New partnership will make roads safer for motorcyclists

Highways England, the company responsible for running over 4000 miles of England’s motorways and major trunk roads, is to become the third partner in a landmark collaboration to improve motorcycle rider safety.

The government owned company will join the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) as an equal partner in facilitating practical changes to roads, as detailed in a jointly written whitepaper: ‘Realising the Motorcycling Opportunity: A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework’.

The Framework calls for motorcycles and scooters to be included in mainstream transport policy and for rider safety to be consistently factored into national road design, which has not been the case in the past.

Seven key areas have been identified, which would make roads safer for riders, along with actions as to how this can be achieved practically. These include: safer infrastructure, expanding road user education, increasing awareness and training and working in partnership with cycle groups.

The Framework also advocates unlocking the benefits of motorcycles and demonstrating exactly how they offer a practical solution to congestion, as well as improving personal mobility for people without access to other forms of transport.

Highways England has a goal of bringing the number of people killed or injured on the strategic road network as close as possible to zero by 2040. It will work with police and MCIA across all seven areas identified in the Framework and will lead on ‘safer infrastructure’.

Mike Wilson, Highways England’s Chief Highways Engineer, said:

“Safety is our top priority and we believe no one should be harmed when travelling or working on our road network. We are committed to both reducing the number of motorcycle incidents and casualties on our roads and to improving the experience motorcyclists have on those roads; this influential partnership with the industry and police supports that commitment.”

Deputy Chief Constable for North Yorkshire Police, Tim Madgwick, who is the national motorcycle lead for the National Police Chiefs Council says:

“The Police service is on the front line, dealing with the devastation that is caused to families and the greater community by road traffic collisions.  The opportunity to work with both Highways England and the Motorcycle Industry Association gives us far greater scope to make our roads a safer place, not only for those who use powered two wheelers, but for all road users.  In addition to the safety aspect, encouraging greater use of motorcycles will also contribute greatly to reducing congestion and therefore journey times across the country.”

Karen Cole, Director of Safety and Training, says working in partnership with HE and NPCC could produce the breakthrough that motorcycle safety deserves:

“Highways England brings significant resource to this ambitious project; financially and in terms of influence, expertise and evidence-based decision making; add this to police backing and we have an unprecedented opportunity to make a huge difference to riders.

For too long, motorcyclists have been at the bottom of the pecking order in terms of priority for traffic management and road planners.  Often ‘safety advice’ is a thinly veiled attempt to keep people off motorbikes and scooters, rather than a genuine attempt to reduce their vulnerability.  It is important to recognise the transport choice of riders and address their needs appropriately.  Ignoring motorcyclists increases their vulnerability.”

The Framework advocates using guidelines produced by the Institute of Highway Engineers which identifies simple practical steps to reduce risks for riders.  These include:

  • Using rider friendly barriers and road surfaces
  • Repositioning pillars
  • Removing unnecessary signage
  • Using non-slip man hole covers
  • Prompt clear up of diesel.

Highways England will also work to promote safety messages and create awareness about motorcycles and scooters, since education of all road users is an important element of the Framework.  HE has already set up a working party to encourage learners to take further training for a licence and to encourage riders to wear personal protective clothing.

Safe Systems

The Framework incorporates the ‘safe system approach’, which is now widely accepted as a guiding principle among road safety professionals. This is underpinned by the understanding that humans are fallible and will make mistakes, which can be mitigated through ‘forgiving’ design, i.e. a road system built to absorb mistakes and limit the transfer of forces which can result in serious injury or death.

Background to the Framework

The first edition of the ‘Framework’ was launched by the NPCC and MCIA in 2014, following acknowledgement from police and motorcycle road safety experts that the only way to reduce vulnerability of riders was to properly incorporate their use and needs into mainstream transport planning.

The Framework details a growing body of evidence from other EU countries to show that casualties reduce where motorcycle and scooter use is more common, as other road users become more aware of them.  This is the same argument used by the cycling lobby and both modes of transport saw reductions of those killed and seriously injured in the last set of figures issued by the Department for Transport.

The number of motorcycles and scooters licensed for the roads has nearly doubled in the past twenty years, and government statistics show that there was a further 1.2% increase for quarter 4 (October to December 2015).  With congestion set to rise, it is likely many more people will opt for two wheel transport and Highways England, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Motorcycle Industry Association believe this choice needs to be properly supported.

Partnership inside and outside of government is the key to addressing flat-lining road deaths

Action is needed from across government departments to reverse the trend of flat-lining road deaths, according to new research from UK road safety charity IAM RoadSmart. And reducing these deaths would in turn offer a large saving to the public purse.

The new report, Evaluating the costs of incidents from the public sector perspective, is the first attempt to update the formula for death and injury cost figures since the 1990’s. It is also the first time anyone has highlighted the costs to the public sector of crashes involving some of the highest at-risk road user groups: young and mature drivers, people driving for work and motorcyclists.

The purpose of the research was to facilitate a discussion beyond the Department for Transport, with the aim of developing focused policy actions based on the savings government departments could make by prioritising road safety in their day-to-day work.

The use of casualty costs is well known and a new figure is generated every year based on a model developed in the 1990’s. In 2015 the cost of each casualty was estimated at £1.7million with the total of all incidents placed at £35 billion. The biggest element in this figure is the cost to the individuals involved, chiefly loved ones. This human cost factor has always been based on how much those relatives would be willing to pay to avoid the incident. By stripping this out the new report can show exactly which costs fall on the public purse.

The total costs to public services identified by the research were as follows:

Young drivers, £1.3 billion (£1.1 Million per fatality)
Motorcyclists, £1.1 billion (£800,000 per fatality)
People driving for work, £702 million (£700,000 per fatality)
Older drivers, £63 million. (£10,000 per fatality)

Breaking this down to individual government departments shows that reducing young driver crashes completely could result in savings of £227 million to the Department for Work and Pensions – a result of not needing to pay out long term benefits to injured drivers. In turn, the NHS and the police costs would be cut by £241 million. For motorcycling the DWP benefits savings are up to £219 million and NHS and police costs could be reduced by up to £162 million. For older drivers the costs are actually higher for serious injuries at £58,000 but the ever increasing numbers of older people mean that their costs to government departments cannot be ignored.

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said: “These are huge savings and against a background of austerity and public spending cuts this report shows what could be achieved by reducing the numbers of deaths and serious injuries suffered by these at-risk road users.

“When it comes to road safety the Department for Transport tends to be seen as the main provider of solutions, but the costs of these tragic incidents are felt right across government, not least within the NHS, Department of Work and Pensions and the Home Office. More cross-departmental working, pooling of resources and sharing of knowledge is key to ensuring joined up thinking on road safety.

IAM RoadSmart roars back to Motorcycle Live

Leading independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has announced today it will be returning to the MCIA’s Motorcycle Live in November for the first time in five years.

The show is the UK’s biggest motorcycle event all year, and is billed as a fun-packed family day out with opportunities not only to see the best the bike world has to offer but a chance to meet the stars, and for kids and adults to experience riding for themselves on a special indoor course.

Until this year the charity was known as the Institute of Advanced Motorists, but in its 60th anniversary year has become IAM RoadSmart as it looks to attract new drivers and riders to the world of enjoyable and safe driving and riding.

IAM RoadSmart introduced the advanced motorcycle test in 1976. Since its establishment in 1956 more than half-a-million people have taken either the advanced driving of riding course.

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said: “We are very much looking forward to being at Motorcycle Live – it is a colourful and vibrant show and represents everything that is fantastic in the world of motorbikes. It’s a good fun day out – take the family.

“We are keen to show that you can ride safely and have fun at the same time. Learning those amazing road skills and showing you have the ability to handle any situation is a very satisfying thing, and we want to empower bikers in this way.”

Motorcycle Live takes place at the Birmingham NEC from 19-27 November. IAM RoadSmart will be in Hall 2 Stand 2C44.

Biker Down Conference Will Seek To Set Standards

The 2016 National Biker Down Conference will be held in Stevenage on the 7th of October and there are still places available for road safety professionals wishing to attend.

Originally developed by Kent Fire & Rescue Service, Biker Down provides bikers with advice about what to do if a fellow rider comes off their bike.

The free-to-attend course covers scene management, first aid and how bikers can make themselves more visible to other road users. Biker Down is currently being delivered by 24 fire & rescue teams across the UK.

In 2012 Biker Down gained a coveted Prince Michael International Road Safety Award and a year later it received a National ‘Alarm’ Award.

The 2016 Conference aims to help set standards for all Biker Down teams and fire & rescue services across the UK.

At present, 20 different fire services will be represented at the event along with a number of road safety partnerships and representatives from IAM RoadSmart.

For more information or to register interest in attending the conference, which is being held at the Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service Training Centre, contact Jim Sanderson on 01622 692121 or via email.

IAM RoadSmart stages its first ever female-only bike skills day next month

IAM RoadSmart stages its first ever female-only bike skills day next month

IAM RoadSmart is staging its first ever riding skills day for female bikers only, focusing on handling, skills development and getting the most from their riding. The day will focus on individuals’ own development goals and all levels of ability and experience are welcome.

The women only riding day takes place at Thruxton circuit in Hampshire on 19 September and you don’t need to be an IAM RoadSmart member to take part.

Amanda Smith, IAM RoadSmart, head of field service delivery, said: “Our members have been asking for a women-only skills day so they could learn skills at their own pace with like-minded follow bikers. We were more than happy to provide this.

“This day is for all female riders who want to improve their skills whilst also having some fun.”

Subjects covered on the day will include:

• Vanishing points, entry, apex and exit points, how they vary from road to circuit, why and how we use them, where we should position for view, progress and safety together with braking

• Where to brake, when and how much to brake, how it feels in an emergency and finishing on accelerator (throttle) application to set the balance of the bike for controlled smooth cornering

• Gear selection – how to decide which is the most appropriate gear for the circumstances and control

• How to use the accelerator/throttle to add stability to the bike when entering corners, blipping or constant accelerator techniques when changing down gears.

Place on this skills day are £135 each and can be booked by calling 0300 303 1134. Family and friends are also welcome as spectators. Please note this is not a racing day and attendees will be required to bring their own bike to take part.

2015 Collision Data Plotted On Online Map

A free web mapping service which shows details of road collisions and casualties across Britain now includes data for 2015 which was only released a month ago by DfT.

Developed by Buchanan Computing – a specialist supplier of software, training and web mapping for traffic professionals –CollisionMap.uk can be used without the need for registration.

Buchanan Computing says that while collision data is made available to the public by the Government, it is presented in a format that is ‘difficult to visually interpret’. In contrast, it says that CollisionMap.uk ‘provides everyone the ability to have free access to this important dataset in an understandable format’.

Whether it be the whole of Great Britain or an individual street, users can locate their chosen area and view data which goes back to 2011.

The map, which is colour coded, includes filters by date range and severity classification. Details available include type of collision, how many vehicles were involved and the number of casualties.

Published on 30 June, the new DfT figures show that 1,732 people were killed in reported road traffic accidents in Great Britain in 2015 – the second lowest number on record after 2013.

Although the 2015 figure represents a decrease of 43 fatalities (or 2.4%) from 2014, the DfT says this can be attributed to ‘natural variation’.

The DfT says in statistical terms the number of fatalities has remained unchanged since 2011. However, there were 45% fewer fatalities in 2015 than a decade earlier in 2006 and 4% fewer than the 2010-14 average.

Fleet experts learn hard truths about the bottom line impact of crashes

Transport industry fleet managers were gathered together recently by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart to learn more about the true costs of business-related road crashes – and were shocked to discover the impact these collisions could have on their profits.

Representatives from blue-chip companies including Cannon Hygiene and Pest Control, Belron UK and the National Service for Health Improvement (NHSI), attended the second gathering of the Business Customer Advisory Group (BCAG), hosted by IAM RoadSmart.

In 2013, 1,731 people lost their lives in Great Britain (reference 1) in road traffic crashes with one-third of all crashes involving people on a business-related journey (reference 2). Managers at the gathering felt that businesses are unaware of just how expensive a crash can be – and the ‘ripple’ effect of how that cost keeps increasing.

To appreciate just how expensive to a business those ripples can be, the group which meets regularly to identify issues and debate solutions, was addressed by a leading road risk management specialist who lifted the lid on the real bottom line costs of a business-related crash, which include lost productivity, late deliveries, brand damage and high staff turnover.

Lesley Upham, IAM RoadSmart commercial director, said: “The true cost of a crash was a revelation to everyone at the meeting. A crash is not just about vehicle damage – it can affect company reputation and at worst result in a fatality and a corporate manslaughter fine.

“The impact on profits is far greater than many businesses might imagine. As the roads get more crowded and the pressures on employees increase, the commercial sector knows it cannot afford to bury its head in the sand and is looking for targeted, preventative intercessions.”

To support this requirement and building on its new business portfolio “Driving for Work” IAM RoadSmart used the BCAG meeting to preview a new range of driver safety course modules including motorway driving and vehicle management.

Half-a-million drivers and riders can’t be wrong!

Half-a-million people have taken IAM RoadSmart’s advanced test for car or bike over the past six decades – that’s as the leading UK road safety charity reaches its 60th anniversary this week.

The advanced driving and riding courses are regarded as two of the most comprehensive post-test courses in the UK and have been definitively shown to improve driving and riding skills.

Current figures show that around 500,000 people have taken the charity’s advanced courses to date in the UK.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) as it was known until earlier this year was established in 1956, based on the police’s Roadcraft manual. At that point annual road death figures in the UK stood at 5,000 a year.

In 1962 the IAM introduced the first test for commercial vehicle drivers and 1986 saw it launch fleet training for businesses. In 1994 it enrolled its 250,000th member.

The advanced test assists drivers and riders in becoming more aware of other road users, how to adapt to different conditions, to read the road ahead, and enjoy driving and riding more.

Independent research revealed 70% of those who received driver coaching showed significantly better skills in key areas such as cornering, speeding and hazard anticipation.

Today slightly over 1,700 people are year are killed on UK roads – a figure IAM RoadSmart is determined to reduce further by helping to improve the road skills of private and commercial drivers and riders and by its lobbying work within government.

Nigel Mansell CBE, IAM RoadSmart president and 1992 Formula 1 World Champion said: “The real heroes of the road are those who show that skill, precision and flair on everyday roads while doing it for the safety of themselves and those around them.

“Taking the advanced driver or rider course turns good drivers into great drivers. Those who have chosen to take their skills to the next level show they have commitment and staying power. They are the real champions.”

Earlier in the year the Institute of Advanced Motorists rebranded to become IAM RoadSmart as it prepares for the next 60 years and to appeal to the next generation of drivers.

IAM RoadSmart recently appointed the Under 17 Car Club as an accredited course provider. Getting the good driving message should come long before a young person reaches their 17th birthday.

For more information about the advanced driver course click here: https://www.iamroadsmart.com/courses/advanced-driver-course

Currently IAM RoadSmart is offering a 10% discount off the Advanced Driver Course simply by calling 0300 303 1134 and quoting the reference RACE10. All bookings made this way will also be entered into a prize draw to win an exciting session for two on a racing simulator at Base Performance Simulators in Banbury.

Subsidised Motorcycle Rider Skills Workshops at the British Motor Museum

Thanks to a grant from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, the British Motor Museum is able to offer subsidized places on its forth coming Motorcycles Rider Skills Workshops. The grant has enabled the Museum to subsidize each place by £40, so from £90 to £50 per rider, with the next workshops running on 30 July, 13 August and 27 August.

The workshops are designed to make motorcycle riding safer and more enjoyable. They are run by ex-police instructors and advanced police riders as well as senior observers from both RoSPA and IAM, all of whom were previously involved in the Warwickshire Polices BikeSafe initiative. The workshops explore the main riding hazards that bikers face, helping improve riders skills, knowledge and hazard awareness.

The workshops include both classroom and open road sessions, covering observations, hazard perception, anticipation and planning, cornering and overtaking. Riders will also have their riding assessed out on the open road. In addition to this, lunch and free entry to the British Motor Museum is also included within the £50 workshop fee.

Neil Colledge, Workshop Instructor from the British Motor Museum and former head of the Warwickshire BikeSafe initiative said “This grant shows how seriously the risk to bikers is taken. Each year hundreds of motorcyclists are killed or seriously injured on our roads. Our workshops are run by bikers, for bikers! They are about learning to assess your riding strengths and weakness, allowing you to improve your riding skills and enable you to get the most out of your machines in a safe and responsible way”.

For more information about the motorcycle rider skills workshops please visit www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk or call 01926 645056.

Defensive riding

The following are the most common type of motorbike accidents:

Junctions

A large number of motorbike accidents occur at junctions, where a vehicle pulls out from a side road. Remember that as a biker, the width of your motorbike is much less than a car, you are therefore significantly less visible to other road users.

Consider wearing reflective clothing and always ride with your lights on dipped headlight, it gives other motorists the best possible chance of seeing you. Always consider the line of sight that the motorist has and adopt a road position so the emerging vehicle will have the best visibility of you.

Remember a motorist may have a door pillar obscuring their view, so adopt your gear and speed early to anticipate their next move.

Overtaking/filtering

This distinction between overtaking and filtering can become clouded in litigation cases and is often open to interpretation based on the evidence available.

  • Filtering is best described as ‘passing slower moving traffic whilst occupying the same traffic lane as the vehicle in which you’re moving past’. Usually approaching a junction, roundabout or road works. It should always be done at a speed relative to that of the slower vehicle, allowing you to stop if the unexpected happens. If you are involved in a motorbike accident whilst filtering it is likely that you would be apportioned a % of the blame in the accident, the % is determined by your speed and actions at the time immediately prior to the accident.
  • Overtaking is best described as ‘moving out past the line of traffic, to accelerate past a vehicle before checking that it’s safe to rejoin the traffic lane’.
    Always look ahead as well as behind and around you (lifesaver look), indicate your intentions and adjust your speed by accelerating smoothly. Do not overtake at a junction or near a blind bend and look out for hazards which may cause another driver to change their behaviour or direction.

Cornering

It should come as no surprise that this type of road traffic accident occur regularly in the countryside as a result of riders losing control of their motorcycle. Always negotiate a bend at a speed appropriate for your experience and in accordance with law.

Plan ahead and be aware of your surroundings. As well as chevrons, look at the positioning of trees and telegraph poles. Again, adopt the correct gear and ask yourself whether you would be able to stop safely on your side of the road if something unexpected happened?

Bike condition

Always ensure your motorcycle is well maintained and roadworthy, before riding always check the condition of your brakes, lights and indicators, tyre pressures and tread, chain tensioning, and suspension settings.

A poorly maintained bike can potentially be more serious and life threatening than a poorly maintained car.