Although motorcycling represents just 1% of all motor traffic, it accounts for 18% of all road fatalities and serious injuries.
Figures show that in 2003 a total of 693 motorcyclists were killed, an increase of 14% on the previous year. The number of people seriously injured was up by 1% to 6,959.
There has been an increase in the number of people taking up motorcycling, the Department for Transport (DfT) says, adding that between 2002 and 2003, motorcycle traffic rose by more than 10%.
More and more fleets are turning to motorcycles in an effort to beat traffic and congestion charging.
Last year, Tony Draycott, director of specialist motorcycle leasing company Motorcycle Management, urged fleets to give motorcycle riders refresher training courses so they can brush up on their skills (Fleet NewsNet, July 15, 2003).
The DfT has been sponsoring research into the causes of motorcycling accidents. Its strategy produced later this year will take into account recommendations made in the recently-published Advisory Group on Motorcycling: Final Report to Government.
The report recommends the Government reviews the licensing regime which allows faster access to rising bigger bikes, promotes rider improvement and speed awareness courses for offending motorcyclists and runs a hard-hitting advertising campaign to make motorcyclists and other roads users more aware of the dangers. Transport Minister David Jamieson said: ‘The report is timely. Motorcyclist deaths rose by 14% in 2003 and this is a challenge we must face up to.
‘The Government and the motorcycling community are working together to make biking safer and to take account of the needs of motorcyclists.
‘Motorcycling is an important part of the transport mix and we will consider the report’s recommendations closely as we further develop our motorcycling strategy.’
RESEARCH carried out into motorcycle accidents by the Transport Research Laboratory analysed more than 3,500 deaths between 1997 and 2002. Findings include: