Statistics have been published this week that show generally declining or static casualty figures for most road users – but a worrying increase for motorcyclists.
The Department for Transport, Welsh Government and Transport for London figures show that 365 motorcyclists died in 2015, an increase of 8% from the previous year. The same figures show that of all deaths on the road, motorcyclists account for 21%.
It is perhaps not surprising given the density of population and level of motorcycle use, that London and the South East show the highest level of incidents, accounting for 44% of the total motorcycling deaths, and there was a year on year increase of 33% in that region.
Wales also saw an increase. 273 motorcyclists were killed or seriously injured there, over 6% higher than an average taken across some previous years.
Why is this happening?
It does seem that the most vulnerable road users are still being disproportionately affected. This could be because of increased levels of traffic on the roads (levels went up by nearly 2% in 2015) together with cars and lorries themselves having better internal safety systems – this does seem to increase the risk to the more vulnerable motorcyclist.
What should be done to protect motorcyclists?
One of serious injury experts, Philip Edwards, has been reviewing the DfT statistics and said:-
We see all to often the devastating effect that serious injuries can have on motorcyclists. When you represent clients who have sustained a brain injury, spinal cord damage or amputation of limbs, you realise that everything possible should be done to stop such tragic events.
Projects like “Think Bike” are vital in ensuring that a culture of being aware of bikers is promoted across our road network.
However, with the volume of traffic increasing, it might now be time for there too be widespread implementation of safe system technology and advances, alongside a real commitment from local and national government to have ever more stringent targets for reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured amongst this group of road users”
Further details from the recent report can be found here.