Scottish Motorcycling Strategy

Published on 1 March 2006 by Gill

A PROPOSED DRAFT FROM THE MOTORCYCLING COMMUNITY

This document is a draft motorcycle (PTW) strategy for Scotland.

Additional sections are included which provide background information from which the Executive summary and recommendations have been drawn.

Contents:-

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

SUPPORTING MATERIAL

2. INTRODUCTION

3. LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK

4. POLICY

5. SAFETY

6. THE SCOTTISH ROAD NETWORK

7. CONGESTION AND MOTORCYCLE PARKING

8. MOTORCYCLE TOURISM

Appendix A

Summary of IHIE Guidelines for Motorcycling

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

1.1 With the introduction of a new National Transport Agency for Scotland and five Regional Transport Partnerships there is a requirement to produce a Scottish Motorcycle Strategy as part of a wider strategy to deliver transport improvements in Scotland.

1.2 Motorcycles have a role to play in helping reduce congestion and combating social exclusion, though there are issues which require addressing if the benefits that this mode of transport can deliver are to be fully realised.

1.3 The safety of motorcyclists is a significant issue. Motorcyclists represent a large proportion of road casualties in relation to their numbers. While motorcycle accident rates in proportion to rider numbers and distance travelled have reduced over the last decade. Absolute numbers of fatal and serious casualties has increased in the last five years. This merits serious attention from the road safety perspective if increased use is not to be reflected in increased casualties. The motorcycle safety situation is due to a combination of factors that go beyond the rider and machine and are in large measure the result of nearly 30 years of a poor strategic approach to motorcycling safety and policy issues. To address this problem it is imperative that the special needs of motorcyclists are considered in transport strategies and plans.

1.4 In recent years schemes such as Bikesafe Scotland have shown that education targeted at riders can help reduce accidents. Similarly initiatives such as Bike Plus and Rider Improvement Schemes have the potential to improve the safety of vulnerable groups of riders who are either not sufficiently experienced to benefit from Bikesafe, or who would avoid traditional additional training. Continued support for Bikesafe and the widespread adoption of Bike Plus and Rider Improvement Schemes has a vital role to play in changing riders' attitudes and reducing their risk levels.

1.5 Targeting riders' behaviour and attitudes in isolation, will not achieve the desired improvements in rider safety. A more holistic approach aimed at increasing awareness of motorcyclists by other road users, and ensuring that the road infrastructure is designed and maintained with motorcyclists needs in mind will be needed in conjunction with rider education.

1.6 Improvements in bicycle safety and reductions in motorcycle casualties, where appropriate safety measures have been introduced, such as in Transport for London's (TfL) congestion charging zone, shows that accidents can be significantly reduced even where usage of these more vulnerable modes of transport has increased considerably. The widespread adoption of the guidelines produced by Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers (IHIE), should be seen as key to improving the design and maintenance of the Scottish road infrastructure to meet riders needs and harness the benefits that increased motorcycle use can bring.

1.7 Similarly if motorists are to be persuaded to switch to two wheels and thus help alleviate congestion the issue of secure motorcycle parking facilities must be adequately addressed. The Scottish Executive has a role to play here in ensuring that local authorities provide adequate secure motorcycle parking and facilities for the secure storage of Motorcycle clothing which comply with the guidelines laid down in DfT Traffic Advisory Leaflet 2/02.

1.8 Motorcycling also has a role to play in increasing visitor numbers particularly in rural areas and encouragement of a “biker friendly” attitude amongst establishments in the tourist industry could pay dividends for that vital sector of the economy.

• Development of measures that recognise the needs of motorcyclists and help reduce the vulnerability of riders can go a long way towards integrating motorcycling fully into the transport mix and achieving the benefits that motorcycling can deliver. Failure to introduce such measures will place motorcycling at the margins of transport policy and reinforce negative “outlaw” stereotypes, which encourages high risk attitudes and behaviours. Maintaining the status quo with regards to policy is not an option.

1.10 In England motorcycling is being integrated into the mainstream of transport planning through the Government's Motorcycling Strategy, published by the Department for Transport. It is vital that motorcyclists in Scotland be afforded similar consideration.

RECOMMENDATIONS

In order to provide a balanced and inclusive Scottish Motorcycling Strategy which meets the needs of motorcyclists and reduces their vulnerability, the following recommendations should be incorporated.

  • Local policy and planning should look closely at how safety, access and security issues can be addressed to reduce motorcyclists vulnerability (4.4)
  • To reduce rider vulnerability it is essential that motorcycles are included in transport strategies so that roads departments and local authorities can implement measures, which take the needs of motorcyclists into consideration. (6.9)
  • Local authorities should establish Motorcycle Forums, or include motorcyclists within broader forums of stakeholders of other transport modes, to ensure that strategies and initiatives meet the needs of the users. (4.7)
  • Local authorities should play a lead role in the promotion of travel plans and include best practice in relation to provision for motorcycles. (4.8)
  • To address Road Safety issues an extensive package of measures that integrate to form an overall motorcycle strategy with clear targets not only for casualty reduction, but also for implementation of measures which reduce vulnerability and change attitudes needs to be adopted. (5.22)
  • Road safety campaigns should consider hard hitting and sustained awareness campaigns in which motorcyclists are targeted to better negotiate junctions, bends and carry out overtaking manoeuvres. Campaigns should also encourage the development of these vital skills through “additional or advanced training”. Campaigns of a similar nature to make other road users more aware of motorcyclists should be carried out in parallel. (5.6)
  • The appropriate LAROSA adviser should be consulted before initiating any new campaigns, to ensure a cohesive and effective approach, while avoiding duplication. (5.7)
  • In view of the predominantly beneficial results of Bikesafe the Scottish Executive should ensure that adequate funds are available to provide the necessary dedicated resources for this valuable safety initiative. (5.15)
  • The Scottish Executive should ensure that Rider Improvement Courses for motorcyclists are promoted and are available as far as is practicable across Scotland . (5.17)
  • The Scottish Executive should ensure that the Bike Plus scheme is adopted by Local Authorities across Scotland in a similar manner to the currently available Pass Plus scheme for car drivers. (5.19)
  • In order to provide sufficient funding for safety campaigns and initiatives, consideration should be given to obtaining funding for these measures from safety camera partnerships. (5.25)
  • The Scottish Executive should ensure that existing legislation is adequately enforced and should lobby the EU and UK Governments to tighten legislation and review MOT checks with the aim of ensuring minimum diesel spillage for safety and environmental reasons. (5.26)
  • The IHIE guidelines for motorcycling constitute best practice. Their adoption by the Scottish Executive and local authorities' highway departments and engineers will represent a major step towards integrating motorcycles into transport policy. (6.6)
  • The present situation on allowing PTW's into bus lanes is unsatisfactory. Research should be continued and extended to arrive at an unambiguous position. Advice on this issue should be amended to a neutral position. (6.13)
  • In areas where cyclist and pedestrian safety is not an issue, motorcycle access to bus lanes should be considered as a matter of priority. (6.14)
  • Research into the use of ASLs should be carried out, and the policy of allowing PTWs to use ASLs should be considered in the light of that research. (6.15)
  • Policy makers need to set a lead if professionals on the operational side of highway infrastructure provision are to cater for the specific safety needs of motorcycles regarding design, implementation and maintenance of work on the highway. (6.16)
  • Where congestion charging is introduced there should be a commensurate increase in convenient and secure parking provision to maximise the environmental benefits of the modal shift from cars to motorcycles. (7.2)
  • In view of the potential benefits to congestion reduction that a shift from car use to motorcycle use can give, motorcycles should be exempt from congestion charging and road tolls. (7.3)
  • Security of motorcycles at journey's end is an important policy consideration. Secure parking facilities should be provided at transport interchanges and at journey's end to mitigate the likelihood of theft and minimise “unofficial” parking. (7.4)
  • The Scottish Executive should encourage and monitor the provision of adequate secure motorcycle parking, particularly in congested urban areas. (7.14)
  • The Scottish Executive should encourage VisitScotland to survey bed and breakfast, guest-houses and hotel accommodation to establish if they provide or would consider providing “biker friendly” accommodation. A directory of biker friendly accommodation could then be compiled, which would serve as a real draw to potential motorcycle tourists. (8.15)

Note: Numbers in brackets relate to the paragraphs in the body of the text, which detail and support the recommendations.

2. INTRODUCTION

2.1 It is recognised both nationally and within the Scottish Executive that motorcycles, mopeds and scooters (powered two wheelers - PTW's) have a role to play in a national transport strategy.

2.2 In rural areas they can help reduce social exclusion by providing an affordable alternative to the car where public transport is not readily available, and where walking or cycling is impractical. While in urban areas, switching from car use to motorcycle use has the potential to reduce vehicle emissions and congestion as well as minimising the land required for parking provision.

2.3 Since the publication of the White Papers the Government and the Scottish Executive have encouraged local authorities to take account of the contribution PTW's can make in delivering integrated transport policies. This guidance has included making due consideration for the needs of motorcyclists with regards to general parking provision and provision of suitable facilities and secure parking at public transport interchanges. Local authorities were also encouraged to consider properly monitored trials of the use of bus lanes by motorcycles.

2.4 This has resulted in the launch of a Wheels 2 Work programme in Cumnock. The scheme, which provides low cost mopeds to unemployed youths and students, has helped increase employment and further education opportunities for the participants and as a consequence reduced social exclusion. It has proved so successful that the Scottish Executive is promoting the scheme as part of the Rural Community Transport Initiative. While the proposed congestion-charging scheme within Edinburgh will exempt PTW's from the charge in recognition of the role they can make in helping reduce congestion.

2.5 Despite these notable successes very little progress has been achieved overall towards promoting and recognising motorcyclists needs at a local level within Scotland .

2.6 One of the reasons believed to contribute to this lack of progress is bias by some institutions, including local authorities, employers, regional government, educational bodies, environmental and safety pressure groups. A consequence of this bias is a failure to include adequate provision for PTW's in Local Transport Strategies or Business Travel Plans. This lack of provision is contrary to improving PTW safety. (1)

2.7 Increasingly stringent standards have reduced noise levels from new motorcycles and modern machines emit much lower levels of noise than earlier models. Despite this there remains a problem caused by some riders failing to maintain their machines properly or illegally fitting after market ‘Not for Road use' systems or silencers. A relatively small number of such illegal machines can create a perception of motorcycles being very noisy. Legal powers exist to deal with this problem including a requirement for correct silencer markings during the MOT test and roadside checks. Although enforcement can be difficult the best results are achieved when the police and local authorities work in tandem to address specific local problems.

(1) Advisory Group on Motorcycling : Final Report to Government (August 2004)

3. LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK

3.1 ‘Travel Choices for Scotland ' - The Scottish Integrated Transport White Paper issued in 1998, set out a framework for transport requirements and policy in Scotland . One consequence was that a forum was set up to consider the role motorcycling could play within an integrated transport system. The forum consists of members of the Scottish Executive, representatives of the motorcycle industry and user groups.

3.2 ‘Scotland's Transport Future' – The Transport White Paper issued in June 2004, built on the initial framework and requires that strategies be developed for the proposed National Transport Agency and Regional Transport Partnerships. In order to promote motorcycling as part of an integrated transport system the forum considered that it was necessary to prepare a Scottish Motorcycling Strategy, which could be incorporated into the new national and regional transport strategies. This strategy was to address the issues surrounding motorcycle usage and provide guidance for regional and local transport planners to ensure that appropriate provisions are made for motorcycle use in their transport plans.

3.3 This strategy recognises that many issues surrounding motorcycle use lie in areas that are reserved for action by Westminster and the DfT. This is necessary to maintain a uniform approach throughout the UK on appropriate matters. Other matters such as the Scottish road network, parking controls and the promotion of road safety, lie firmly within the remit of the Scottish Executive. To ensure that this strategy delivers policies and guidance which are both consistent with national guidelines and which address requirements that are particular to Scotland consideration has been given to the findings of the Advisory Group on Motorcycling ( AGM ) as well as experience gained from initiatives sponsored by the Scottish Executive and by others.

3.4 The Government's White Paper on the Future of Transport, “A New Deal for Transport: Better For Everyone” issued in July 1998, recognised that mopeds and motorcycles can provide an alternative means of transport for many trips and that they offer an affordable alternative to the car. The White Paper also acknowledged the potential benefits offered by motorcycling for the environment and for congestion. However it recognised that these were dependant on a number of factors and that the role of motorcycling in an integrated transport policy raises some important issues.

3.5 The Government concluded that it required advice on these issues and it established the Advisory Group on Motorcycling ( AGM ). The AGM set up five Task Forces to examine vehicle safety and security, integration and traffic management, environmental and fiscal issues, statistics, and research.

3.6 This Strategy examines the findings of the AGM and its Task Forces and determines their relevance and applicability to Scotland . The strategy also seeks to identify matters which require to be considered by the Scottish Executive in order to deliver a policy on motorcycling which is consistent with national guidelines and takes into consideration aspects of policy which are particular to Scotland or require to be implemented within Scotland.

4. POLICY

4.1 The Scottish Executive has a vital leadership role in achieving successful transport objectives. Attainment of these objectives will require legislation and investment, as well as the Executive's influence in guiding planning policy, standard setting, demand management and joint working. The Transport ( Scotland ) Act 2001 was the Scottish Parliament's first transport legislation and provided the legislative framework to improve transport planning.

4.2 Scotland's Transport Future; the Transport White Paper issued in June 2004 set out proposals for a National Transport Agency and Regional Transport Partnerships. Together these bodies will play a key role in the strategies required for the planning and delivery of transport objectives. The provision of a new long-term transport strategy is fundamental to the delivery of these objectives. It should cover all modes in a balanced way and provide a framework within which councils and the proposed regional transport partnerships develop their own plans.

4.3 Motorcycles and PTW's are part of the transport mix on all roads. The proportion varies considerably, with the highest levels of PTW use generally being found in larger urban areas. Relatively little attention has previously been given to any special needs of motorcyclists despite the fact that numbers have been increasing over recent years. (2)

4.4 As increasing numbers of motorists are switching to the motorcycle option. It is clear that local policy and planning should look more closely at how safety, access and security issues can be addressed to reduce motorcyclist's vulnerability. Local transport strategies have a key role to play in addressing these issues and motorcycles should figure in all transport strategies as a legitimate, beneficial (compared to cars) transport mode in local policy. (3)

4.5 In particular local transport strategies and plans should;

  • • Raise awareness of motorcycles as a beneficial transport mode;
  • Recognise the benefits of motorcycle use, tied to specific local land use and transport planning issues;
  • Recognise the wide spectrum covered by the term motorcycle (or Powered Two Wheeler);
  • Encompass frank examination of the drawbacks to motorcycling – the most obvious being safety, include serious data-led analysis of the local situation and include the kernels of positive action to address other drawbacks including security, noise and vehicle pollution concerns;
  • Commit local authorities to give specific undertakings to include identified best practice in their operational procedures;
  • Consider the role of motorcycling in helping reduce congestion, emissions, and in local rural transport policies.

4.6 Local Transport Strategies should refer to the role that motorcycles can play and should contain strategies to reduce their accident involvement rate. These strategies should cover both engineering and non-engineering activities.

4.7 Consultation with riders is essential to ensure that strategies and initiatives meet the need of the users and local authorities may find it useful to establish a Motorcycle Forum to obtain the necessary intelligence. Such consultation is particularly important within the remit of the National Transport Agency and Regional Transport Partnerships, though consideration should also be given at local authority level. Consultation at local level can involve motorcycle forums where practicable, or within broader forums of stakeholders of other transport modes. 

• In addition to inclusion within Local Transport Strategies, motorcycles also have a role to play in travel plans produced by employers and adult or late-teen educational establishments to reduce the amount of traffic they generate. Local authorities should play a lead role in the promotion of travel plans and include best practice in relation to provision for motorcycles.
• An additional benefit for employers encouraging increased Motorcycle use stems from the reduced journey times that this mode enjoys, over four wheeled vehicles, by being less susceptible to the effects of congestion. Resulting in reduced levels of stress amongst the workforce.
(2) Advisory Group on Motorcycling : Final Report to Government (August 2004)

(3) Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers : Reducing rider vulnerability and improving safety through engineering and integration (December 2004)

5. SAFETY

5.1 The safety of motorcyclists is a significant issue. Motorcyclists represent a large proportion of road casualties in relation to their numbers. They make up around 1% of road traffic, but suffer around 18% of deaths and serious injuries.

5.2 In Scotland over the period between 1992 and 2002 motorcycle traffic increased by approximately 50% from just over 200 million vehicle km to very nearly 300 million vehicle km. In the same period there was an initial decline in casualties from 1992 to 1996 followed from 1998 onwards by a disturbing increase of approximately 9% per annum for Killed and Seriously injured (KSI) and 6% per annum for all casualties taken against baseline averages. As a result casualties are only slightly below the numbers recorded in 1992. This is clearly a matter of some concern, although to put this in context it should be recognised that casualty rates per 1000 licensed motorcycles and per million km have fallen over the period. (4) The AGM report recognises the need to consider the improvements to casualty rates and recommends that “the Government takes into account rate-based performance for motorcyclist casualties in addition to the existing Road Safety Strategy casualty reduction targets”. To ensure a consistent approach both rate-based and absolute casualty reduction targets should be taken into account by the Scottish Executive.

5.3 The fact that the accident rate has decreased over the past 11 years is encouraging. This is not the same as saying that motorcyclists' accident risk are acceptable, or that no action is needed to improve motorcycle safety. Any situation in which the absolute numbers of fatal and serious casualties are increasing merits attention from the road safety perspective. (4)

5.4 While casualty numbers have reflected the increased motorcycle usage since 1996, it does not follow that this need always be the case. Within the Congestion Charging Zone in London PTW use has increased by 20% since the introduction of the charge, while casualty numbers have decreased by 15%. (5) Although the reasons for this reduction in casualties, despite increased usage, are not totally clear, investigation into PTW accidents within built up areas indicates that accidents tend to be the fault of other motorists. On this basis it would not be unreasonable to suggest that there is an increased awareness of cyclists and PTW's by other motorists due to increased numbers choosing these modes of transport within the Congestion Charging Zone. Another factor, which is believed to have contributed to this reduction of casualties among motorcyclists, was the launch of BikeSafe London in April 2003.

5.5 On non-built up roads, accidents tend to be mostly the fault of motorcyclists, resulting from a “loss of control” on the part of the motorcyclist, typically involve “sports bikes” and occur on single carriageways with 60mph speed limits. (4)

(4) Transport Research Planning Group : Motorcycle Accidents and Casualties in Scotland 1992 – 2002 (Scottish Executive Social Research 2004)

(5) Transport for London : Congestion Charging six months on (October 2003)

5.6 In order to address the principal causes of accidents in built up and non-built up areas road safety campaigns should consider hard hitting and sustained awareness campaigns in which motorcyclists are targeted to better negotiate junctions, bends and carry out overtaking manoeuvres. An element of this campaign should also encourage the development of these vital skills through “additional or advanced training”. Since a high proportion of accidents involving motorcyclists are caused by other road users, a campaign of a similar nature to make them become more aware of motorcyclists should be continued in parallel. These campaigns need to take a multi-agency approach, with input from road user groups, the police and LAROSA amongst others.

5.7 The Local Authority Road Safety Officers Association (LAROSA) is the main “clearing house” for local authority educational and publicity measures and it is recommended that the appropriate LAROSA adviser be consulted before initiating any new measures, to ensure cohesive and effective approaches, while avoiding duplication.

5.8 The Scottish Executive is funding research currently being undertaken on ‘Risk and Motorcyclists in Scotland '. It is hoped that this research will provide a better understanding of the behavioural attitudes of the high risk takers and enable campaigns to be targeted more successfully at this group of riders.

5.9 The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has introduced and is proposing to introduce measures to rationalise and improve the training associated with the Compulsory Basic Training certificate. Further measures are also proposed to improve post-test rider training paying particular attention to newly qualified riders, persons upgrading their motorcycles and persons returning to motorcycling after a break.

5.10 The AGM believes that since the majority of novice riders choose to pass their test via the Direct Access route, it is timely for the Government to consider:

• Whether or not the training and testing structure adequately equips riders for the conditions they face on the road;
• Introducing elements of advanced riding technique and a requirement for candidates to complete a minimum number of hours on-road assessed riding (utilising a log-book scheme) prior to being awarded a test pass;
• Introducing a post-test training requirement; and
• Introducing ongoing Direct Access instructor monitoring.

5.11 The police are also concerned about motorcycle related collisions and are developing their own strategies to reduce casualties. This includes standardisation across the country of the motorcycling skills assessment course Bikesafe.

5.12 In Scotland all eight police forces and other agencies including riders organisations have been involved in the five year Bikesafe Scotland initiative launched in the year 2000.

5.13 The Transport Research Planning Group has conducted an evaluation of the scheme. Their Report concluded that participants were significantly less likely to experience “loss of control” (the most common precipitating factor in fatal accidents where the motorcyclist was judged to be primarily responsible) (6) . Improved hazard perception and defensive riding has also taken place and resulted in most riders riding below the speed limit in built-up areas. The Report had some concerns that after participation some riders were riding faster on roads in non-built up areas, though there was no indication that the increased speed was necessarily inappropriate and was mitigated by improved control, some of the police forces had made changes to the programme to focus more on riding attitudes as a result. (7)

5.14 Participants to the scheme were attracted by the fact that Bikesafe Scotland was free and run by the police. They saw the improved relationship between the police and the motorcycling community as being very positive. The TRPG Report noted that a lack of resources was a problem, with some forces being forced to scale back on the scheme, and recommended that development of the scheme would depend on dedicated resources being made available. While there was scope to increase private and voluntary sector involvement in the scheme there were issues concerning charging and credibility of these trainers since motorcycle instructors are not currently accredited by the DSA. (7)

5.15 In view of the predominantly beneficial results of Bikesafe the Scottish Executive should ensure that adequate funds are available to provide the necessary dedicated resources for this valuable safety initiative.

5.16 Some police forces, in liaison with local authorities, are conducting Rider Improvement Courses for motorcyclists. These courses can apply to motorcyclists seen to be riding badly when no offence has been committed, and offered as an alternative to prosecution when an offence is committed. These courses also have the benefit of attracting riders who are most at risk and would not otherwise consider participating in safety courses. The scheme has received favourable comment in the Governments document ‘Tomorrows Roads Safer for Everyone' as part of the road safety strategy for casualty reduction to 2010 and is recognised by the Association of British Insurers. (8)

5.17 The Scottish Executive should ensure that this scheme is promoted and is available as far as is practicable across Scotland.

5.18 Following the introduction of the Pass Plus scheme for novice car drivers across local authorities in Scotland , Perth and Kinross Council initiated a similar Bike Plus scheme for newly qualified motorcycle riders. This scheme provides additional training for novice riders who due to their lack of experience are at risk. The course is designed to increase hazard perception, improve motorcycle control skills at low and high speed as well as on motorways and at night or in poor weather.

5.19 The Scottish Executive should ensure that the Bike Plus scheme is adopted by Local Authorities across Scotland in a similar manner to the currently available Pass Plus scheme available to car drivers.

5.20 Although motorcycle safety is a concern, full introduction and continuation of the safety schemes detailed in this section, coupled with appropriate safety campaigns and a determination to avoid bias against the use of motorcycles as a transport solution will ensure that improvements to motorcycle casualty rates can take place. A failure to adopt or continue these measures risks placing motorcycles at the margins of policy, emphasising the perception of an “outlaw image” prevalent among the highest risk takers.

5.21 It is clear that both rural and urban areas, motorcycle casualties are caused by a variety of factors that revolve around engineering and planning, coupled with behaviour, skills and attitudes between motorcyclists and other road users. Compared to car users, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable mainly due to the relative exposure to the external environment. (9)

5.22 Appropriate action should take the form of an extensive package of measures that integrate to form an overall motorcycle strategy with clear targets not only for casualty reduction, but also for implementation of measures, which reduce vulnerability and change attitudes. (9)

5.23 It should be accepted that the motorcycle safety situation is due to a combination of factors that go beyond the rider and machine and are in a large measure the result of nearly 30 years of a poor strategic approach to motorcycling safety and policy issues. (9)

5.24 Measures should as far as possible be taken in partnership with motorcycling stakeholders, including the motorcycle industry and users.

5.25 In order to provide sufficient funding for safety campaigns and initiatives, as well as improving public acceptance of safety cameras, consideration should be given to obtaining funding for these measures from safety camera partnerships.

(6) TRL : An analysis of police reports of fatal accidents involving motorcycles, UK (2001)

(7) Transport Research Planning Group : Evaluation of Bikesafe Scotland (Scottish Executive Social Research 2003)

(8) National Driver Improvement Scheme website.

(9) Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers : Reducing rider vulnerability and improving safety through engineering and integration (December 2004)

5.26 Diesel spillage as well as being of considerable concern to motorcyclists, may be a contributing factor in a small but significant number of accidents. The Scottish Executive should ensure that existing legislation is adequately enforced and should lobby the EU and UK Governments to tighten legislation and review MOT checks with the aim of ensuring minimum spillage for safety and environmental reasons.

5.27 The Scottish Executive should press the UK Government to seek 0% VAT levels on protective clothing and rider training schemes.

5.28 Only a small percentage of fatalities (Approximately 4%) are primarily as a result of travelling at speeds in excess of the posted limits. Mobile and fixed speed cameras only target vehicles travelling above these limits. A much larger percentage (Approximately 17%) is due to inattention that cannot be detected by cameras. The Scottish executive should ensure that adequate traffic police are deployed to reduce the level of dangerous driving, the use of vehicles that are not roadworthy and other offences that are not being addressed by speed cameras

6 THE SCOTTISH ROAD NETWORK

6.1 The Scottish Executive ensures that the trunk road network is managed and maintained to appropriate standards. Day-to-day work involves among other things the inspection, maintenance and repair of the road surface, bridges, drains and lighting together with the grass cutting, road sweeping and salting and snow clearing required to ensure that traffic can continue to flow safely

6.2 The statutory responsibility for the network of local roads and bridges lies with individual local authorities. Councils are therefore responsible for the management, maintenance and improvement of all public roads in their areas, which do not form part of the trunk road network.

6.3 In 2002, all 32 local authorities in Scotland agreed to undertake a rolling survey of the condition of the local road network. The Scottish Executive fully supports this work, which is being co-ordinated by the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS) (http://www.scots-website.org.uk/). The survey will operate on a 4 year rolling cycle, with all A roads covered annually, while a proportion of B, C and unclassified roads will be surveyed each year, leading to full coverage over the 4 years. The results of the survey will provide an overall view of the condition of the network, as well as detailed information to allow local authorities to assess the need for repairs & maintenance, and identify future priorities for investment in improvements

6.4 Road defects are of considerable concern to motorcyclists and cyclists and whereas motorists may experience discomfort or in severe case damage to their vehicles, motorcyclists encountering the same defect may experience “loss of control” with potentially very serious consequences. Similarly poor design of roads and their infrastructure can pose increased risk to motorcyclists. It is imperative that laid down design criteria are fully complied with for the benefit of all road users

6.5 In appreciation of these facts the Highways Agency in England approached the Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers (IHIE) with a view to producing guidelines aimed at reducing rider vulnerability and improving safety through engineering and integration.

6.6 These guidelines, which are equally applicable to Scottish roads, constitute best practice. Their adoption by the Scottish Executive and local authorities will represent a major step towards integrating motorcycles into transport policy. Key areas for consideration by highway engineers and roads departments are summarised in Appendix A

6.7 Other areas for consideration include:

• A review of the impact of transport planning on road safety.
• The provision of secure parking.
• Incorporation of motorcycles within local transport strategies.
• Motorcycle access to bus lanes and advance stop lines
• In particular transport strategies should be evaluated according to their potential for casualty reduction across all modes, including motorcycling.

6.9 In order to reduce rider vulnerability it is essential that motorcycles are included in transport strategies so that roads departments and local authorities can implement measures, which take the needs of motorcyclists into consideration.

6.10 Although the issue of motorcycle access to bus lanes and advanced stop lines has been contentious a number of existingschemes or trials suggests that both “vulnerable” road users can use such facilities without disadvantaging the other.

• The DfT's present advice on bus lanes, “Keeping Buses Moving” (10) recommends against motorcycles normally being allowed into bus lanes. The arguments about other vehicles using bus lanes usually revolve around the reduction in benefits for buses. This is not an issue with motorcycles. But there has been a longstanding concern about conflicts with cyclists and to a lesser extent pedestrians. For cyclists the concern stems from the differential rate of travel of cyclists and motorcyclists, given the increased traffic flow in an uncongested bus lane, and the visibility of cyclists compared with buses, giving rise to a perception of greater risk and a less attractive cycling environment. For pedestrians, evaluating the differential rate of travel and the awareness of motorcycles in bus lanes generate perceived safety concerns.

6.12 Nevertheless, a number of authorities have allowed motorcycles into bus lanes. To date there has been no evidence of increased accidents to substantiate the perceived higher risks of allowing PTW's into bus lanes either where motorcycle use is allowed or in Tfl or DfT trials. Furthermore there are potential safety benefits to motorcyclists (a reduction in motorcycle accidents of between 0% and 31% in DfL trials (11) ) if they are able to use bus lanes rather than filter through traffic queuing alongside the bus lane. Motorcyclists contend that they are more visible to pedestrians when using bus lanes than when filtering through stationary or slow moving traffic.

6.13 The present situation is unsatisfactory, as views on allowing PTW's into bus lanes tend to be polarised and based onperception rather than empirical data. The AGM would like to see the position clarified and suggest that research is continued and extended to arrive at an unambiguous position. In light of current experience motorcycle and local authority interests on the Task force would like the DfT's advice to be amended to at least a neutral rather than a negative position. (12) The Government's Motorcycling Strategy notes that a review of Local Transport Note 1/97 is planned for 2005, and due consideration will be given to the results of on-going research into trials of permitting PTW use of bus lanes.

6.14 In areas where cyclist and pedestrian safety is not an issue, such as the priority bus lane on the A90, motorcycle access should be considered as a matter of priority in light of the findings of the M4 bus lane experiment.

6.15 The provision of advance stop lines (ASLs) for cyclists at signal junctions is now widespread. Motorcycle representatives have sought to allow the shared use of ASLs by motorcyclists. However this has raised concerns. The DfT therefore have commissioned research to look at the effects of allowing motorcyclists to use ASLs at a number of trial sites. While conflict between pedal cycles and motorcycles was not identified as a problem, the trials highlighted a number of design issues regarding the shared use of ASLs, especially the provision of separate filter lanes for PTWs. The Government, in the Motorcycling Strategy, has committed itself to carrying out further trials into permitting PTW use of ASLs, and policy should be reconsidered in the light of that research. (13)

6.16 Motorcycles have a vital role to play in reducing congestion and providing cost-effective transport for those not well served by public transport. In view of their vulnerability, the specific safety needs of motorcycles need to be carefully consideredby highway and traffic engineers in the design implementation and maintenance of work on the highway. However it is unlikely that professionals on the operational side of highway infrastructure provision will make a step change in their approach to catering for motorcyclists if policy makers have not set the lead. (14)

6.17 There is a gap in the advice available to highway and traffic engineers about the particular requirements for providing safety for motorcyclists on the road network. While it is true that in most areas of highway and traffic engineering provision for traffic will generally cover motorcycles, there are some particular needs for PTWs that need to be taken into account. For example: not placing steel manhole covers where motorcycles are likely to be cornering sharply, and not locating road humps where motorcyclists are likely to be cornering or where such placing is likely to cause conflict with oncoming vehicles.

6.18 The Institution of Highway Incorporated Engineers (IHIE) has produced guidelines addressing the specific needs of motorcyclists. This advice should be used to inform highway departments and engineers and be kept up to date as knowledge develops through research and experience.

7. CONGESTION AND MOTORCYCLE PARKING

7.1 DfT research into the consequences of increased motorcycle use on traffic congestion on urban roads and the associated environmental and safety effects provided useful data. It was quickly apparent that this is an under-researched area compared to many other aspects of transport. The study established that:

• There were benefits for those who switched from other modes to motorcycling;

• Where public transport use was relatively low, and transfers to motorcycle use come mostly from cars, overall levels of congestion reduced;

• Where public transport use is high most of the transfers are likely to come from public transport, leading to no overall reduction in congestion. (Though secondary modal shift effectse.g. if changes to capacity on public transport released by transfers to PTW use would draw some people out of their cars there bye reducing congestion, was not considered);

• The overall environmental impact of a switch to motorcycling was minimal for any realistic level of transfer.

• Without additional safety measures, a transfer to motorcycles would be likely to increase casualties.

The study concluded that further work would be needed to ensure that the conclusions were robust. For example the AGM noted that in London , increased levels of motorcycling have not led to a pro rata increase in motorcycle casualties as some expected.This may be linked to TfL developing a package of positive motorcycle measures.

• Under EU Type Approval, PTW emission limits are currently one stage behind those of catalytic converter equipped cars, with Euro 3 limits due in 2006 expected to bring PTW emissions down to current car levels. However, on a typical peak period journey a PTW built to current standards will produce less pollutants than a comparable car. When the fact that the car is stationary in traffic queues for a significant proportion of the journey is taken into account, the bias in favour of the PTW is further enhanced.

• In view of the potential benefits to congestion reduction that a shift from car use to motorcycle use can give, motorcycles should be exempt from congestion charging.

• Where congestion charging is introduced to tackle congestion, present evidence indicates that motorcycle use will increase. There should be a commensurate increase in convenient and secure parking provision to maximise the environmental benefits of the modal shift from cars to motorcycles.

7.5 Security of motorcycles at journey's end is an important policy consideration, given the relative ease with which motorcycles can be stolen. The absence of convenient and secure parking and clothing lockers can be a severe deterrent to motorcycle use. Often all that is needed is an area that is in clear view and equipped with some fixed rail or other solid device to which the motorcycle can be locked. The government has already provided advice on parking issues to local authorities (15) and the 2000 Transport Act was amended to include the provision of secure motorcycle parking. Secure parking facilities should be provided at transport interchanges and at journey's end to mitigate the likelihood of theft and minimise “unofficial” parking. In a recent study on motorcycles and congestion and the factors that can affect modal shift it was found that: the time spent walking from the parking location to the final destination is only valued negatively when there are no specific security measures available at the parking location. If security measures are provided then the walking time of up to five minutes has not been found to impact on the utility. This study also showed that many motorcyclists experienced a perceived gain, in both financial and welfare terms, from the modal shift away from cars onto a motorcycle.

7.6 Prior to the development of Local Transport Strategy guidelines there was little recognition of the need to provide for motorcycle users. This is in contrast to cycle parking provision where guidance on good practice and permissive changes to regulation came much sooner. The requirement to take account of motorcyclists, specifically to consider the number of motorcycle parking opportunities, should no longer be in doubt.

7.7 Motorcycle use can be characterised both by its flexibility and seasonality, so demand for parking and the most appropriate means of meeting that demand can be difficult to assess. But indications of the potential for motorcycle demand can be taken from the national data contained in the DfT Compendium of Motorcycle Statistics:

• Department for Transport mid-year estimates for 2003 show 1.52 million motorcycles in use in the UK, around 5% of all motor vehicles;

• National Travel Survey data for the period 1996-2003 shows two out of every threemotorcycle journeys are conducted for work, business, education or shopping purposes;

• Motorcycle parking patterns vary according to the season and weather conditions, activity between November and march being around 40% lower than average;

• During favourable weather individual riders will travel far more frequently than average figures.

7.7 The demand for motorcycle parking will be high at and around educational establishments and work places, within orsurrounding shopping and entertainment/leisure areas, at transport interchanges, or within residential areas lacking private parking opportunities. High evening or weekend demand is also likely adjacent to user-specific events e.g. motorcycle retailers.

7.8 In terms of convenience, flexibility in use and security considerations, motorcycles are often more similar to bicycles than cars. Consequently, the behaviour and requirements of motorcyclists often follow the cycle-parking model. Inadequate provision will lead to exploitation of inappropriate opportunities and can result in obstruction or hazard to others. This is not to say that marginal areas, especially those already utilised by riders, cannot be formalised by relative low cost actions to protect parked machines and other road users.

7.9 Parking occupancy and duration can only be reliably assessed by manual surveys, but consultation with users can help toresolve issues and produce more suitable facilities.

7.10 There is little in the way of established standards, but those local authorities that have specified figures commonly recommend motorcycle parking levels of around 20% of car capacity.

7.11 TAL 2/02 (16) links journey purposes with length of stay. In addition to indicating likely uses, it is also possible to suggest other attributes of motorcycle parking that might vary with length of stay. For short visits close proximity to destination will be a key feature. For longer visits, while proximity remains important, security features such as anchor points, regular monitoring and limited opportunity for theft by van increase in desirability.

7.12 While more sophisticated security systems with moving parts or locking mechanisms are generally more expensive to provide and maintain, the temptation to offset these costs by charging is difficult to implement successfully. Ticket based pay and display systems do not work well with motorcycles as there is nowhere to secure the ticket, while meter based systems can alert thieves to the likely time at which a rider will return to their machine.

7.13 Good practice in motorcycle parking can be summarised as “Near and Clear, Secure and safe to use and Useful”:

• Near – Motorcycle users will naturally look for parking opportunities close to their destination because the relatively small-size and flexibility of the motorcycle allows easy progress through traffic and the exploitation of marginal parking opportunities without causing obstruction. (consideration of carrying of protective clothing and helmets will also mitigate against more remote parking);
• Clear – While the first consideration is especially true of very short stops, any difficulty in finding a suitable formal parking area will tend to negate the natural advantages of motorcycle use, if riders looking to park for any length of time are to use formal facilities, they need to be able to find them;
• Secure – Physical security measures will be a strong attraction for most riders needing to park for more than a few minutes. Casual users, motorcycle-tourists, etc. unfamiliar with an area are likely to find the prospect of secure parking very attractive. Physical security need not be difficult or expensive to provide, inclusion of fixed robust features such as rails, hoops or posts designed to provide a simple locking-point for securing motorcycles is often all that is required.
• Safe to use – Personal safety considerations when using a parking area start with the surface on which the machine has to be manoeuvred, mounted/dismounted, which should be level (Slopes greater than 5% can cause reduced stability of parked machines) and be on suitable hard-standing. (Motorcycle side and centre stands can exert considerable loads, 100psi would not be unusual for larger machines). Secondary security feature such as lighting, seclusion, whether the scheme is covered by CCTV and the amount of passing pedestrians traffic all need to be considered when planning a facility. Where motorcycle-parking facilities are provided on the carriageway, sufficient space and visibility must be present to allow manoeuvring without significant risk of coming into conflict with other traffic.
• Useful – where possible, in new developments where parking is provided, lockers and changing facilities should be provided for cyclists and motorcyclists. PTW parking should also be provided as close to the building access points as possible

7.14 The Scottish Executive should encourage and monitor the provision of adequate secure motorcycle parking, particularly in congested urban areas, in line with the explicit guidelines contained in TAL 2/02 (16)

8. MOTORCYCLE TOURISM

8.1 Tourism is one of Scotland 's largest business sectors, providing direct employment for 200,000 people and generating visitor spending of more than £4 billion a year.

8.2 Tourism is an important element in the social, economic, environmental and cultural well being of Scotland , from major cities to rural areas, many of which depend on the industry for jobs and infrastructure.

8.3 VisitScotland has a strategic role as the public sector agency providing leadership and direction for the development of Scottish tourism to get the maximum economic benefit for Scotland . It exists to support the development of the tourism industry in Scotland and to market Scotland as a quality destination. VisitScotland's ambition is to grow Scottish Tourism by 50% by 2015.

8.4 In order to achieve this goal VisitScotland must deliver on brand and product positioning and make sure that the tourism industry has the market intelligence and development advice to follow its lead. This involves understanding our potential visitors and building up a strong perception of Scotland as a dramatic, enduring and human place that is a lot more than a loose collection of things to see and do.

8.5 An aspect of tourism in Scotland which has at present not been fully explored or developed is motorcycle touring, yet Scotland has some natural assets which place it high on the list of desirable destinations for motorcycle touring. Indeed there are a growing number of companies who specialise in organising and facilitating motorcycle tours in Scotland .

8.6 Research carried out by Leeds University identified that a high percentage of riders (85%) engaged in leisure rides. These riders generally identified a good motorcycling route as having wide sweeping roads with impressive views and little traffic (17 , ) a description which applies to a large number of Scotland 's trunk roads, particularly those in more remote areas where tourism has a proportionally high significance in the economy.

8.7 The survey also revealed that riders of larger touring machines (who are more likely to engage in longer tours) tend to have attended voluntary motorcycle training courses, drive a car, earn a higher income and fall into a higher socio-economic class. Work by the Scottish Executive Transport Statistics branch carried out for the Scottish Household Survey confirms the findings relating to income and class within Scotland (18)

8.8 At least part of the attraction of motorcycle touring is the sense of freedom that it gives to participants. As a result riders are quite likely to plan a fairly flexible itinerary. Nevertheless when planning a route, riders will tend given the choice, to choose accommodation which is “biker friendly”.

8.9 This is a concept which is self promoting. The more “biker friendly” establishments that exist, the greater the perception amongst riders that they are welcome and their custom is valued. Consequentially the image is enhanced and word spreads amongst riders that the destination is worthy of a visit, resulting in greater numbers of riders choosing to tour the area and increased business for the “biker friendly” establishments.

8.10 An example of this scenario can be found in the Alps , where many establishments advertise themselves as “biker friendly” and attract large numbers of riders to the area, reassured that their needs will be accommodated at the end of their journey.

8.11 Consideration of what constitutes a “biker friendly” establishment can encompass a wide variety of facilities. Key among them, particularly given the vagaries of the Scottish weather, is the provision of drying facilities for riding gear (this is equally important for cyclists and walkers), safe parking and a warm welcome which does not prejudge riders just because they arrived by motorcycle.

8.12 It is difficult to assess the percentage of tourists who tour Scotland by motorcycle, due to the aggregation of the figures for different transport modes. The United Kingdom Tourism Survey (UKTS), would tend to indicate levels of around 1% to 2% at present, despite a lack of serious promotion to date. This suggests a value to the Scottish economy of between £40M and £80M per annum, though given the comparatively affluent makeup of riders; this may be a conservative estimate.

8.13 Recent initiatives including the provision of the direct ferry link from Zeebrugge to Rosyth, promoted by the Scottish Executive, can only help ensure that increased numbers of motorcyclists from mainland Europe choose to tour Scotland . The scenery and remoteness many parts of Scotland serves as a strong attraction for touring motorcyclists. The previous disincentive of having to travel up and down the length of England has been removed, allowing motorcyclists more time in Scotland.

8.14 With appropriate promotion given Scotland 's undoubted attraction to touring motorcyclists, the scope exists to achieve the expansion in this sector that VisitScotland are seeking. Indeed, given the rise in motorcycle ownership a doubling of motorcycle tourists would not be an unrealistic target.

8.15 To address this the Scottish Executive should encourage VisitScotland to survey bed and breakfast, guest-houses and hotel accommodation to establish if they provide or would consider providing “biker friendly” accommodation. A directory of biker friendly accommodation could then be compiled, which would serve as a real draw to potential motorcycle tourists.

8.16 Events such as the annual International Six Days Trial based in Fort William , the BMF show in Kelso and numerous small rallies across Scotland as well as larger occasional events such as the Gold Wing Owners Treffen, attract riders from across the UK and Europe . Both the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) and Motorcycle Action Group ( MAG ) host web sites, which provide details of these events and related information such as motorcycle dealerships. This information can help provide a stimulus for potential visits as well as giving reassurance of the support infrastructure available in the event of breakdown. To assist in the promotion of motorcycle touring in Scotland both MAG and the BMF would be happy for VisitScotland to consider links to this source of information.

Appendix A

Summary of IHIE Guidelines for Motorcycling

Surface Grip and Consistency

Motorcycles have a much greater need for a consistent and high level of grip from the road surface than twin-track vehicles, especially on wet surfaces and in areas requiring braking and steering. Riders adopt an angle of lean to negotiate a corner that is related to speed and curvature – changes in grip can destabilise the machine in this situation. Any deviation from a consistently level surface can seriously impair the motorcycle's road-holding ability, increasing the risk of a crash. While unpredictable changes in the road environment that calls for rapid deceleration or braking while cornering can cause the motorcycle to “sit-up” and take a tangential line away from the bend. 

Design Points

The recognition and understanding of the dynamics of motorcycle behaviour, when considered during planning and maintenance of roads, can play a significant role in lessening the risk to motorcyclists.

To reduce sudden variations in steering or braking requirements and minimise the consequences of any loss of control the following points should be considered: 

  • Consistent horizontal alignment to minimise changes in steering angle;
  • Whenever possible position pedestrian and cycle crossings away from bends to allow motorcycles to brake and stop in a straight line and improve driver and rider sight lines;
  • Ensure consistent skid resistance properties, particularly on bends;
  • Terminate anti-skid surfacing on straight sections of road;
  • Avoid using different surfaces, for example granite setts, to emphasise a change of circumstances at turning points such as junctions and mini roundabouts;
  • Thermoplastic markings rarely have the same skid resistance properties as the surrounding road. Arrows and destination markings on roundabouts or bends are of concern to riders. Consistent and informative advance warning and direction signs should minimise the need for such surface signing. Careful consideration should be given to large areas of hatching;
  • Specifications for and positioning of in-road and roadside furniture, including impact characteristics when struck by a fallen or sliding body. The principal should be to minimise the number of obstacles;
  • Gentle changes in vertical alignment, both to minimise potential loss of tyre adhesion and optimise drainage;
  • Allow for higher eye level of riders when positioning street furniture or planting vegetation, especially at junctions;
  • Use battered kerbing as standard in rural areas to minimise potential injury to a sliding body;
  • When redesigning existing road layouts consider the position and level of utility covers, especially on bends and within braking areas. Avoid forcing riders to over-run them whenever possible;
  • Use of safety barriers and protection of support posts. The UK Highways agency has issued an Interim AdviceNote on Road Restraint Systems (IAN 44/02) in preparation for a new performance based standard, wh