January 30 2008.

According to motor insurer, the latest Department for Transport (DoT) figures show that road accidents kill almost half as many motorcycle riders as car drivers and passengers, even though motorcycles account for less than 4% of vehicles on Britain's roads. state that whilst fatality rates for all other types of transport have dropped considerably over the past 25 years, the risk level for motorcycles has remained relatively stable.

The DoT figures show that 6,484 motorcycle users were killed or seriously injured in 2006, compared with 14,254 car users. These figures show that motorcyclists are 51 times more likely than car drivers to be killed or seriously injured per mile travelled, and more than twice as likely as pedal cyclists, the second most vulnerable group.

"The rising cost of fuel and the exemption of motorcycles from the London congestion charge have been two of the factors encouraging car drivers to switch to motorcycles," said Paul Purdy of vehicle insurance provider

He further commented that, "This has implications for other cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, where the introduction of a congestion charging system could lead to a rise in road casualties". believe that the trend for relatively inexperienced middle-aged men to switch from cars to powerful motorbikes is also fuelling the rise in accidents.

"Deaths and serious injuries of motorcyclists in their forties have almost doubled over the past ten years, whilst figures for those in their twenties and early thirties have declined," said Paul Purdy.

Motorcycle traffic has increased by an estimated 37% between 1996 and 2006, according to the latest DoT figures released.

"Whilst we support the move to encourage car drivers to use other forms of transport in city areas, as an insurer we are acutely aware that the risk factor for motorcycles is over 50 times higher than it is for cars, as far as deaths and serious injuries are concerned," said Paul Purdy.

"Wherever possible, we encourage drivers to turn to public transport rather than motorcycles when avoiding the congestion charge," he said.

If trade and industry sources wish to discuss this announcement with Yes Insurance, the phone number is 0870 160 25 36.