NEW HIGHWAY CODE SAYS 'THINK BIKE'
October 3 2007.
The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) has welcomed the publication of the revised Highway Code as good news for motorcyclists.

The first revised Highway Code in eight years has been unveiled by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP. The updated Code offers the latest road safety rules and advice, as well as promoting greater courtesy and understanding among all road users, particularly those who are most vulnerable

A section entitled 'Road Users requiring Extra Care' underlines the need for drivers to look out for vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists and cyclists. Both groups of road users share many of the vulnerabilities of using the road in busy traffic environments and specific advice to car drivers to 'Think Bike' at road junctions and when overtaking is very welcome.

The publication of the revised Highway Code is timely as it comes on the day that new detailed road casualty statistics from the Department for Transport (Road Casualties Great Britain 2006) show that overall motorcycle casualties fell by 6% in 2006. This means that for the first time, total motorcycle casualties are now below the baseline that was set for the Government's 2010 casualty reduction target; this is very good news for motorcycling.

Serious injuries of riders and passengers also fell slightly, but the number of deaths unfortunately rose by 5%. (Though fatalities are 13% lower than they were in 2003) However, the new casualty figures are set against a backdrop of motorcycle use rising by a third since the 1990s and a powered two wheeler market that has risen by 60% over the same period. This means that the relative chance of being involved in an accident on a motorcycle continues to fall.

The new statistics also reveal that 82% of motorcycle crashes and 75% of rider fatalities involve another vehicle, but other vehicle drivers colliding with motorcycles are about twice as likely as the rider to have failed to look properly. Indeed, statistics indicate that motorcyclists are the most vigilant of all road users but suffer from the carelessness of others.

In addition, the traditional road safety stereotypes about riders do not appear to be reflected in the casualty figures - just 4% of riders are recorded as having crashed while exceeding the speed limit. Where riders lose control of their bike, the condition of the road itself appears to be a key factor.

MCI's Craig Carey-Clinch said; "MCI welcomes the advice given in the revised Code and also welcomes the steady progress that is being made in reducing total motorcycle casualties. This is good news for motorcycling. However, the number of motorcycle deaths remains at a stubborn level and the DfT casualty report underlines the need for advice given to drivers about looking out for other road users, such as motorcyclists, to be enforced more rigorously - particularly as figures show most motorcyclists are injured by the carelessness of others."