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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Guest Post: How can We Reduce the Motorcycle Accidents?

Many motor vehicle accidents involve motorcycles, and motorbike accidents are considerably more likely to result in tragedy than those involving other vehicles. While motorbikes only represent around 1% of all traffic, motorcyclists account for approximately 19% of all serious injuries and deaths on the UK's roads, with the average day seeing 30 separate cases. Furthermore, motorcyclists involved in motor vehicle accidents are as much as 40 times more likely to die as a result of the collision than car drivers.

In a mile-for-mile comparison, comparing the relative risks of different vehicle classes, motorcyclists have around a 75 times greater risk of being involved in a serious or fatal accident.

Although motorcyclists have a reputation for riding erratically and dangerously, statistics indicate that this prejudice is unfair. It is usually other road users who are responsible for accidents involving motorcyclists, with around 38% of all cases involving right of way breaches and 15% occurring due to filtering or overtaking accidents, indicating that many people who have been in such incidents could succeed in a motorbike accident compensation claim. A further 11% see motorcyclists losing control while turning corners at speed. A total of 74% of all motorcycle accidents involve other vehicles and 69% take place at junctions.

Many specialists say this reveals that road safety campaigns aimed at reducing the frequency of motorcycle accident claims should focus on other road users as well as bikers. As a result, two new campaigns by the Department for Transport aims to encourage motorbike riders to drive defensively in order to minimise their likelihood of being killed or seriously injured on the UK's roadways.

Could two new initiatives lead to fewer motorcycle accident claims?
The 'Stay in Control' scheme will see leaflets, posters and promotional information distributed to motorbike retailers and dealerships all over the country. This will predominantly occur during Spring and Summer, as these seasons generally see a spike in the number of motorcyclists involved in serious motor vehicle accidents.

It will encourage motorcyclists to look around before making any manoeuvres and will ask them to leave themselves plenty of time to react to any dangers on the road.

The campaign could also reduce the number of motorbike accident compensation claims by encouraging riders to wear appropriate clothing whenever they travel on the roads. Not only should motorcyclists wear protective boots, gloves, jackets and trousers, but they should also wear reflective clothing during the hours of darkness and bright clothes during the daylight to improve their visibility.

'Stay in Control' also calls for bikers to anticipate the potential actions of other road users and to position themselves in the best possible position in order to increase visibility of dangers and hazards on the road.

In conjunction with this initiative will be the THINK BIKER scheme, which aims to encourage car drivers to spend more time looking out for motorbikes in order to reduce the risk of collisions. This will ask drivers to remember that motorcyclists can pass them on both the left and right sides, so they should look for them before turning in either direction or when changing lanes.

Furthermore, THINK BIKER tells drivers to keep their distance from motorcyclists, noting that inexperienced bikers can be intimidated when cars drive to close and that this can lead to disaster.

Even parking can pose a hazard for motorcyclists and could lead to car accident compensation cases, so THINK BIKER asks drivers to look out for motorbike riders when they open their car doors and to ask all passengers to do the same.

Stephen Hammond, Road Safety Minister, has given his backing to the two schemes. He argued that any campaign that could potentially curtail the number of deaths or serious injuries on the UK's roads is "worth hammering home".

Other organisations that have given their backing to the initiatives include Devitt Insurance, Motor Cycle Monthly Magazine, the Motorcycle Industry Association, the Motorcycle Industry Training Association, the Motorcycle Retailers Association, Kawasaki and Yamaha, with the THINK! Campaigns team eager to hear from other bodies that are willing to back the scheme.

Reductions in motor vehicle accidents involving motorcycles
Nonetheless, as is seen with other forms of motor vehicle accidents, the number of serious collisions involving motorbikes has fallen in recent years. In 2008, there were a total of 5,556 motorcyclists who were seriously injured on the UK's roads, with 493 riders dying as a result of their accidents. However in 2011, with 5,247 serious injuries were seen, and 362 fatal accidents occurring.

Anyone who has had to make a motorcycle accident claim following a death or serious injury will be sure to agree that if this campaign prevents one single death, it will be worth it. *** [By: CARLA STEVE | EDITOR: EKA]
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About the author:
Carla Steve researches for personal injury claims and other road safety issues. In her downtime, she likes repairing her old Harley Davidson.

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