Every year, as the weather improves and summer returns, we see increasing numbers of motorcyclists on our roads. This is no surprise, with everyone wanting to take advantage of the better weather: the North of England is home to some of the best driving roads in the country and they are a huge draw for motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country.
However this, naturally, increases the already-substantial risk of accidents: if you combine the figures of serious injuries and deaths, it roughly equates to 30 significant incidents per day on the UK roads.
Although motorcyclists represent just one per cent of total road traffic, they account for 19 per cent of all road user deaths. According to Government statistics motorcyclists are roughly 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants, per mile ridden. These are scary statistics: no one likes to hear them, but they can’t be ignored. Therefore safety awareness is crucial to try and combat these numbers.
Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 it is an offence to drive a vehicle without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place. In order to help prevent this, the Highway Code provides guidance and suggestions that help makes people on the road safer. This includes provisions such as wearing a protective helmet as well as eye wear that are in good condition. Helmets are the most vital form of protection for motorcyclists so it is important they must satisfy either British Standard 6658: 1985 or ECE Regulation 22.05 standards.
In addition, although there is no law on wearing protective clothing other than a helmet and goggles, falling off your bike will result in tarmac shredding through your jeans in seconds. Wearing the right gear is just as important to your safety as servicing your motorcycle and knowing how to ride it.
It is paramount that motorcyclists wear reflective clothing in order to make themselves visible, especially in dark weather. It could be argued that, owing to the summer weather and late light evenings, the general public can potentially get slightly complacent with this, thinking there is no pressing need for it. However there is no excuse for avoiding life saving measures.
However, it is equally incumbent upon other road users to look out for motorcyclists. It doesn’t matter how much high-visibility gear a motor cyclist wears: if a driver doesn’t look properly and pulls out in front of them, then a crash is likely to occur. As the Government’s poster campaign, below, demonstrated last year, bikes can be incredibly difficult to spot at first glance. There really is a motorbike on that picture – it just takes a long time to spot it.
Most notably motorcyclist casualties are highly seasonal, which peak during Spring and Summer months, where the vast majority of accidents occur in fine weather and on dry roads. This reflects the increasing riding during this period.
There are a number of common types of crashes involving motorcyclists, which include: failing to negotiate bends on rural A-roads, collision at junctions, collision while overtaking, rider losing control without another vehicle being involved. Therefore checking blind spots, spatial awareness, and keeping a distance are all vital measures that could help prevent common crashes.
If you have been involved with a motorcycle accident, due to the severe nature of motorcyclist casualties, it is recommended to contact a specialist personal injury lawyer – we are happy to talk over any claim with you without obligation. We treat each individual with empathy and respect – recovering from your injuries is the absolute priority, and this process can frequently see you incur costs for which you should not have to pay.