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Written on 30th June 2023 by Kim Milan

The road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, is launching a campaign to improve road safety for motorcyclists and have them recognised more consistently as vulnerable road users. IAM Roadsmart’s #RecognisingRiders campaign is supported by the charity’s motorcycle industry partners, including the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC).

Motorcyclists and motorbike pillion passengers are disproportionately vulnerable to road traffic accidents and collisions, and are more likely to be severely or fatally injured than drivers and passengers of cars and other motorised vehicles. The charity is concerned, however, that motorcyclists are not recognised as vulnerable road users and motorbike safety is not seen as a priority by government. The campaign aims to raise awareness of motorcyclists’ vulnerability and reduce motorcycle casualties by improving access to rider training and advanced safety equipment, whilst promoting motorcycling as a positive step on the way towards greater sustainability.

Motorcycle road safety facts and statistics

IAM Roadsmart’s campaign draws on statistics which suggest that motorcycling is an increasingly popular means of transport in the UK. Industry growth is at 8%, with a 4.1% increase in motorbike use in recent years. 3 million people now hold a full UK motorcycle licence and 1.4 million of full licence holders regularly take their motorbikes out on the road. Two thirds of full motorcycle licence holders use their motorbikes for commuting or other practical purposes, but many more are also passionate about motorcycling and ride for pleasure.

Smaller motorcycles in the 51cc to 125cc range are seen as ideal for food delivery, as they are cheaper to buy, run and repair, but they are also most commonly involved in RTA collisions. 

Motorcyclists are disproportionately affected by road traffic accidents and are also more likely to be severely injured or die from their road crash injuries. Motorbikes represent only 3% of all vehicle registrations, but motorcyclists are involved in 18% of all collisions and account for 13% of all road casualties and 20% (1-in-5) of all road accident fatalities.

IAM Roadsmart’s motorcycle road safety campaign - #RecognisingRiders

IAM Roadsmart road safety charity is proud of its association with British motorcyclists since the advanced riding test was introduced in 1976. The charity is supported by nearly 34,000 members who also belong to motorbike and/or car groups. The charity’s CEO, Antony Kildare, has spoken out about the deep sadness that the charity feels when reading the rates of collisions, casualties and deaths in the road safety statistics every year, and is calling for greater recognition of motorcyclists and road safety improvements which will bring about change. 

The campaign aims to raise awareness of bikers’ vulnerability on the roads, in the hope of reducing the number of motorbike-related road collisions and motorcyclists who suffer serious injuries or loss of life. The campaign also aims to raise awareness within government and the general public about the benefits of motorcycling as a means of transport, such as lower emissions and reduced congestion on the roads, and reduced travel costs. By doing so it hopes to ensure that motorcycle safety remains consistently as a priority on the political agenda.

The campaign specifically calls for:

  •  a recognition of the benefits of motorcycles as a step towards decarbonisation, rather than applying an arbitrary ‘one size fits all’ approach to road users of all types by phasing out petrol-fuelled vehicles;

  • help in making advancements in safety equipment more accessible, by removing VAT from life-saving PPE (personal protective equipment), such as air jackets, as has already taken place with helmets;

  • additional help to improve riding skills and to foster a culture of safety and wellbeing for employees who ride for work.

The charity advises that the aim of the campaign is not to cause division, but to raise awareness of the vulnerability and importance of motorcyclists as a part of the entire community of road users. By recognising the disproportionate safety risks to motorcyclists, the campaign does not intend to create fear around motorcycling but aims to highlight that all road users are responsible for road safety. The charity acknowledges that their calls to action cover broad themes with complex solutions and hopes to ‘start the right conversations, without disempowering people for the way they choose to travel’.

Motorcycle accident injury claims and compensation

Motorcyclists are often known for their passion for biking, which brings them so much more than a means to get from A to B. Motorcyclists can reduce their risk of injury by advance training and use of protective clothing and equipment, but even the most experienced motorcyclist cannot account for the mistakes and misjudgements of other drivers, which are often exacerbated by wet, dark or other poor-visibility driving conditions.

Motorcycle injury claims against other drivers commonly arise where other vehicles have pulled out from a side road into the path of a motorbike, turned across the motorcyclist’s path at junctions or collided with them whilst pulling out of a line of traffic when overtaking or doing U-turns. 

Other types of motorcycle accident claims may not involve another driver.  Claims for single vehicle motorbike accidents against councils, highway authorities and other organisations are common when motorcyclists lose control or stability as a result of unmarked ramps, unsigned or unlit roadworks causing sudden changes to the road surface or other ‘invisible’ hazards on the roads. Motorbike riders also make mistakes, resulting in accidents from errors of judgement, excessive speeds or taking risks which cause injury to their pillion passengers as well as themselves.

Motorcycle safety is important because motorcyclists are vulnerable, not only to RTA collisions, but to fatal and life-changing  traumatic injuries. Claims commonly involve brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), amputation and multiple/major trauma.  In these circumstances, compensation can be a lifeline to early, specialist rehabilitation to optimise recovery and restore mobility and independence.

If you or someone in your family have been seriously injured in an accident which was caused by someone else’s negligence, you can talk to an experienced solicitor, free and confidentially, for advice about rehabilitation and making a claim by contacting us.