ROAD SAFETY and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is keen to reduce motorcycle casualties during the current peak riding season. Central to this, according to GEM, should be a focus for riders on boosting their skill and knowing your limits. At the same time GEM is urging other road users to improve their observation in an attempt to reduce the number of motorcycle collisions.
There were 347 motorcycle fatalities in 20171 (the latest available statistics), a nine per cent increase on the previous year. Bearing in mind that motorcyclists make up less than three per cent of vehicles on the UK’s roads, the disproportionately high figure shows how risky motorcycling can be.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “There’s a lot of satisfaction to be gained from riding a motorcycle with skill and precision. But if you’re riding at speed, there is no margin for error if you – or another road user near you – gets something wrong.
“That’s why we’re not only encouraging riders to give themselves a ‘skills MOT’ during the early part of this season, we’re also urging drivers and pedestrians to make a special point of looking out for motorcyclists, especially at junctions. After all, it’s here around 30 riders are killed or injured every day.
Follow GEM’s five simple ‘lifesaver’ safety tips and reduce the risk of being involved in a collision:
- If you’ve had your bike in the garage for the winter, use the start of the riding season to invest in a refresher day with a training professional. Search online for motorcycle training days or consult your local club or advanced motorcyclists’ group.
- Make sure you take time to warm up, especially if you are not a regular rider and not ‘bike fit’.
- Ensure self-preservation is your priority. The predominant cause of motorcycle crashes is the failure of car drivers to detect and recognise motorcycles in traffic. So wear high visibility clothing on all journeys, and ride in a way that gives others a better chance of seeing you.
- Don’t ride beyond your comfort zone, especially if you’re riding in a group. If your friends are cornering too quickly for you, let them go and join them at the next junction.
- Try not to dwell on your errors as go along. Plan 10 to 15 seconds ahead, anticipate the next hazards. When you stop for a break, reflect on anything that didn’t go to plan, ask what you have learnt and how you can reduce the chance of the same thing happening again.
Finally, GEM is asking all road users to keep a good look-out for motorcyclists. “The roads are there for us all to use, so do get into the habit of expecting to see motorcycles on a journey,” added Neil Worth. “It may seem an easy and obvious step, but it has significant potential in terms of helping to reduce motorcyclist injuries.
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1 Reported Road Casualties 2017 (DfT)