Stats revealed by Government reveal 472 biker deaths in 2009

The number reported as seriously injured also fell 4% to 5,350; whilst the total reported biker casualties for 2009 is 20,703 – again 4% down on 2008. This is despite motorbike traffic rising by 2% over the same period.

The Motorcycle Industry Association said police Bike Safety initiatives, intelligent enforcement, engineering improvement standards, and commitment from trainers to improve standards has contributed to a safer motorbiking environment.

MCIA CEO Steve Kenwood said: “Although there is still a strong concern about the number of biker casualties, year after year motorcycling continues to get safer in terms of the chances of having an accident.

“The report that the decline in motorcycle fatalities during 2009 is welcome, but we cannot be complacent about this – there are still too many people dying in accidents – we still have much work to do.

“The MCIA and the motorcycling community will strive to work hard to improve safety and ensure they get full government support for a more rounded approach to road user safety.

Reports confirmed that in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in 2008, 252 bikers were killed or seriously injured, and 849 suffered an injury in road traffic accidents. 65% of all injuries resulted from impacts involving a motorcycle or scooter at junctions and 35% of those incidents, the other motorist failed to see the motorcycle.

Lancashire County Council (in partnership with Lancashire Police) have launched a campaign to give motorists advice and training encouraging them to think more about motorcyclists; while in Norfolk, the THINK campaign run by the council, the three emergency service and the Highways Agency offers motorcyclists the chance to enhance their riding through additional training.

The number of bikers killed or seriously injured on Norfolk’s roads fell from 102 in 2008 to 93 in 2009, an 8.8% fall.

Top Ten Motorcycle Accident Avoidance Tips


Give yourself the best chance of staying upright by regularly servicing and maintaining your motorcycle.

As you learned on your training course, carry out routine daily checks to ensure everything’s working; wouldn’t you feel a prat if someone rear-ended you at night because your tail light bulb had blown!

Tyres in good condition with a decent amount of tread depth, inflated to the correct pressure will give the rider much better feedback.

Remember, your tyres will need time to warm up to operating temperature for optimum grip. This fluctuates according to ambient and road temperature and riding style. If in doubt, read the owner’s manual or consult your local dealer for advice.


You’ve had a blazing row with your partner, the credit card bill’s just arrived, the cat’s deposited in your new Shoei lid – time to go for a spin to let off steam? Probably not!

Even the world’s best motorcycle racers don’t perform well if their mind is not focused on the job, so launching out for a spirited ride to quell your anger probably isn’t a wise move for anyone. The same is to be said for being tired, hung over or under the weather.

Stay inside, calm down/get better and then enjoy your ride.


Riding too close to the vehicle in front reduces your available braking distance, reduces visibility and reduces the chances of other motorists seeing you.

Keep at least a two-second gap between your machine and the vehicle in front (two chevrons). Allow four seconds or more if the road is wet, poor visibility, or you’re following a high-sided vehicle.

Pick a fixed point in the road, start counting when the vehicle in front passes it. If you’ve reached it before you’ve counted ONE THOUSAND, TWO THOUSAND then you’re too close!


The speed at which a motorcycle is travelling at can be deceptive. Brisk acceleration, coupled with a liberal smattering of new rider excitement can result in a novice substantially topping the speed limit without even realising it.

Any increase in speed above the speed limit also boosts the chances of an accident and getting nicked. Aim to stay within the speed limit at all times by regularly checking your clocks.


The right motorcycle gear will help save your flesh in an accdent but good quality kit can also help reduce the chances of an accident before it’s started.

Research has proved that riders who wear brightly coloured helmets and protective clothing substantially reduce the chances of being involved in an accident involving another motorist.

Also, quality kit that keeps the rider warm and dry also helps them stay alert in wet and cold weather, giving better reaction times than a bike who’s wet through and cold. Look for Goretex, or similar breathable membranes when investing in new kit.

We also recommend fitting an anti-mist shield in your helmet. These reduce ‘misting-up’, maximising your visibility.


Making your way through a busy car park or town centre in slow moving traffic is a fine art and requires good clutch control, so keep your bike skills sharp by practising them as often as you can.

Ideally, find a disused road, airfield or car park to polish up your emergency braking and clutch control skills. It’s also great way to familiarise yourself with a new bike.

Run through the braking sequences you were taught by your instructor to keep it smooth and steady. A good emergency stop should never look too dramatic.

Try placing a couple of objects on the floor to practice figure of 8s, focusing on what you’re riding around while balancing throttle, clutch and back brake. On a disused road try doing a u-turn without putting your foot down, practice makes perfect and it will improve your clutch control.

After a while the skills will become second nature, which means you are less likely to grab a handful of front brake when if you need to stop quickly. It’ll also mean you can look cool when riding, feet-up, into your local bike meet.


Rideouts with the right bunch of people can be a wonderful experience. But if you’re unlucky enough to be thrown in the deep end, with a bunch of ‘Sunday power rangers’ looking for a race on a sunny afternoon, then we suggest going it alone!

It’s difficult enough learning to get comfortable on public roads without some idiot chopping your nose off at every turn and pulling unexpected manoeuvres in an attempt to show off to the newbie.

Pick a sensible mate from which to learn; someone who you respect for the right reasons. Enjoy developing your skills at your own pace, not theirs.


Taking to the road when the gritters are out is a sure-fire way of knackering your bike and probably yourself.

Black ice, cold tyres, poor visibility and a lack of grip most of the time means a hard-hitting faceplant is not so much ‘if’ but ‘when’. Now add a healthy dose of clueless car drivers attempting the same feat and we think you get the picture. Same rules apply for torrential rain and high winds.


Lack of attention to the changing road surface is one of the most common reasons many new riders fall from their motorcycle.

A diesel spill, gravel strewn across the road, or a patch of wet leaves under a tree will usually cause no problem for a car driver, but can prove the undoing of any biker. Balancing on just two wheels, rather than four, motorcycle tyres rely heavily on good road surfaces for grip when accelerating, braking and cornering.

Survey the road ahead for changes in road surface, looking out for; draining covers, slippery tarmac, gravel or wet leaves.

All dodgy road conditions should be treated with caution. Avoid heavy braking, sharp acceleration or fast cornering. Judicious use of the back brake is far better than grabbing a handful of front. A day or two at an off-road school will really help develop your skills to tackle this.


Despite their reputation for being tedious and run by a bunch of old farts on BMWs, advanced riding courses are a great way of furthering your riding skills. A number of good motorcycle training companies offer advanced and pass plus courses, the latter of which are specifically tailored for new riders.

As we have already mentioned, defensive riding is the name of the game and what better way to learn than on a advanced skills course?

Tyres – Your legal obligations

If you ride with damaged or worn tyres you are in danger of being fined and in breach of your insurance policy.

General requirements

Every tyre fitted to a motorcycle, car or even a trailer or caravan must be fit for purpose and be free from defects which might damage the road or endanger an individual. This means the tyre:

  1. must be compatible with the other tyres fitted to the other wheel(s)
  2. must not have a lump, bulge or tear caused by separation or partial failure of the structure
  3. must not have a cut or tear in excess of 25mm or 10% of the width of the tyre and which is deep enough to reach the ply or cord
  4. must not have any part of the ply or cord exposed

Note: A vehicle is liable to fail an MOT if a tyre has any of the above faults or if the vehicle has tyres of different nominal size or aspect ratio on the same axle.

Duty to maintain

Each tyre must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s and the tyre manufacturer’s recommended pressure. (‘Run-flat’ tyres partially inflated or in flat condition are permitted in certain circumstances.)

Tread depth

Must not fall below the legal minimum. The tread is that part of the tyre in contact with the road in normal conditions. The minimum depth of tread depends on the class of vehicle.

Type of vehicle Minimum tread depth
Passenger vehicles (other than motorcycles) for not more than 8 seated passengers

Goods vehicles not exceeding 3,500kg max gross weight

Light trailers not exceeding 3,500kg max gross weight

At least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference
Most vehicles larger than those listed above

Motorcycles 50cc and over with or without sidecar

At least 1.0mm throughout a continuous band across at least 3/4 of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference

NB: In the quarter where the tread may be less than 1.0mm, the original tread pattern must be visible

Mopeds and motorbikes under 50cc Original tread pattern must be visible


Where a vehicle fitted with an illegal or defective tyre is used on a road, a police officer may give the driver a fixed penalty notice.

A police officer has discretion not to issue a fixed penalty but to report the case for prosecution. In law, the driver and the owner (if different) are liable and one or both may be summonsed.

The maximum fine which a court can impose for using a vehicle with a defective tyre is £2,500 and three penalty points.

If a vehicle is fitted with more than one defective tyre, you can be summonsed for each tyre which is illegal. Disqualification is also possible in certain circumstances.

Motorcycle Deaths Up – DFT

Britain is in a period where the number of road deaths is ‘fairly stable’, with most annual changes relating to ‘random variation’, according to the DfT’s annual report giving casualty statistics for 2015. However, motorcycle deaths increased by 8% in 2015 compared to 2014

The report, published yesterday shows that 1,732 people were killed in reported road traffic accidents in Great Britain in 2015 – the second lowest on record after 2013.

Although this represents a decrease of 43 fatalities (or 2.4%) from 2014, the report says that ‘natural variation’ explains the reduction.

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

To read or download the report CLICK HERE

IAM RoadSmart response to DfT reported road casualties in Great Britain 2015

Independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has responded to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) reported road casualties in Great Britain 2015 (1).

The 2015 figures show there were 1,732 reported road deaths – 2% fewer compared with 2014. According to the DfT, this is the second lowest annual total on record after 2013. The number of people seriously injured in reported road traffic accidents also saw a decrease by 3% to 22,137 in 2015, compared to 2014. And a total of 186,209 casualties of all severities in 2015 – a 4% decrease compared to 2014 and the second lowest level on record.

However, the latest figures also reveal a total of 365 motorcyclists were killed during 2015 – an 8% increase from 339 in 2014.

IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said: “Five years of flat lining on road deaths is unacceptable. Whilst 2015 was a relatively good year the huge gains in road safety made in the past now seem a distant memory.

“The government must show more leadership to really drive down road deaths in the future. Key trends still show the increasing risk to vulnerable road users, particularly motorcyclists, and big increases in fatal crashes involving vans and lorries. The rise in goods vehicle related deaths is worrying and is probably linked to the surge in van sales and use on Britain’s roads. IAM RoadSmart supports police campaigns to crack down on those driving for business, but we also need more firms to step up the plate and take occupational road safety more seriously.”

The Brexit Road Must Not Impede Road Safety

As the UK government begins contemplating the process for leaving the European Union, Brake, the road safety charity, is highlighting the need to make sure life-saving regulations and standards are not just maintained but improved upon.

Road safety and the battle for sustainable transport in the UK is currently assisted by European Commission regulations and requirements in a number of areas. Vehicle crash protection standards, driver working hours and air pollution limits all help keep both our roads and planet safe.

EC regulation of relevance includes, to name a few:

1. General Safety Regulation EC 661/2009 on vehicle standards: Setting out specifications to ensure the general safety of motor vehicles and their trailers, systems, component and separate technical units.

2. Pedestrian Safety Regulation EC 78/2009: Crash protection for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users, e.g. decisions on frontal crash protection systems to reduce the number and severity of injuries to vulnerable users hit by the fronts of vehicles.

3. Regulation (EC) 561/2006 and Directive 2002/15/EC: Provides a common set of rules for maximum daily and fortnightly driving times, as well as daily and weekly minimum rest periods for all drivers of road haulage and passenger transport vehicles. The scope of operations regulated is tremendously diverse, including passenger transport and road haulage operations, both international and national, long and short distance.

In addition, the EU sets the bar for limits for air pollution in cities, much of which is caused by traffic. It’s more important than ever, with the World Health Organisation describing air quality as a public health emergency, that these controls are maintained, particularly when diesel vehicles have recently been found to be polluting far more on roads than in laboratory test conditions.

The EU air pollution limits led, last year, to a Supreme Court ruling against London for failing to stay within these targets, requiring them to comply. As an outsider to Europe, Britain will have no such compulsion for London and our other growing cities to comply with nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter levels set by Europe.

The EU also provides valuable opportunities for traffic enforcement and transport research agencies across the union to share best practice and knowledge and generally combine efforts to improve road safety measures and support the cross-border policing of traffic laws. Europe-wide links regarding traffic enforcement have never been stronger, helping the fight against unsafe and illegally operated commercial vehicles in particular, but also cross-border enforcement of driver licensing generally, and the border-less campaigns against the Europe-wide scourge of alcohol and drug driving. We must ensure as a nation that our expertise and voices are still heard as widely as possible to save as many lives as possible.

Gary Rae, Director of communications and campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity said: “It’s vital that as we begin the process of separation from the EU, road safety and work on sustainable transport solutions is not compromised. Thousands of lives have been saved by improved transport regulations. Life outside the EU must not be seen as a move backwards when it comes to safety and sustainability. That will be down to the UK government to ensure that our own standards meet, and indeed, exceed, current European standards.  As a charity, working to save lives and protect the planet, Brake aims to play its part by being at the forefront of campaigning for these standards.

IAM Response To Reported Road Casualties Scotland Statistics

Independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has responded to the Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2015 statistics published today by Transport Scotland.

The 2015 provisional figures show there were 10,950 reported road casualties – 357 or 3% fewer than 2014 – the lowest figure recorded – of which there were 162 fatalities: 41 (or 20%) fewer than 2014; 1,597 people seriously injured: 107 (or 6%) fewer than 2014; and 9,191 people slightly injured: 209 (or 2%) fewer than 2014.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research said: “It’s good news that the long term downward trends in deaths and serious injuries on Scotland’s roads continue but the figures are still far too high.

“With over three deaths a week it is essential that the Scottish government continues its successful partnership approach to road safety in which IAM RoadSmart plays an important part.

“Joint working and clear targets are clearly having a positive impact. Continued investment in better roads, plus recent suggestions that Scotland might finally introduce speed awareness courses and drug-driving laws mean the country is well placed to make further gains.”

Travelling In Wet Weather

With the ongoing forecast of rain expected for the tail end of June, here are some tips from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, about how you can stay safe when travelling in wet weather.

  • Be sure to check your local weather forecast beforehand so you can plan your journey accordingly. If heavy downpours are expected, avoid starting your journey until it clears. And if you have no choice but to travel, use main roads where possible which are less likely to get flooded.
  • Don’t forget to check your windscreen wiper blades and lights are working properly. You’ll need to use your dipped headlights if visibility is significantly reduced so give them a check too.
  • On flooded roads, think before driving through deep water, don’t stop in standing water and drive through the highest section of the road slowly. If there is any doubt don’t enter it. Once you have managed to drive through check your brakes and dry them out as quickly as possible – a light touch of the brakes whilst still moving should do the trick.
  • Roads will be more slippery than usual in wet weather – be sure to give yourself more time to react when approaching a hazard. Increase your following gap to at least four seconds from the moving traffic in front.
  • Keep your eyes peeled on the road at all times as spray from other vehicles can suddenly reduce your visibility. Remember it affects others too, so anticipate their actions and be prepared.

Richard said: “If your tyres begin to lose traction, ease off the accelerator, avoid braking and allow the speed to naturally decrease until you have full control of your car again.

“Driving in wet weather can be challenging, and with delays and increased concentration needed it can be more tiring too. By allowing increased time to stop and extending your following distance you can remain safe.”

IAM RoadSmart response to Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2015 statistics

Independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has responded to the Key Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2015 statistics published today by Transport Scotland.

The 2015 provisional figures show there were 10,950 reported road casualties – 357 or 3% fewer than 2014 – the lowest figure recorded – of which there were 162 fatalities: 41 (or 20%) fewer than 2014; 1,597 people seriously injured: 107 (or 6%) fewer than 2014; and 9,191 people slightly injured: 209 (or 2%) fewer than 2014.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research said: “It’s good news that the long term downward trends in deaths and serious injuries on Scotland’s roads continue but the figures are still far too high.

“With over three deaths a week it is essential that the Scottish government continues its successful partnership approach to road safety in which IAM RoadSmart plays an important part.

“Joint working and clear targets are clearly having a positive impact. Continued investment in better roads, plus recent suggestions that Scotland might finally introduce speed awareness courses and drug-driving laws mean the country is well placed to make further gains.”

BSB star Hickman special guest at IAM RoadSmart birthday party

British Superbike star Peter Hickman has been confirmed as a special guest at the IAM RoadSmart 60th anniversary bike party on 2 July at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

Peter, or Hicky as he is better known, races this year for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki Team and currently stands eighth in the series with one win so far. By coincidence his race number is 60 in 2016.

Peter also raced at the Northwest 200 and Isle of Man TT this year. He scored two podiums at the Northwest and became the fourth fastest rider ever at the TT this year with a 132.465mph lap in the Superbike race.

Peter will be on the ‘Stars on Stage’ discussion panel which will take place three times during the day, alongside seven times Isle of Man TT winner Mick Grant. MC for the discussion forum will be Steve Plater, 2009 British Supersport champion.

The event is a celebration of all things motorbike, while also marking the 60th birthday of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, now renamed IAM RoadSmart.

Established in 1956, the Institute of Advanced Motorists introduced its advanced motorcycle test in 1976. By 1994 more than 250,000 had taken and passed the advanced test for drivers and riders. Today more than 400,000 have passed it.

Peter will be joined for the Stars on Stage sessions, which will allow visitors to put their questions to the guests, by Mick Grant. Mick won the fearsome Isle of Man TT race seven times in the 70’s and 80’s.

MC for Stars on Stage will be Steve Plater, 2009 British Supersport champion and twice Isle of Man TT winner.

During the funday there will be a slow riding skills contest, offering the chance to show just how good you are – but keeping the speed way down. This is being looked after by Birmingham Advanced Motorcycle Group.

There will also be a marketplace featuring a number of exhibitors including Intaride, National Association of Disabled Bikers and the National Association of Blood Bikes, and the chance to stock up on memorabilia and useful bike accessories during the day.

Tickets are just £10 each which includes a barbecue lunch and a tour of the National Motorcycle Museum.

Peter Hickman said: “I am really looking forward to coming along to help IAM RoadSmart celebrate its 60th anniversary. Helping so many people become better riders is a real achievement. I know that being safe and precise was my way of becoming a winner – and using these skills on real roads is it’s just as big an achievement.”

“I applaud anyone who has become an advanced rider, and look forward to meeting so many enthusiasts this Saturday.”

Tickets are available online through our special event page or by calling 0300 303 1134.