There are approximately 1.2 million motorcyclists in the UK, and each year there are 139,000 new motorcycle registrations. Motorcyclists account for 2.6% of the 38 million vehicles on the road. However, despite accounting for a small proportion of the motoring population, motorcyclists are involved in 20% of all road- related deaths and serious injuries.
- In 2011, approximately 362 motorcycle users were killed in road traffic incidents. This figure is a 10% decrease compared to the fatality rates in 2010, and 33% in comparison to the average number killed per year from 2005 to 2009.
- The number of motorcycle users who were seriously injured in road traffic incidents increased in 2011 by 10% to 5,247. The total number of motorcycle user casualties also increased in 2011, by 8% to 20,150. In the same period, motorcycle traffic increased by 0.9%.
- 48% of all road traffic collisions between motorcycles and cars were the result of the car driver failing to notice the presence of the motorcyclist. Studies show that motorcyclists are most likely to crash either through loss of control or as the victim of another driver failing to notice their presence.
- Motorcyclists only represent 1% of all road traffic yet they account for up to 20% of all road-related deaths and serious injuries. Motorcyclists who are involved in road traffic collisions are 40 times more likely to be killed than car drivers.
- In 2003, approximately 950,000 motorcycles, including scooters and mopeds, were licensed in the UK. In 2004, 25,641 motorcyclists were injured, 6,063 were seriously injured and 585 were killed.
- Recent studies indicate that there are 2 clear peaks in casualty age; 21-25 & 31-35. There are also 3 basic motorcycle crash types; right of way violation accidents which account for 38% of cases, loss of control at bends at speed which account for over 11% of cases, and overtaking/filtering accidents which account for 15% of cases.
- 41% of motorcycle fatalities involve the motorcycle running off the road. These incidents often occur late at night, at the weekend, or involve a drunken motorcyclist.
- Around 70% of motorcycle accidents involved a car, lorry or bus. 55% of these incidents occur at junctions.
- Almost two-thirds of motorcyclists who were killed on non-built-up roads were aged over 30 and were riding bikes with an engine capacity greater than 500cc. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to serious and fatal injuries because they lack the exterior protection of a car or larger vehicle and their various safety systems (i.e. airbags and seat belts).
- Around 80% of motorcyclists who are killed as a result of road traffic collisions suffer from major head injuries. In many cases, these head injuries are the cause of death. Fortunately, research has shown that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of fatal head injury by approximately 50%.
In order to improve your safety whilst riding a motorcycle, listed below are a series of road safety measures which are relevant for motorcyclists. By following these measures, you can substantially reduce your chances of being involved in a road traffic incident:
- Remain alert at all times and keep an eye out for potential road hazards. These include; pot holes, uneven surfaces, poor surface repairs, oil spillages, drain covers, debris and road markings amongst others.
- Avoid driving in severe weather conditions, at night or when there is poor visibility.
- Always leave a clear distance between other motorists so that you have enough time to slow down or stop entirely if needed.
- Avoid lane splitting along narrow or uneven roads as well as on roads which bear sudden turns. Only overtake if you can clearly see other motorists and the road ahead. If in doubt, refrain from overtaking and lane splitting until it is safe to do so.
- Never drink and drive, and if you feel tired or fatigued take regular breaks.
- Always make sure you are aware of the positions of other motorists. Avoid sudden movements as these vehicles may not be able to see you.
- Be wary of large vehicles or lorries which have poorer visibility of motorcycles.
- Avoid overtaking or risky manoeuvres at junctions.
- Only carry passengers if your motorcycle can accommodate them, and if they have previous experience riding motorcycles.