Island's festival of speed leaves trail of deaths: The Isle of Man is visited by 30,000 motorcycle racing fans each year, but many never return home

URGENT talks between the Isle of Man highways authorities and the police are scheduled after a TT race week which has left 11 dead, 10 of them motorcycle fans.

Another fatality on this 37-mile course yesterday has officially made 1993 the blackest in the 86-year history of the races.

Inquests have already started on the 10 young men and one woman who lost their lives.

An inquiry has been promised into the race meeting by the David North, the Manx highways minister

More than 30,000 fans arrive annually for what the local tourist board bills as a festival of speed. This year the visitors brought 12,000 motorcycles with them to the 227-square mile island.

The TT course runs over the island's main roads, which are closed to the public during races.

In keeping with the tradition set since the first TT race in 1907, the fans constantly lap the circuit taking advantage of the absence of an overall speed limit.

Also tragically in keeping with recent years, some of the fans pay the ultimate price for the TT experience.

On narrow country roads crammed with thousands of high-powered machines, collisions are inevitable. The first of these happened last Friday when 35-year-old Shane Lyons from Dublin became the first victim of the annual meeting.

An inquest was told that he rode his 750cc machine around Handley's Corner on the northern section of the course at 130mph.

He crossed to the wrong side, smashed head-on into a tipper truck and the bike disintegrated. Such was the force, the truck was knocked over a bank and down through the roof of a house.

Police report that many accidents are caused by continental riders forgetting where they are and suddenly switching to the right-hand side of the road.

Two of the dead men were German, and another German has been charged with killing a 24-year-old Newcastle doctor and his girlfriend, a nurse, through reckless driving.

The Isle of Man Constabulary said yesterday that foreign misunderstandings had become a serious problem.

Thousands of German-language signs saying 'Immer Links' (Keep Left) were being ignored by those they were aimed at.

A police spokesman, Inspector Dudley Butt, said: 'Some continental visitors do seem to suffer memory losses.

'In certain panic situations they automatically go for what is to them their safe side, the right.

'I've spoken to several German and French visitors and they confirm that they do pull right when under pressure.'

Insp Butt said there was also the problem of modern machines being too big and fast for riders to handle in the TT setting.

'The speeds they achieve are frightening - quite horrendous,' he added.

'The majority of people do abide by the rules of the road, but a sizeable majority threaten their own lives and those of others.'

Chief Constable Robin Oake, has pledged to ensure no one breaks the law. But he confesses to a love of the races and does not want to dampen enthusiasm for them.

The police are not joining calls for speed restrictions, saying they would be impossible to enforce. Nor is the highways authority. David North said that whatever limit was set would be broken.

But Bruce Hannay, the highways expert charged with safety on the island, said he would be arranging meetings with police as soon as they had details from the 11 inquests.

'We are as saddened and worried about this as everyone else,' he added. 'It's a matter of grave public concern.'

(Photographs omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Life and Style
Duchess of Cambridge standswith officials outside of the former wartime spy centre in Bletchley Park
tech
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'