A new policy is being introduced to encourage a safer but increased use of motorcycles in the UK. Although figures for motorcycle accidents and fatalities caused by motorcycle accidents remain high (1 per cent of total traffic and 19 per cent of fatalities), rider safety has improved since 2000. As around 50 per cent of motorcycle accidents are initiated by other road users, an effective programme to raise the awareness of all road users could considerably reduce the number and seriousness of incidents.
The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) and Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) are both aiming to improve overall road safety by launching a landmark policy document which will encourage an increased and safer use of motorcycles on UK roads. The police and the motorcycle industry have a shared view that traditional road safety policies only partially deliver improved motorcycle safety. They hope that by encouraging greater use of motorcycles, a reduction in the number of casualties will ensue.
The document, Realising the Motorcycling Opportunity, calls for motorcycles to be included in mainstream transport policy and sets out a framework of practical recommendations as to how this can be achieved.
Some of the measures called for in the document include:
- Education for all road users
- One theory test for all road users (motorcyclists have to do a different one to car drivers)
- Compulsory road user awareness lessons within the school curriculum
- A culture of post-test training for all vehicle modes
- More comprehensive breakdown of motorcycle accident statistics
- Encourage a ‘two-wheel paradigm’ to embrace all two-wheeled transport and stop excluding motorcycles
- Include motorcycle use as core part of overall transport policy, along with walking, cycling and public transport
- Grants for electric vehicles to include electric motorcycles not just electric cars (cars won’t help reduce congestion)
Training and safety
- Continue progress made in setting new standards in motorcycle training through the Motorcycle Industry Accreditation Centre (MCIAC)
- Training upgrade for those who hold a licence for a smaller bike, but want to upgrade to a larger one
- Develop coherent and appropriate clothing and equipment standards
- Promote the use of Motorcycle Guidelines, recently updated by the Institute of Highways Engineers
- Nationwide utilisation of the BikeSafe voluntary assessment programme
- Greater use of the RIDE scheme (a course for motorcyclists displaying anti-social behaviour)
- This policy may be the answer to achieving wider safety for all motorcyclists, as well as other road users.