By DAISY SAMPSON
POLITICIANS, BIKERS and members of the emergency services gathered on Sunday at the Algarve motor park to commemorate the world day of remembrance for road traffic victims.
More than 500 motorbikes travelled in convoy from Faro to the park near Portimão to raise awareness of the dangers of the roads with the message of the day being “Don’t treat the road as a racetrack, road safety depends on you.”
Civil Governor Isilda Gomes was present at the event with the internal administration minister Rui Pereira, Portimão Câmara President Manuel da Luz, Parkalgar CEO Paulo Pinheiro and Parkalgar Honda racer Miguel Praia.
Rui Pereira told The Resident: “This may be the winter of our discontent in Portugal but the sunshine in the Algarve always makes it feel like the summer,” in reference to the current economic problems facing the country.
As the motorbikes filed into the paddock area waving road safety banners, they were applauded by the ministers and other guests at the event.
The bikers were followed by vehicles and members of the emergency services, who were stopped by Isilda Gomes and congratulated on their outstanding work in dealing with road traffic accidents.
Miguel Praia told The Resident: “Now we have this wonderful facility in the Algarve there is no excuse for people to treat the roads as a racetrack. If you want to drive fast then come down here to do it safely.”
The bikers from various motor clubs in the Algarve were invited to a public meeting at the motor park where Rui Pereira addressed the crowd and revealed that there has been a 13 per cent decrease in road deaths in comparison with the same period last year.
He spoke specifically about the Algarve region and said: “The Algarve has seen the number of road deaths massively decrease in comparison to 2007. Deaths on the road are down by 42 per cent while serious injury as a result of a road accident has reduced by 44 per cent.”
The minister for internal administration reminded those at the meeting that 20 years ago the average number of deaths per year on the roads was 2,600, a number that had been considered almost impossible to reverse. Now the numbers are less than a third of this amount.
Following the meeting there was a minute’s silence in honour of the victims of road traffic accidents while hundreds of white balloons were released to commemorate the event during a moving ceremony.
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