Motorcyclists are an extremely vulnerable group of road users; they aren’t protected by an outer shell the way like other vehicles are and can be much lighter/smaller. These characteristics, as well as many more come together to make motorcycle riding risky and therefore more accidents are expected.
For example, the government released a figure in 2006 stating per mile travelled, there were 35 times more fatalities from bike accidents than from a car.
There are quite a few reasons why biking is a dangerous activity, We Buy Any Bike have come up with a few to mention:
Riders are more affected by road hazards then car drivers. For example, if there is a small pothole in the road a car would drive over it while feeling a slight bump, if a rider hits this the wrong way they could become airborne and thrown from the bike.
Motorbikes are smaller, which means they can be hidden behind other vehicles and obstacles. Bikes also move differently to other vehicles, which might affect the way they are positioned on the road.
Bikes can be lighter yet more powerful than many vehicles; studies show riders can be encouraged to use this huge amount of power, with it being so accessible. Extremely fast accelerating has been proven to amplify high risk behaviour.
To ride or drive any vehicle, an amount of skill is required. However to be a motorbike rider, more skill is arguably required, and like all road users experience is ever expanding. It’s when people ride motorcycles without the required skill that accidents are more likely. In 2001 a study found that one quarter of all motorcycle fatalities involved a rider without their full licence.
Motorcycle accidents in the UK
In an article from the Department of Transport 2015, they released some statistics on Motorcycle Causalities in the UK. They produced some really interesting facts showing the number of motorcyclist’s getting killed or seriously harmed has declined greatly since 1979, as shown in the below graph:
The highest number of biker fatalities was shown to be in 1930 at a staggering 1,832. The lowest year was 2012 at 328 deaths; this figure has floated around there in the last few years. The seriously injured figure had a low year in 2010, at an annual figure of 4,780.
High danger roads
The study also showed where the crashes were taking place, outlining a huge percentage of fatalities on rural roads. The vast majority of accidents involved another vehicle, and of the other vehicles 79% were cars.
Male or Female
An interesting topic to look at in motorcycle accidents is the divide in gender. There are a number of studies showing women are a lot less likely to be seriously injured in a crash then a male. For example in 2013 there were 4,984 killed or seriously injured bikers, of that number only 6% were female.
However this correlates to the miles the genders do. Figures showed that in the same year, males travelled an average of 6 times more miles than a female, at 405 compares to 67.
What’s the biggest problem area
Cars! Collisions between cars and bikes are the most common, they also result in the largest number of fatalities. From 2009 to 2013 cars made up 79% of the traffic on the road, they were involved in 71% of motorcyclist fatalities.
How do the accidents occur
The Department of Transport reported that between 2009 and 2013;
- 38% of accidents involving motorcycles colliding with cars and van were due to a poor turn or manoeuvre.
- 46% of car and 47% of light vans involved in accidents with motorcycles were because they failed to look properly
- 41% of bikers were killed or seriously injured by people using crossroads or t-junctions incorrectly
- 7% of HGVs accidents with motorbikes were put down to drivers neglecting blind spots
How do we stay safe
There will always be the danger on the road, and if you are on a bike the danger is greater. It’s a risk we all take when we get behind the wheel or set of handlebars, but there are things we can do to help keep us safe! Here are a few points:
✓ Assume no one can see you
✓ Ride within your ability
✓ Never take any unnecessary risks
✓ Keep your distance
✓ If in doubt, ride slowly
✓ Stay visible by wearing hi-vis
Stats show if you slow down by 5-10% you massively increase your reaction time and amount of control you have in an unexpected situation.
Riding is about having fun and staying safe; these facts are to make people aware of the common dangers so they can hopefully be avoided.
If you would like to add anything that may have been missed, we’d be grateful if you could put it in the comments!