Deadly facts that show why every biker should get proper training
RSA expert highlights reports which show the dangers of fatality and injury to motorcyclists
Over the past six months, the RSA has released three reports which provide an in-depth analysis of the factors causing or contributing to collisions between 2008-2012.
To produce them, the RSA was given access to the completed Garda investigation files where the full circumstances of fatal collisions are available. Each file contains two main reports which were analysed.
The first is the Garda Investigation Report and the second is the Forensic Collision Investigation Report (FCI). These are essentially the files that are sent to the DPP following the Garda investigation.
The three reports released to date focused on tyres, speeding and alcohol. The fourth, published recently, focused on motorcyclists.
While the period covered by the report, 2008 to 2012, included the greatest reduction in road deaths since we began recording them in 1959, it does highlight worrying behaviour among motorcyclists.
The report found that:
* Of the 867 fatal collisions analysed, 93, or 11pc, involved a motorcyclist. A third of these involved just the motorcyclist.
More than half the fatal collisions involving a motorcyclist occurred on a Saturday or Sunday, with Sunday alone accounting for a third.
* The Garda investigations found that of the 93 fatal motorcycle collisions, the rider was deemed culpable or partly culpable for 80 of the collisions.
When we looked at the main pre-crash behaviour, almost half of the collisions involving a motorcyclist had excessive speed recorded as a contributory factor. A third had consumed alcohol. Almost half of the motorcyclists were four or more times over the legal limit. Alcohol was more prevalent among 25-to-34-year-olds.
They also revealed that almost a third of the motorcyclists deemed culpable had no record of insurance at the time of the collision.
Despite these shocking results of the study, motorcycle safety has improved over the years. The number of motorcycle fatalities over the past 20 years shows an average of 70 motorcyclists died each year. A decade ago it was 50. To date this year 14 motorcyclists and one pillion passenger have died on the road.
While one death is one too many, things have improved - and against a background of rising motorcycle user numbers.
Users range from leisure bikers on high-powered machines to young people and professionals commuting by moped.
From 2001 to 2010, the number of such vehicles on European roads rose by 48pc.
However, motorbikes and mopeds are less stable and visible and offer less protection than cars. In 2013, more than 4,700 riders were killed in the EU.
For a motorcyclist, the risk of dying in a traffic crash per kilometre travelled is about 24 times higher than it is for a car occupant.
Motorcycles represented 1 in 70 of all licensed vehicles in Ireland, but account for 1 in 10 road deaths. One of the main reasons is that, in a crash, motorcycle and moped users have less protection than drivers or passengers in vehicles.
The introduction of Initial Basic Training for new motorcyclists in 2014 has had a positive impact in raising skill levels.
We can clearly see a much better pass rate among those who have completed the 16-hour compulsory training programme.
Trained motorcyclists around the world prove every day that biking can be a fun, safe and satisfying.
However, if a motorcyclist does not have the appropriate skills, the right attitude to safety and the benefit of education and training, it's a much riskier pursuit.
So if you never had training: get some.