Saturday 21 October 2017

Motorcyclists: our road-death figures tell sad and sorry story

Attitude, training, safety gear all vital to cut fatalities and injuries

Motorbike are more vulnerable
Motorbike are more vulnerable

Motorcyclists are consistently over-represented in fatality and serious injury figures.

There is no avoiding the vulnerability bikers must feel on the open road.

Two-thirds of those who participated in the Motorcyclists Rider Behaviour Study 2017, reported having had a near-miss in the previous two years, while a further 11pc had a collision (including a minor spill) over the same period; 40pc of those who had a collision had been injured.

Of all traffic violations, excessive speed is the most common for motorcyclists. Almost half admitted to exceeding the speed limit on motorways occasionally, 10pc frequently or nearly all the time. A further 43pc speed at least occasionally on country roads.

Most concerning was how 28pc admitted they disregard the speed limit late at night or in the early hours - at least occasionally.

It was heartening, however, to see that 95pc said drinking and riding a motorcycle increased the risk of a collision.

In the RSA's fourth landmark pre-crash report, alcohol was found to be a factor in 29pc of fatal motorcycle collisions between 2008 and 2012.

That research revealed that almost one-third (29pc) of motorcyclists involved in fatal collisions had consumed alcohol and almost half of these (45pc) were four times or more above the current legal limit.

The RSA has, at times, been criticised for focusing excessively on the dangers of motorcycles and turning people off biking. The statistics, however, speak for themselves.

One of the main reasons motorcyclists are so vulnerable is that they have less protection than drivers or passengers in vehicles.

Training and education, however, are also an issue.

Trained motorcyclists prove every day that biking can be a fun, safe and satisfying activity.

But if you don't have appropriate skills, the right attitude to safety and the benefit of education and training, it's a much riskier pursuit.

Here are a few simple safety tips to keep in mind.

* Wear appropriate clothing and a secure helmet every time you get on your bike.

* Jackets and trousers should give you enough protection from impact, abrasion, cold and weather conditions.

* Use body armour on vulnerable areas such as the back, knees, elbows, shoulders, hips and shins.

* Wear a good reflective jacket to make you more visible on the road.

* Wear protective gloves and footwear.

All road users have a responsibility to keep the roads safe for each other.

Indo Motoring

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