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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-   10 July 2006

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HUNTING THE 1000TH MEMBER AT RIVINGTON BIKE MEET

A midsummer Bike Meet and barbecue on Sunday 16 July 2006 at the magnificent 13th century Rivington Hall Barn, Rivington, near Bolton will kick start National Motorcycle Week (16 July to 23 July) and give riders and pillions the chance to win free tickets to the SuperBike Championships at Oulton Park on Sunday 23 July 2006.

The event will be bursting with displays, bargain parts, clothing and accessories. Wyder Honda, Philip Youle and CCM motorcycles from Bolton will be present along with Racoon Racing, Punctureseal, ‘Spot the Fault’ competitions, 4techmoto, free give-aways, training information, IAM, BMF and MAG representatives and Classic Leathers reconditioned leathers for sale. There will be plenty to encourage new and young riders with mopeds and scooters as well as information about ‘Pillion Pals’, ‘Biker Buddies’ and ‘Ride to Work Day’ on 19 July 2006.

The highly successful RideSafe BackSafe campaign team, part of the Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety, will be there supporting the event and looking for their lucky 1000th member.

The virtual RideSafe BackSafe organisation, championed by Lancashire’s own Super Biker John McGuiness, was launched just three months ago to provide North West bikers with an informal and friendly environment where they can pick up safety tips and give the benefit of their experience to other, less experienced riders. The 1000th new RideSafe BackSafe member to register will win the fabulous Oulton Park prize and attend as special guests of RideSafe BackSafe.

Said John McGuiness:- “In Lancashire in 2005, 22 motorcyclists were killed, compared to nine in 2004 and in addition to the fatalities, more than 150 bikers are seriously injured on Lancashire’s roads every year. We must stem these dreadful casualty figures, whilst still enjoying the fun and freedom that biking gives.”

RideSafe BackSafe is a joint initiative of Lancashire and Cumbria Constabularies, Cumbria Safety Cameras and the Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety, with support from other North West Partnerships. Its Pillion Pal scheme encourages riders to bring along a friend as pillion to enjoy the riding experience and the Biker Buddy initiative encourages experienced riders to take a young or inexperienced rider ‘under their wing’ to pass on safe riding tips and techniques and help introduce them to the social biking world.

More information and directions for the event at Rivington Hall Barn can be found at:- ridesafebacksafe.co.uk, the campaign website dedicated to motorbike enthusiasts. It has a comprehensive list of links to road safety resources and bike maintenance sites, up to date news, FAQ’s and an interactive forum where North West riders can discuss everything from recommended cafes and best routes in the region, to riding techniques and hints and tips of how to keep bikes and kit in tip top condition.

RNID RESEARCH DISCOVERS GENETIC LINK TO HEARING LOSS CAUSED BY LOUD NOISE

SCIENTISTS funded by RNID, the national charity for deaf and hard of hearing people, have discovered a genetic link between exposure to loud noise and hearing loss. The breakthrough could revolutionise ways of treating and preventing noise-induced hearing loss. In the UK, over 1 million people are at risk from or have already experienced noise related hearing loss.

The findings published identified 3 genes that influence the risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss, a condition which is irreversible. These genes play a role in recycling potassium in the inner ear - a process essential to normal hearing.  Exposure to loud noise has long been known to cause hearing loss and is a leading occupational hazard in many countries. However, it has been less clear why some people are much more susceptible to noise damage than others.

RNID funded this pioneering research at the University of Antwerp. Professor Guy Van Camp, who led the research says:- “The project tested the hearing of 1, 261 noise-exposed male workers from paper pulp mills and steel factories in Sweden. Genetic testing was then carried out on the 10% most susceptible and 10% most resistant workers. 79% of the people in this study had been exposed to noise for at least 20 years. Significant differences between susceptible and resistant workers were found in the sequence of 3 genes, KCNE1, KCNQ1 and KCNQ4."  He continues:- “Further studies on KCNE1 show the version of the gene associated with increased risk to noise causes the encoded ion channel to open more rapidly than the normal version. This could affect the recycling of potassium making people with this version of the gene more sensitive to noise.”

Dr Ralph Holme, RNID’s Biomedical Research Manager says:- “This is a very exciting breakthrough. 1 million people in the UK alone are at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss. This discovery could revolutionise the way this common form of hearing loss is prevented and treated in the future.”

Dr Mark Downs, Executive Director of Technology and Enterprise, says:- “Any kind of hearing loss can have a significant effect on the quality of personal, social and professional lives. Most people don’t realise how important their hearing is until they start to lose it. Everyday activities such as using a phone, talking to colleagues and joining in with a conversation with a group of friends can become difficult. RNID would advise people who are concerned about their hearing to take our five minute, confidential, telephone hearing check on 0845 600 55 55.”

RNID successfully lobbied the Government for changes in legislation relating to noise at work which the charity believes is still one of the most underestimated workplace risks. Excessive noise in the workplace has caused an estimated half a million people living in Great Britain today to suffer hearing difficulties. Tighter Noise at Work regulations which came into force in April 2006 and 2008 for the leisure industry will provide improved protection for workers from hearing loss, one of Britain’s most serious occupational diseases.

Britain’s Biggest Sound Check is part of RNID’s Breaking the Sound Barrier Campaign, a bold campaign which aims to change attitudes towards hearing loss and hearing aids. The campaign aims to reach out to the 4 million people in the UK4 who are losing their hearing but doing nothing about it.

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