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GERMAN OFFICER SLAMS MAD SUNDAY

A GERMAN police officer who helped out during the TT has slammed Mad Sunday, saying it would be banned in his country.

Eugen Swoboda was one of two German officers who joined Island colleagues for the festival to help look after German fans.

But he was shocked by Mad Sunday, when the Mountain Road is made one-way and thousands of bikers take to the road to emulate their racing heroes.

In an article in the Sunday Times' Driving supplement at the weekend Mr Swoboda was quoted as saying: 'Skill levels here today have been crazy, bad and low.

'This could never happen in Germany. They would stop it within one minute.'

The Manx force refused to comment on Mr Swoboda's views, but media relations officer Inspector Peter Young slammed the article by Simon Potter.

The piece – headlined An Open Road to Death – condemned Mad Sunday in an article which mixed up racing statistics, such as the 200-plus deaths on the TT circuit, with open-road activities.

It reported bikers claim to have reached 150mph on the open road, up to one million miles are covered on the day and quoted road safety experts who slam the event. The report also claimed making the Mountain section one-way created a race track for riders with little experience.

This year police dealt with fewer than 20 Mad Sunday accidents, none of which caused serious injury.

But Inspector Young said the article was another example of a UK journalist blurring the edges between racing and open roads.

'From a policing perspective TT Sunday is not that much different from every other day of the week during the race festival,' he said. 'Many motorcyclists come to the Island to enjoy being able to ride on the open roads which, when closed, form the TT course.

'The author and some of those who have made comment have totally failed to recognise the amount of planning and work that goes into ensuring that accidents are reduced, those who choose to break the law are dealt with, those who ride dangerously are stopped and every precaution to prevent accidents is reviewed and updated on an annual basis.'

He said the traffic department is 'dramatically' increased during the festival, speed limits are 'rigidly enforced and motorists are advised not to travel against the TT course.

'On TT Sunday the Mountain section is one-way simply because of the massive flow of traffic and the increased chances of head-on collisions,' Inspector Young added.

'It is a road safety measure – not to allow people to race.

'We cannot legislate for the occasional person who chooses to ignore advice or fails to read the signs or the roads. That is a choice made by them and when they do this it is certain an appearance before our courts or the Island's excellent accident and emergency department will follow.'

He said: 'The festival in general sees motorcyclists covering many miles on our country roads – the author randomly picks out a figure of one million miles on TT Sunday alone.

'Maybe he should compare our "open road" accident rate with other areas in an accident to mileage-covered ratio. I cannot because the mileage covered would only be an arbitrary figure and we deal in facts.

'If he can produce facts to show other areas have a better accident to mileage figure than the Island we would welcome advice and ideas from that area.'

 
 
 

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