Police and Motorcycle Industry launch landmark policy
The Motorcycle Industry Association and Association of Chief Police Officers are launching a landmark policy to encourage greater use of motorcycles on UK roads, which should improve road safety as a result.
Realising the Motorcycling Opportunity; A motorcycle safety and transport policy framework was jointly devised by police and industry in response to the slowdown of reductions in rider casualties.
Though rider safety has improved considerably since 2000, motorcyclists are currently over represented in road fatality statistics (1 per cent of traffic, 19 per cent of fatalities). This could be reduced with government support.
Both police and industry agree traditional road safety policies directed at motorcycling will only partially deliver more positive outcomes for motorcycle safety beyond those already achieved. However, encouraging rather than discouraging motorcycling should contribute to better safety outcomes.
The document, which was unveiled at a Parliamentary Reception hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Motorcycle Group on Monday 8 December, calls for motorcycles to be included in mainstream transport policy and sets out a framework of practical recommendations addressing how this might be achieved.
Why should government and transport planners take note?
- Two-wheeled transport offers an antidote to congestion. Motorised two-wheeled transport is particularly effective at keeping traffic moving.
- A Belgian study*, which modelled a shift from cars to motorcycles on one of the most congested roads in Europe, found that when just 10 per cent of car drivers swapped to a powered two wheeler, then congestion was reduced for all road users by 40 per cent. When 25 per cent of drivers swapped, congestion was eliminated altogether.
- Over the coming years, it is likely increasing numbers of people will opt for two-wheeled vehicles, whether bicycles, fully motorised two-wheelers, or a cross between the two.
- It is also likely some cyclists will migrate to motorised forms of two-wheeled transport and vice-versa. The Government has an opportunity to tackle safety issues faced by all vulnerable road users in an integrated and therefore more cost effective way.
Why encourage motorcycle use?
- The idea that more motorcycles on the road improves rider safety was initially based on European data, which shows that when a greater percentage of traffic is made up of motorcycles, mopeds or scooters, riders are less likely to be involved in an accident.
- With around 50 per cent** of motorcycle accidents initiated by other road users, an effective programme to raise awareness of all road users could considerably reduce the number and seriousness of incidents.
- There is a growing body of evidence which shows that if more people started their road careers on a motorcycle, scooter or moped, this would lead to improvements in driver behaviour towards all vulnerable road users.
- It is also acknowledged that motorcyclists make better road users when driving cars.
- The friends and relatives of motorcyclists are also more aware of vulnerable road users – a psychological factor, which forms the basis of successful road safety initiatives.
Some of the measures called for in the paper 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)