Fleet News

Motorcycles in fleet: Safety plan targets novice motorcyclists

COURIER bikes are notorious for zipping in and out of traffic, skimming along back roads and riding close to the pavement.

But, if a new proposal goes ahead, motorcycle delivery fleets may have to clamp down on inexperienced and newly-trained drivers.

The proposals are the result of a five-year study into motorcycle issues which has led a Government advisory group to put forward a number of suggestions which will directly affect motorcycle fleets.

Ideas have been sent to transport minister David Jamieson. They include considering new training standards for despatch riders, an advertising campaign to make other motorists more away of motorcyclists and a review of the use of bus lanes by motorcyclists.

Under current legislation, riders can become couriers or pizza deliverers after a short training course, even when they still have L-plates. The Advisory Group on Motorcycling wants this to change.

The group’s study, called ‘Final Report to Government’ will assist the Government in developing its strategy for motorcycling, which will be published soon.

Jamieson has welcomed the study. He said: ‘I am delighted to have received this report, which is the product of a constructive and co-operative partnership between Government and motorcycling interests.

‘This report is timely. Motorcycle 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.’

The Government set up the Advisory Group on Motorcycling in 1999 to tackle issues such as vehicle safety and security, integration and traffic management, environmental and financial issues, statistics and research.

Members involved in the Advisory Group include bodies such as the Motorcycle Industry Association (MIA), the Despatch Association, the RAC Foundation and the Motorcycle Rider Training Association.The MIA believes the report, a first in the motorcycle industry, will boost safety for riders.

Craig Carey-Clinch, director of public affairs at the MIA, said: ‘The report is a real landmark in motorcycling.

‘This is the first time that motorcycling’s role has been considered in such depth and the first time that motorcycling groups have presented a policy document to the Government which has been developed under the chairmanship of the road safety minister himself.

‘The report shows that in addition to improvements to rider training, safety often goes beyond the rider, with recommendations showing that both Government and local authorities need to consider how the transport environment and infrastructure impacts on motorcycle safety.’

Some motorcycle fleets are already taking steps to improve fleet rider safety.

Pizza Hut created a £250,000 fleet services division last year, which could be adopted by other motorcycle fleets. The Hertfordshire-based enterprise maintains Pizza Hut’s fleet of 1,300 pizza delivery bikes and also trains its riders.

The depot provides a workshop for Pizza Hut’s mobile fleet of bike technicians and also houses the licence administration department, which carries out driver checks.

Mopeds on the Pizza Hut fleet are serviced every four weeks, which includes a full check and repairs to any damage on the bike.

Mobile technicians continue to service individual bikes at local sites, but those requiring more extensive repairs are brought to the support centre.

Driver training also forms an integral part of the unit, with Pizza Hut working in conjunction with the Department for Transport and local outlets. Drivers have to be aged at least 18 to be employed by the group and undergo an additional two-day training programme. Pizza Hut is continuing to expand its fleet, adding around 400 mopeds each year, with vehicles being kept on average for three years.

Speaking at the opening of the new centre, Pizza Hut’s chief executive officer, John Derkach, said: ‘Our bikes do about seven million miles every year, so it’s vital we have a proper support system for them.’

  • For copies of the report, email dft@twoten.press.net quoting the product code T/INF 45RRLG02263
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