In Moto Ltd, Croydon

Faraday House, Gladstone Road, Croydon CRO 2BQ

Call us: 020 8689 2341

Road Safety

The Government’s road safety strategy document, Tomorrow’s Roads: Safer For Everyone, has set a target to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads by 40 per cent by 2010. Broadly the targets of this strategy are being met, but motorcyclists are disproportionately involved in fatal and serious injury crashes. One in five deaths on the roads in 2003 was a motorcyclist.

Main results for 2003 show that overall motorcycling casualties remained at about the 2002 level at 28,411 in 2003. But with the number of motorcyclists killed in 2003 up 14 per cent to 693 and the number of seriously injured up 1 per cent to 6,959, there is an even greater need for concerted action.

The THINK! campaign targets both urban commuters and leisure riders with specific safety messages.

THINK! – motorcycle safety campaign: urban commuters

The urban commuter campaign, consisting in the main of TV advertising, has been in existence since 2001 and is aimed at both motorists and motorcyclists.

Work has now started on developing a new TV and radio advert aimed at urban car drivers, with the input of key stakeholders. The role of the TV advertising, to be launched in January 2006, will be to generate awareness and raise the profile of the vulnerability of motorcyclists.

Motorcyclists and scooter riders in an urban environment are being encouraged to ride defensively through a programme of PR activity in national, regional and specialist media.

The urban commuter campaign, consisting in the main of TV advertising, has been in existence since 2001 and is aimed at both motorists and motorcyclists.

The role of the TV advertising is to generate awareness and raise the profile of the vulnerability of motorcyclists. Better driver and rider attention to each other will help to keep casualties down in the moderate speeds associated with urban areas.

The 30-second TV advert ‘Mirror’ highlights the dangers to motorcyclists of drivers making right turns without first checking their blind spot, which is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.

The message of the TV advert is that drivers should look out for motorcyclists, and motorcyclists should take up positions where they can be seen. This is supported by radio advertising targeted both at drivers and motorcyclists.

THINK! Take control

Sports bike riding is on the increase. As motorcyclists take advantage of the relative emptiness of rural roads to test their vehicle’s – and their own – full potential, the risk can be far too high. In 2003, some 447 riders were killed and 2,699 seriously injured in accidents on non built-up roads. In many of these accidents no other vehicles are involved. Too often riders don’t have the skills to handle their machines.

This page highlights opportunities for professional assessment.

It’s a jungle out there

Every year bikes get faster, more complex and more expensive. Every year the roads get more crowded with boy racers, white van men and lane-hogging trucks. Every year you need to be sharper, more aware, at the top of your game every time you pull on your leathers and hit the starter button. Unfortunately every year most of us get a bit lazier, a bit more complacent and our skills get rustier. Instinct and quick reactions on their own aren’t enough – the road is dangerous… You need to THINK!

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been riding for years or if you’ve just come back to biking – what you need is up to date bike handling skills, inside information and a head stuffed with riding know-how. Get that lot from somewhere and you’ll ride safer AND get more out of your bike.

But I’m already a good rider – it’s other road users who cause the problems.

Oh really? Does any of this sound familiar?

  • I often find that corners suddenly tighten up on me.
  • I sometimes find I only just get away with overtaking manoeuvres.
  • When I ride with my mates, I seem to have to thrash my bike to keep up, although I know they’re not going any quicker than I usually do when I ride on my own.
  • People are always pulling out on me and forcing me to take avoiding action.
  • I’m not sure how to set my suspension up for the kind of riding I do.
  • I worry about how secure my bike is, even when it’s locked up.
  • As soon as it rains all my confidence disappears.
A different approach

They’re all common complaints, and its easy to blame most of them on outside influences. In fact they’re mostly problems that can be solved with a different approach. For example, corners don’t suddenly tighten up – if it’s tighter than you thought it’s because you didn’t THINK! and pick up the clues early enough to assess what was coming up.

Similarly, when people pull out in front of you it’s often not because they haven’t seen you, but because you were going a lot faster than they expected – the average car driver has no conception whatsoever of the performance of a modern bike.

Putting the emphasis on yourself to avoid trouble rather than on others to avoid you is the first step towards getting more out of your bike, and keeping it shiny side up. The second step is improving your riding skills.

Learning curves

So you need to learn, and there are three ways to get the skills you need to control today’s bikes on today’s roads.

1. You can learn from your mistakes. But every mistake hurts. Life’s too short, and likely to get even shorter if you take this option.

2. You can learn from your mates. But how good are they anyway? How do you choose what’s good and bad advice?

3. Or you could learn from an expert. Someone who spends all day every day in the saddle, who knows every trick in the book AND who knows how to pass that knowledge on to others. You might even end up with discounts on insurance, clothing and accessories.

Ok, so what do I do about it?

Before deciding on a training course, it’s worth finding out just where you’re at and what you need to know, and there are plenty of organisations that can help. Assessments are carried out by professional riders who know how to analyse your riding and come up with a programme that’s right for you – no point learning how to get your knee down on a track day if you’re a died in the wool two-up tourer, and vice versa.

Be assessed by the best

Any of these organisations will point you in the right direction for a professional assessment:

  • The Driving Standards Agency (Tel: 0115 901 2500)
  • The Motorcycle Rider Training Association (Tel: 01788 538303)
  • British Motorcyclists Federation (Tel: 0116 254 8818)
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Tel: 0121 248 2000)
  • The Institute of Advanced Motorists (Tel: 0208 996 9600)
  • The Police’s “Bike Safe” programme (http://www.bikesafe.co.uk)

or check The Yellow Pages.

What next?