In 2012, road statistics revealed 328 motorcyclists were killed on UK roads – a 9% decrease in comparison to 2011 and an almighty 40% decrease to the average number from 2005 – 2009.
However, we have seen that figure rise again over the last two years.
In 2013 there were 331 motorcycle fatalities and 339 in 2014, which was 19% of the total 1,775 reported road deaths.
The Department for Transport states in its annual report, despite there being two consecutive rises, it is not yet clear whether the number of fatalities has stabilised around the 335 figure, or whether this is the start of an upward trend. More will be revealed early next year when the 2015 statistics are published. However, if it has stabilised, this means on average one motorcyclist will be killed on our roads every day in 2016.
According to Think! injuries to motorcyclists are out of proportion to their presence on the UK roads. The current statistics reveal motorcyclists account for just 1% of the total road traffic yet represent a whopping 19% of all road user deaths. They also reveal bikers are roughly 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants, per mile ridden. That’s pretty scary stuff!
So… is there anything you can do to help reduce the risks?
The answer is quite simply – yes!
Here are our top five tips on how you can stay safer on the UK roads:
- Wear the right gear
Fall off your bike and the landing surface will tear through jeans or in some cases skin in seconds. So wearing the right gear is essential!
- Always wear the right helmet. These protect you from hearing loss, being pelted by debris, insects, rain and one day could save your life. The SHARP rating system is a great resource to help you understand how much protection a helmet offers in a crash.
- Always protect your hands with a pair of suitable gloves. They are the first things to get cold but you need flexible fingers to operate the controls. Wear gloves which are padded and waterproof.
- Always wear suitable footwear. Think about when you stub your toe. It hurts. So let’s protect our feet when riding by wearing heavy-duty leather with hard armour around the ankle, and padding too.
- Always wear suitable motorcycle clothing – all over. Aside from protecting you from the obvious such as sunburn and windburn, they act as a much-needed yet comfortable first line of defence.
- Always wear bright, reflective items. If we had a pound for every time someone said ‘I just didn’t see you…’
- Consider the weather
Would you ever attempt to run in a shower? The answer (we hope) is no because there is risk of you slipping and potentially hurting yourself. So if it’s raining take extra care and think about your speed. The surface you’re riding on is just as slippery. If the sun is shining or low, wear sunglasses under your helmet to avoid sun glare.
- Keep hydrated
We published a blog post earlier in the year about the hidden dangers of dehydration. It’s really important riders drink plenty of water before, during and after a ride as dehydration is a main cause of heat exhaustion and can also lead to heatstroke – both of which can seriously affect your ability to control your bike.
- Watch your speed
We appreciate the majority of motorbikes can handle and sit well at high speeds. You as the rider are probably more than capable of handling high speeds too. But speed limits are there for a reason and without sounding like kill joys, they are there to protect you and others on the road. Please bear that in mind next time it becomes tempting to twist the throttle – that’s what track days are for.
- Night Rider
As the sun goes down, your vision as well as others decreases so it becomes much harder to spot hazards, judge corners and plan ahead. This might sound slightly obvious but make sure your headlight lens is clean. Perhaps give it a quick wipe before heading out. Bulbs do grow dimmer as they age so make sure you replace them every year to be on the safe side. And just to reiterate what we said earlier – wear reflective clothing to be seen.
We hope these tips make you think about your choices in 2016. Safe riding.
Do you have a best tip for riding safe on the roads? Why not share it with us.