THE number of people killed or seriously injured in accidents on Dorset’s roads has risen sharply this year, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Five-year-old Lily-Mae Jefferies, biker David Bartholomew, soldier Matthew Cottrell and teenager Michael Walker are just four of the victims who have tragically lost their lives on the county’s roads in 2012.

So far 12 people – some cyclists, some pedestrians, and others motorists – have been killed in road accidents in the county.

A total of 19 people were killed in road accidents in Dorset in 2011 and 18 died the previous year.

Dorset Police say the number of people killed or seriously injured between January 1 and April 30 this year was 120 – 27 per cent more than the 94 in the same period in 2011.

Brian Austin, No Excuse project manager, said the increase in serious accidents in the first part of 2012 was due to the warm weather which brought more people, particularly cyclists and motorcyclists, out on the road.

He added: “With any increase in considerate safe drivers comes and increase in bad and careless drivers that have no concern other than their own interests.”

Recently No Excuse officers caught a man speeding 49mph in a 30 zone and all he said was: “I’m not hurting anyone am I?” And a man caught driving at 50mph in a 30mph in Bournemouth simply shrugged his shoulders when asked why he was driving at that speed.

Mr Austin warned motorists of the main contributory factors in road accidents – known as the fatal four.

These are excess and inappropriate speed, driver distractions, drink or drug driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

He said: “We will continue to use the team of officers, safety cameras and information from responsible drivers to catch those drivers who think the law does not apply to them and feel they have the right to put others lives at risk.”

Speaking of the devastating impact of fatal and serious accidents, Sgt Nikki Burt of Dorset Police traffic unit said: “Collisions involving serious injuries or deaths have a devastating effect not only on the people immediately involved but on relatives, friends, associates and often the emergency service personnel who attend.

“Those affected may have to adapt to their lives significantly to cope with the consequences of serious injuries, or maybe have to take on the role of guardian for children left behind.”

She warned drivers that they could face penalties for any offences committed which range from fines, disqualification from driving or prison.