REDUCTION IN MOTORCYCLE CASUALTIES
July 4 2006.
Figures released by The Department for Transport [29/06/06] show that the number of motorcycle user casualties on British roads is continuing to fall, despite continued growth in motorcycling overall.
The number of road users killed in 2005 fell by 20 to 3,201.  Whereas most road user groups saw no change and car users and pedal cyclists a slight increase, motorcycle fatalities fell by 16, accounting for 80% of the total improvement seen in 2005.  This follows on from the substantial improvement seen in 2004 and suggests that recent initiatives to raise other road-user's awareness of motorcycles and further improve rider's skills are bearing fruit.
The amount of motorcycle traffic has risen by around one-third over the last decade, yet the number of riders killed or seriously injured is less than one percent higher.  Where other vulnerable road-user groups have seen a reduction in their casualties their presence on the road has not grown and in many cases has reduced.
In recent years, more and more people have been taking to motorcycling as a way to avoid traffic congestion and new motorcycle sales have more than doubled since the early 1990's.  DfT figures show that more than half of motorcycle mileage is for work, business and education purposes whilst the Motor Cycle Industry Association reports that just over half of all new road bikes sold are under 500cc. [Ref DfT Compendium of Motorcycle Statistics 2006]
MCI's Craig Carey-Clinch said "The motorcycle industry, along with riders and government, have been working to create a more motorcycle-friendly road environment for Britain's' estimated 1.5 million riders. The Government has responded by publishing a ground-breaking Motorcycle Strategy, the first of its kind in Europe.
"The industry participates in a number of safety initiatives and is working in partnership with many agencies.  In response to long-standing calls for improvements in road design and maintenance by the motorcycle community the MCI worked with the Institute of Highways Incorporated Engineers and DfT to create guidelines for highways authorities to remove unnecessary dangers for motorcyclists.
"MCI has also produced education products including a DVD and a Citizenship pack and continue to works closely with DSA and DfT on new projects focussed on training and other safety issues.
"It seems clear that a multi agency approach, which tackles rider safety, as well as maximising opportunities for motorcycling by introducing measures which reduce vulnerability and favour motorcycles as a mode of transport, appears to be the most effective way of reducing casualties and getting the important safety messages out to riders.
"2003 saw an upwards 'spike' in casualties which some road safety campaigners described as a trend towards higher casualties. They also argued that if there is more motorcycling, then there will be more motorcycle casualties. However, it is clear from the record of the last two years that the casualty trend is actually downwards, despite the increase in motorcycle use and totally confounding motorcycling's 'expert' critics.
"Continued improvement in the motorcycle safety record will only come if progress towards 'mainstreaming' motorcycling in transport policies is stepped up, with this valuable congestion busting mode given parity in policy terms with other modes of transport."