The FireBike Riders are all operational ESFRS personnel. Jon Baker (Battle Fire Station), Dave Thurston (Hastings Fire Station) and Clive York (Battle Fire Station).
Since the introduction of the FireBike initiative and selection of the riders, 2007 has seen the ESFRS motorcycle and riders attend a variety of events in support of, and along side, representatives from the Sussex Police Road Policing Unit.
The primary purpose of the partnership is to assist Sussex Police in bringing about a reduction in motorcycle related fatalities and serious injuries on Sussex roads through promotion of advanced training, following riding skills assessment via the Police BikeSafe scheme.
The aim of the scheme is to target the group which statistics have shown are at greatest risk, namely sportsbike riders in the age range of 35 - 45 years old.
This is achieved by attending public events, bike meets and Sussex Police BikeSafe days and talking to riders about motorcycle road safety issues and advanced rider training programmes.
Following the success of the scheme in 2007, the initiative will be run again in 2008.
Experience has shown that FireBike and PoliceBlade attendance at various events to date has generated a great deal of interest amongst motorcyclists. So much so, in fact, that there have been occasions when riders have been literally queuing up to talk to the ESFRS and Sussex Police representatives and look at the distinctive machines.
The response to the promotion of Bikesafe, advanced training and the FireBike initiative itself has been extremely positive. Naturally, it remains to be seen whether or not this will translate into increasing uptake both for BikeSafe and advanced training, leading to a reduction in motorcyclist casualties for Sussex over the coming years.
The motorcycles are instrumental in attracting riders' interest and drawing them in and provide an ideal initial talking point before moving on to BikeSafe and advanced training.
In addition to attracting the target group, the motorcycles also attract interest from enthusiasts of all age groups and backgrounds which may be of benefit, especially with regard to younger riders who have not yet progressed to ownership of large capacity sports motorcycles.
Motorcycle related fatalities and serious injuries continue to be a problem on Sussex roads.
The involvement of ESFRS through the FireBike initiative assists Sussex Police in raising the profile and uptake of BikeSafe assessment amongst motorcyclists, leading to more riders undergoing advanced training which will develop and improve their individual riding skills.
This will all go some way towards achieving a reduction in motorcyclist casualty figures in due course.