April 22 2009.

The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) says that yesterday's announcement by the Department for Transport (DfT) of its new road safety strategy (A Safer Way: Consultation on Making Britain's Roads the Safest in the World) misses an opportunity to make a real difference to motorcycle safety. The MCI shares the government's goal of reducing death and injury on Britain's roads, and welcomes the DfT consultation's stated commitment to protecting motorcyclists, but believes the strategy is missing many positive actions that could genuinely make it safer to ride.

Measures to make Britain's powered two-wheelers (PTWs) the safest in the world could have included actions to reduce rider vulnerability, such as better driver education, increased funding for motorcycle safety programmes such as Bikesafe, wider access to bus lanes and urban infrastructure designed with PTWs in mind.

However, MCI welcomes the strategy's commitment to setting targets for improving motorcycle safety which reflect the massive increase in the popularity of motorcycling. The number of motorcycle casualties has stayed stable in recent years, but increased use of bikes means that, measured mile-for-mile, the motorcycle casualty rate has fallen sharply over the past 10 years.

Commenting on the proposals, the MCI's Sheila Rainger said: "We had hoped for a genuinely new vision for road safety which would make a real difference to riders' safety. Today's consultation is a missed opportunity to positively tackle motorcycle safety by bringing forward genuine new thinking, backed by evidence and experience. Cutting speed limits can never be a panacea when one-third of accidents are caused by the basic driver error of failure to look properly."