What the figures say
Devon and Cornwall’s resident motorcycle rider involvement rate of 31.3 per 100,000 population is very similar to the GB rate of 32.1 and 11% higher than the South West region rate of 28.2. East Devon has the lowest rate (22.9), compared to Plymouth with the highest rate of 46.5.
Motorcycle risk is highest among young adults from deprived families living in rented housing, particularly residents of Plymouth; although rural communities right across the peninsula also exhibit this trend.
Nationally, according to RoSPA, although motorcyclists only account for 1% of total road traffic, they account for around 18% of deaths on the road. They have a higher crash and injury rate than vehicle occupants because they do not benefit from all the protective features, such as seat belts, airbags and other impact protection features.
Although the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads has fallen substantially over the last few decades, motorcyclists are still 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants per mile travelled, indicating that safety for motorcyclists has not improved as much as for car occupants.
In Great Britain in 2016, 2,001 motorcyclists were killed or seriously injured per 1 billion vehicle miles, compared to 26 car drivers killed or seriously injured per 1 billion vehicle miles. Although only 30% of motorcycle accidents occurred on rural roads in 2016, 66% of fatalities occurred on these roads, indicating that these roads were particularly dangerous for motorcyclists.
Most accidents occur during the summer months, when most trips are made, and begin to fall in autumn. This is likely to be due to the fall in temperature and poorer weather, which could lead to fewer motorcycles on the road.
Motorcycle traffic increased by 2% during 2016 to 2.8 billion vehicle miles. Of the 19,297 motorcyclist casualties in 2016, 91% were male and 32% were aged 17-24, suggesting that those most at risk of being injured in a motorcyclist accident were young males.
What sort of helmet should I look for?
An approved helmet that fits securely is a must. If it is damaged in anyway then it should be replaced. Choosing a white or brightly coloured helmet will help you be seen. SHARP is a really good website site that provides advice on how to select a helmet that fits correctly and is comfortable.
Make sure your visor isn’t dirty or scratched and remember not to wear a tinted visor or goggles at night. Use a visor with ‘anti fogging’ or ‘mist retardant’ properties and carry a visor cleaner and cloth with you at all times.
What’s the best clothing for motorcycling?
Clothing that is worn by a motorcyclist should be visible to other road users, keep you warm and dry and be protective should you be involved in a collision.
Good quality jacket and trousers are essential to help with protection (the best is CE marked) if involved in a collision. Wearing layers under the jacket and trousers helps keeps you warm and dry, particularly if the layer below the jacket and trousers is wind-proof.
Good quality gloves are a must and thermal lined gloves are great if cold/windy. A balaclava under your helmet will help with the wind and cold too. Some bikes have heated grips, but if not ‘hot grips’ can be added to help your hands stay warm.
Help other road users to see you not just at night but during the day too. Wear fluorescent clothing during the day and when dark make sure you are wearing hi-viz/reflective clothing.
Before I ride what should I check on my motorcycle?
Check your lights – as they aren’t just needed for you to see the road ahead during the hours of darkness, but also for other road users to see you. If you don’t have someone with you to help you check your rear lights, then reverse up to a wall to see the reflection.
Washing the lights will help to get rid of any dirt and keep them tip-top. Having a spare set of bulbs with you is always a good idea too!
Check your fuel, oil, and tyre pressures and have a look for any damage for example to the chain (does the chain need any lube?), check the throttle grip, footrests and whether the brake levers and dampers are working.
Other information can be found at Motorcycle safety checks to make before riding | Haynes Publishing
What is a CRASH card and how do I get one?
The CRASH card has details of the rider’s age, medical background and any medication they are taking and has been designed to be kept in the lining of a motorcyclist’s helmet and is the size of a bank card.
On one side it has the mnemonic C-R-A-S-H that guides you through what to do at the scene of a collision. Welcome to Crash Card UK.
There are also apps available that not only keeps medical details but also crash detection for example: RealRider and Triumph SOS.
You may also be interested in attending the Biker Down Course which provides training in essential skills if you are at the scene of a Road Traffic Collision. Biker Down – Would You Know What To Do?
I’ve seen ‘Shiny Side up’ posters on the road – what are they?
Shiny side up means to keep the rubber on the road. The posters have been put up along roads where there have been high numbers of motorcycle collisions (high harm routes). They signs are temporary and messages vary dependent on the types of collisions that have previously been recorded. They are designed to raise awareness of the presence of motorcyclists to other motorists and also highlight dangers to riders. https://shinysideup.co.uk/
What tips do you have for safer motorcycling?
Anticipation is key and a video produced by ‘Think’ several years ago presents in this video Perfect Day. Devon and Cornwall Police provide some useful information relating to riding safely within this link.
I’m thinking of doing /just completed my CBT, is there anything I can do to further my knowledge?
Yes, Ridefree is a free online training course that moped and motorcycle riders should complete before taking their CBT course. It has been developed by DVSA, National Highways and other partners to help new riders prepare for a lifetime of safe riding.
The New Rider Hub is also a really useful site offering a huge amount of advice. It also offers a point of contact if you have any specific questions or advice regarding motorcycling. Home – New Rider Hub
I would like to improve my motorcycling skills.
Are there any courses you can recommend?
Yes! There are a number of courses available, for example:
Do you have any hints/tips for motorcycle maintenance?
Sure – try these links: