When we set off on any road journey, we all do so with the intention of being safe on the roads and arriving where we need to be safely and in one piece. None of us want to be involved in a road traffic accident. However, what is shocking is that motorcyclists are placed at far greater risk on the UK roads than motorists. The Direct Govwebsite alarmingly states that although motorcyclists make up only one per cent of the total amount of road users, they actually account for 19 percent of road user fatalities. This is somber reading indeed.
The Think Direct Gov website has some interesting facts about motorcycle users. They found that motorcyclists are at a greater risk on the roads as they are 38 more times likely to suffer a fatality. In 2013, 331 bikers were killed on the UK roads.
How can drivers help motorcyclists?
David Williams MBE, who is the Chief Executive of GEM Motoring Assist, says that there are many ways in which motorists can help make the rods a safer place for motorcyclists. The main issue is that they are at a greater risk due to other road users not being aware of their presence, and that many road users are not aware that they can accelerate quickly. He urges that all motorists need to ‘think bike’ every time that they use the road. By doing so the road is made safer for everyone.
The Think Direct website has lots of advice for drivers to keep motorcyclists safe on the roads. Firstly, drivers need to be careful when pulling out of junctions and be extra vigilant for motorcyclists. It is also important that drivers keep their distance from motorbikes, as driving too closely to a an inexperienced motorcyclist can be rather intimidating. It is also important that drivers look out for motorcyclists when changing lanes in traffic, as they may be entering the lane you want to get into and may be in your blind spot.
Other things that drivers need to look out for include:
• When turning look out for bikes.
• Be extra vigilant when near parked cars or large vehicles as they can obstruct motorcycles.
• Be aware that motorcycles can pass you on either side of your car, so double check on both sides when turning.
• When parked, check for motorcycles before you open your car door.
What can motorcyclists do?
As well as motorists being extra vigilant on the roads to keep everyone safe, so too do motorcyclists. There are many things that they can do to keep themselves safe as well as other road users. The Think Direct website once again has some useful tips and ideas for bikers.
• Remember that everyone has a right to be on the road so drive carefully and avoid conflict.
• Observation and vigilance is important at all times, especially when approaching and leaving junctions. This is because motorcycles are harder to see than cars.
• Always check the blind spot.
• Always make yourself visible by placing your bike in the safest and most obvious position on the road.
• Wear bright gear to make yourself extra visible to motorists.
Who is the safest on the roads?
The Motorbike Writer website shared survey results that found that motorcyclists were the safer road user. When both motorists and motorcyclist were asked to complete a Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency test, it found that one in five car drivers would fail their theory test, if they took it now. The survey also found that in the response to the question; ‘when is it safe to cross a double white line marking the centre of the road’, only 71 percent of motorists answered the question correctly, as opposed to 92 percent of motorcyclists. Surprisingly, the survey also found that only 34 percent of drivers knew the road sign for taking extra care when overtaking slow moving motorbikes.
Should roads be designed for motorcyclists?
It has also been argued that as well as both drivers and motorcyclists taking precautions to make themselves and other safe on the road, that the roads themselves should be made safer for motorcyclists. An interesting argument on this point is made on the I Am Road Smart website. What they suggest is that safety crash barriers should be installed on all ‘high risk’ patches on motorways, as well as on busy trunk roads. It also suggests that all newly designed crash barriers should be designed with the motorcyclist in mind. These recommendation are most definitely food for thought.
Hopefully the above advice will help to keep all road users safe and well, when traveling on the UK roads.