Motorbike ratbags targeted - Police desperate to stop fatalities

A BRAZEN Queensland motorcyclist was nabbed travelling 70km/h over the speed limit at Fernvale last weekend during a major cross-border police crackdown on dangerous driving. The man, who was travelling with a female pillion passenger at the time, was detected by police doing 160km/h in a 90km/h zone on Tweed Valley Way. In another incident, a motorcyclist was slapped with a negligent riding charge after being caught travelling on his back wheel at 122km/h in an 80/km zone on Tomewin Road, Chillingham. The offenders were netted as part of Operation High Side targeting hoon behaviour, drink drivers, speed and general traffic offences. As part of Sunday's operation launch, police officers conducted 114 breath tests and issued 32 traffic infringements, including nine for%exceeding the speed limit. Of those, four motorists were detected travelling at more than 45km/h over the speed limit. Tweed/Byron Highway Patrol Sergeant Bill Darnell labelled the excessive speeds detected during the weekend blitz as "disappointing". "People driving at these sort of speeds are endangering themselves as well as other road users," Sgt Darnell said. The joint operation, involving Tweed/Byron Highway Patrol officers and Gold Coast police, follows a spate of motorcycle fatalities in the past 12 months, particularly on the Gold Coast. Motorcyclists on the NSW Far North Coast account for 35 per cent of road deaths. Combined with the Gold Coast region, they represent 40 per cent of all fatalities. In the past 12 months seven motorcyclists have died on Far North Coast roads, and on Saturday the Gold Coast recorded its 24th fatality for the year when a 39-year-old man died on the M1 at Pimpama, figures Sgt Darnell describes as "way above average". In light of spiralling motorcycle fatality rates, police are stepping up patrols in the border region and throughout rural pockets stretching to Numinbah. Sgt Darnell said police operations would continue to intensify on weekends and throughout the busy Christmas holiday period. He also urged local residents to remain vigilant and report any hoon behaviour to police. "The eyes of the commu-%nity are there to assist us, particularly if it is predictable," he said. Operation High Side continues until March.



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