from early Spring through until the autumn, involves officers from the Roads Policing Unit, the Armed Alliance Unit and Special Constabulary Road Safety Unit patrolling and talking to drivers and riders at popular meeting spots. Colleagues from the Go Safe Road Safety partnership are also deployed on key routes across the region.

Superintendent Jane Banham from the Force’s Operational Support Services Unit said: “Tragically so far in 2018, we have already seen several fatal and serious collisions on the roads of North Wales. During 2017 there were eight fatal collisions involving motorcycles and so far in 2018 we have had eight – yet we are only in June.

“Reducing casualties on our roads remains one of our top priorities. We want people to enjoy coming to North Wales travelling on some great roads and enjoying the beautiful scenery, but most of all we want them to ride and drive safely and responsibly. Consideration need to be given to all road users, including drivers, riders, cyclists, walkers and more. The minority who use our roads as race tracks or ignore vehicle legislation are not welcome.

“All motorists must be aware that we are doing all we can to ensure our roads are used safely by all, with our dedicated Roads Policing Units taking robust action to prevent fatal or serious road traffic collisions.”

Operation Darwen patrols also includes looking at all vehicles and ensuring they are roadworthy and legal. Last weekend a member of the Special Constabulary Road Safety Team, who is also a qualified mechanic with the North Wales Police Fleet Department carried out checks on a motorcycle and discovered it had defective rear brakes. The right hand brake pad had completely worn out and was metal on metal. The left hand rear brake pad had actually broken away from its backing plate and was ready to fall out. This would have resulted in total rear brake failure.

Supt Banham added: “It doesn’t bear thinking about what would have happened had this been involved in a collision. The vehicle was issued with an PG9 roadworthiness prohibition notice and the rider was reported for the offence of driving a vehicle with defective brakes.”

Riders impaired by alcohol and/or drugs has also showed as an emerging trend in collisions as well as under-inflated and illegal tyres and officers are using every available opportunity to make the necessary vehicle checks. If anybody is suspected to be driving or riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs they are immediately tested at the roadside.

Officers are also checking number plates on all vehicles as part of the campaign and will take a zero-tolerance approach on those with illegal number plates or not displaying their number plates.

Supt Banham added: “It is extremely important that vehicle registration plates follow the correct guidelines. Firstly they must be fitted – we’ve had recent cases whereby cars have been found not displaying their number plates.

“Secondly they must be easy to read – not only be enforcement agencies but also by people who may witness collisions or a serious crime involving a vehicle.

“Sadly we see many motorcycles on the roads with illegal number plates – last weekend we stopped one motorcyclist who had ‘are you sure you can keep up’ in text on the registration plate. The question must be asked why do a minority have smaller plates? Those caught will be issued with a TOR (Traffic Offence Report) which will see them being fined £100.

“We would like to remind all motorists that it is illegal to alter the layout of a number plate, use a patterned background or use a non-standard font such as italics. Other illegal alterations – and we’ve seen them all, include the use of tape, screws and other objects to obscure part of the registration number.

“Our proactive patrols will continue and we would like to remind everybody that staying safe on the road applies to every single one of us, whether we have two or four wheels on our vehicle.

“I would urge riders and drivers to think about their behaviour and what changes they could make to improve their own safety and that of other road users.”

Anybody who has information regarding people who may be committing driving offences are urged to contact North Wales Police on 101 or via the live web chat Alternatively please contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Social media users can also follow the campaign via the #OpDarwen and #Fatal5 hashtags.