A big thank you to all bikers who act responsibly out on our roads
But small minority need to realise how they are putting other lives at risk, our RSA expert warns
Last week's article seems to have touched a nerve with the motorcycling fraternity. From feedback some bikers felt it was too negative and painted all motorcyclists in a bad light.
They felt it tarred all bikers as speeding and riding their bikes under the influence of alcohol.
In reply I'd like to be absolutely clear that, and I said this in the original piece, the majority of bikers are law abiding and play it safe on the roads.
In the article I was trying to focus on the cohort of bikers who don't, and unfortunately figure prominently in our pre-crash report into 'Fatal Motorcycle Collisions' which covered the period of 2008 to 2012.
This report found that speed and alcohol were significant contributory factors in biker deaths. I gave two recent examples of irresponsible behaviour by motorcyclists that a colleague and I separately had witnessed. I did this to bring the pre-crash report and those forensic files to life. To make them real, because quoting statistics doesn't get across the behaviour and emotion that's in those files.
I was presenting the facts and highlighting that the problem of speeding bikers was addressed in the new RSA motorcycle safety ad campaign. It seeks to reach out to these problem bikers, asking them to think and give serious consideration to the dangers of inappropriate speed for the road or traffic conditions they are riding in.
It points out that no one likes being told what to do but there are times however when we all need to listen. The message is simple: 'Ease off the throttle and keep within the speed limits'. If you have not seen the ad it is well worth a look. If nothing else it will provoke thought.
It has been said so many times before that one of the greatest experiences and pleasures in the world is riding a motorcycle. Riding is both fun and challenging yet it requires very high levels of knowledge, skill, and understanding.
A good rider needs to have a healthy respect for the motorcycle they are riding and always demonstrate a socially responsible attitude. As I've said, the majority are responsible and in the interest of balance I'd like to share a recent experience we had with the gardai.
Over the June bank holiday weekend we staged a joint initiative involving motorcyclists from the training division of the Road Safety Authority and garda motorcyclists, in Hollywood village, Co Wicklow. A checkpoint was set up and all motorcyclists travelling on the R756 through Hollywood village were stopped and asked to take a breath test. On the day the gardai also demonstrated how the new drug detection equipment worked and more importantly explained the range of drugs the equipment detects.
The checkpoint provided an opportunity for RSA staff to discuss aspects of road safety including the benefits of wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which included Hi-Viz etc.
The day was a great success with positive feedback from the motorcyclists that were stopped. One of the most positive aspects of the day was that there were no detections. This proved that the large number of bikers who were stopped where responsible riders who obviously took their biking very seriously. All the bikers we spoke to on the day said that they believed it was a worthwhile exercise and found it interesting. We will be doing more of this.
So this is a thank you to all those bikers, the majority, who are behaving responsibly on the road.
To those who are riding motorbikes with no regard for their personal safety or the safety of others, you need to realise that you are giving all bikers a bad name. If you are not going to change your reckless behaviour for your own sake do it for your family and loved ones.