More motorcycles on the road could lead mean less casualties

Posted: 05 Dec 2013

More motorcycles on the road could lead mean less casualties

Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCI has said the evidence that more motorcycles on the road would reduce casualties is “compelling” after a conference held between the MCI and the Association of Chief Police Officers in conjunction with the Department for Transport.

Public Affairs Advisor to the MCI, Craig Carey Clinch highlighted that while fatalities for motorcyclists were down 40% compared to the baseline figures for 2005-9, this was too high proportionately to car drivers. He also pointed out that the number of casualties for motorcyclists and cyclists were now at a similar rate however stated the disparity in safety budgets for the two is hugely in favour of cycling. He suggests this is down to an “image problem” for motorcycling.

Jacques Compange, Secretary General of the ACEM discussed results of a study which showed when there are less than fifty motorcycles per one thousand head of the population and when motorcycle traffic is less than 10% of all traffic on the road, safety outcomes are worse. The MCIA states the UK has the lowest ownership of in the EU, some 6% below the 10% mark mentioned by Compagne.

When discussing why safety outcomes seem to be better with more bikes on the road, Compagne said it’s likely to be through greater recognition from society and therefore other road users. Both greater awareness of motorcycles and a positive attitude towards them ensured the place of motorcycles in integrated transport planning.

He warned: “Restrictive policy or simply ignoring motorcycling reduces access to powered two wheelers and then we are moving from social inclusion to social exclusion and lack of recognition from society.  Restrictive policy – also leads to reducing awareness from other road users. Restriction induces a negative spiral putting riders at higher risk.”

Febiac, the MCI’s Belgian equivalent had representatives at the conference to discuss a recent study in Belgium which suggested over the same stretch of road, traffic jams are 40% less in both length and time when there’s a 10% further shift towards motorcycles. A 25% shift would see congestion eliminated altogether. When extrapolated to all Belgian roads, this study suggests there is a daily gain of 15,000 hours and a cost benefit of €350,000.

These results were taken note of by the Government’s Under Secretary of State for Transport, Robert Goodwill. Who said “Motorcyclist safety is currently a priority issue for the Department’s Think! Campaign. This reminds drivers to look out for motorcyclists, particularly at junctions and to see the person behind the helmet.

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