Road Safety News

Welsh Government launches £0.5m motorcycling competition

Thursday 15th January 2015

The Welsh Government has launched a competition in a bid to reduce the number of motorcycle casualties on the country’s roads.

The competition, ‘Innovation in Reducing Motorcyclist Casualties in Wales’, is backed by £500,000 of funding from the Welsh Government and Innovate, and will be run in partnership with RoSPA Wales.

The competition will set out to “identify innovative projects that can help the Welsh Government to reduce the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads, in particular accidents occurring at junctions”.

In 2013 motorcyclists made up only 0.2% of the road traffic in Wales (by distance travelled), but accounted for 31% of those killed or seriously injured. 17 motorcyclists died on Welsh roads in 2013 and 229 were seriously injured. Allowing for year on year fluctuations, this figure has changed little in the last 10 years.

In the period 2009-2013, 49% of motorcyclist KSIs occurred at junctions, with 48% of these being at T-Junctions.

The challenge in the competition is “to develop an effective intervention or technological feature that provides demonstrable improvements in the safety of motorcyclists, either by reducing the likelihood of a collision occurring, or by lessening the impact of a collision”.

The competition closes on 16 February 2015.


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Build some bike specific crumple zones into roadside guard rails, have a look at these pictures to see how its done:
Daniel, Berkshire

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Having read all the comments and whilst I believe the campaign to be a very good idea as a mmotorcyclist I just treat everyone else on the road as idiots and think for them.
Tom Portsmouth

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I am pleased to receive your help. I take in what you say Mark and you express the same attitude to safety as I do and to Hugh also.

I have therefore now included the words S.A.F.E into the frame in order to get more information across. Without stepping on other mnemonic toes so to speak.

S. can stand for SPEED/SOLO/SENSE OR SCAN.
A. Accelerate
F. Freedom
E. Environment

A lot of these may be considered concepts and will be explained and supported within the info. Hopefully they will instigate thoughts on the matter on the part of the persons driving and influence them to take these matters into consideration whilst out of the road.

It is early days for my Campaign and I am still thinking about a variety of ways forward and of what may be achieved and by what means. It's going to take time to bring these things together but I am hoping that it will get here sooner rather than later.
Bob craven Lancs Space is Safe Campaigner.

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Good to see some constructive comments and practical advise for a change on this forum. Anyway...for my part, I've found that maintaining a 'defensible safety cocoon' around yourself, within which you can stop, is probably the best thing you can do to stay safe, as Bob has highlighted. This takes in the other key points mentioned previously anyway i.e speed, position, anticipation, attitude/concentration etc. - in most cases, speed being the primary consideration.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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How about sense or scan for the S in SPACE. Sense would mean the rider/driver using all their senses (sight, hearing etc.) to gather information about what is going on all around them and then using this to control the space around them and hence facilitate their choice of position on the road.

Scan would mean that the rider/driver would use their eyes to look into the far distance, mid distance and foreground and also behind and into their respective blind spots to assess what is going on all around them. Emphasis could be placed on the need to keep moving the eyes around in visual sweeps to ensure that the complete picture is always taken in as much as possible; thus facilitating the development of appropriate visual management techniques.

In a way sense and scan are similar in that they accomplish the same objective of delivering up to date in context information which the rider/driver can use to choose the most effective course of action to execute to control that vital bubble of space around them, thus they become more proactive and less reactive.
Mark - Wiltshire

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No problem at all.
Mark - Wiltshire

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You are quite right Mark the majority ie 70% of incidents involving motorcycles are indeed in urban towns full of traffic and slower speed limits. Because of this the degree of injury is less serious than those incidents on rural country roads, some 30% remaining many of whom suffer greater injury and are more likely to die as a result of those injuries.

A lot of so called Advanced training goes into higher speed country roads, how to take bends and overtakes etc. and not as much on the defensive riding techniques that are required whilst pottering round town, commuting or just going for the milk.

But and it's a big BUT. It doesn't matter. Where Space is concerned whether in town or in the country it will benefit everyone by seeing more and being seen by more. Hopefully this more relaxed method of approach to driving will allow people more time to stop and look and not act like sheep and latch onto the vehicle in front and by following the leader wherever it may take them. By giving space hopefully and eventually they will not need to be towed around town or be hidden by other vehicles in front. Then all road users will benefit, stress levels will drop and road rage reduced. Nobody pulling in in front of them as well as up their rear end.
Bob craven Lancs... Space is Safe campaigner

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While motorcycles are more easily missed because of their size and the looming factor, the fact remains that drivers also collide with other cars, vans, LGVs, etc. at junctions. We ought not to urge them to look once, look twice, think bike, or whatever, but to recognise the limitations of human eyesight when it comes to driving.

If the average driver were made more aware of how easy it was to miss seeing something, or to misjudge its speed having seen it, even though he was trying hard to drive well, we might get somewhere. Drivers need to know why it so easily goes wrong at junctions.

Any improvement in the manner in which drivers used their visual abilities would hopefully be reflected not only by a reduction in motorcycle crashes at junctions, but also by a general improvement in the safety of all vehicles at junctions.

In the meantime, motorcyclists should stop relying on drivers to do what they are supposed to do, and instead of blaming the 'cagers' to actively anticipate that vehicles will pull out, or turn across their paths and do something about it.
David, Suffolk

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No emphasis intended with choice of photo - it was simply selected as one that could be typical of much of the terrain riders experience in Wales - and one of the reasons why leisure riders are attracted to ride in Wales. We did not select the pic with casualty stats in mind.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

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Again the implied emphasis (see photo) is on rural riding of large machines for purely recreational purposes.

For riders living in South East Wales the percentage of Fatal and Serious injuries on that type of road was about 10% with the majority of the rest being on roads with a limit of 40 mph and below. These typically involved another vehicle (aka car) and typically at junctions. Many of these collisions occurred within a few miles of the rider’s home and probably were being used for commuting or travel to a location. Also a wide range of bike sizes were involved. You can’t get a 40% reduction from 10% of the population.
Mark, Caerphilly

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Just thought of the word 'Solo' meaning to be by by oneself. That could work as it's what we should all aim for, being by oneself on the road without interference with or by anyone else.

The Welsh question is a difficult one and I feel should encompass all other road users. Wales in itself is a complexity of many things, engineering being one, and I am sure that some roads and junctions would benefit from being looked at. Environment is very important here but has been overlooked in the past. Not only do we have the dangers of hills, ups and downs and the changes to the motorbikes responses and abilities but to weather, wind, climate, sunshine etc. It's very much like Derbyshire and nothing like Cheshire or Somerset.

It has a rural community that needs private transport perhaps greater than most counties and the ensuing dangers of road usage. It has no motorways to speak of but several busy arterial roads that get very crowded at times. Lots of HGVs. It also has many quiet bendy country roads where traffic is extremely light but generally travelled at speeds. The greatest dangers are junctions, T or crossroads and roundabouts where traffic meets with closer proximity. Also as stated many incidents are single vehicle so one needs to look at cornering and inappropriate overtakes and use of speed etc.

A very complex issue but with perhaps one simple answer. Educating all drivers to one thing and one thing only. I believe that this is an opportunity to develop Space as being the next road safety intervention. Space is the general answer which I think it is then something can be done to make those roads Wales first and all roads in the UK safer to use.
Bob craven Lancs ...Space is Safe Campaigner

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Thanks for the mnemonic Mark and the comments from yourself and others who appreciate what I am attempting to achieve. By myself.

I had tried to work without using the word Speed as I felt that it was an off putter but couldnt find anything that would be suitable. Some time ago I worked out my own mnemonic and that was similar to your own.

S. Speed

P. Positioning

A. Attitude

C. Consideration

E. Elimination [ danger]

So very similar. Would you have any problem if I did use yours from time to time in conjunction with mine as they both go in some away to say what it's all about. If anyone knows of another word beginning with the letter 'S' that relates to space and safe then let me know I may prefer it to speed. I am trying to get over the many years or so of everything road safety wise being related to speed which I am sure the general public are sick to death of.
Bob Craven Lancs Space is Safe Campaigner

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- Speed

- Position

- Anticipate

- Concentrate

- Execute

As I said in another thread - all in a glow worm moment!

On a more serious note, Bob's doing a lot of hard work here with his 'Space is Safe campaign', the next step is to get motorcyclists to buy into it and manage their space more effectively.

Riders need to be more proactive in their thinking and assume more of an active responsibility for what happens to them. Would you want to rely on another road user to do the right thing? Bikers on the whole need to consider a paradigm shift in their thinking (incidentally, so do other road users) - something that Duncan has alluded to on a number of occasions. This is why more understanding of how the brain processes information and subsequent decision making processes is important.

There may one day be an effective intervention that would achieve the aims that we all desire - getting enough riders to participate is going to need some very clever marketing.
Mark - Wiltshire

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I used to cover North East Wales and any incidents and complaints re-motorcyclists invariably related to the 'A' and 'B' roads rather than dual c/ways. If you know the area, the A550/A5104 corridor in particular was a favourite with weekend bikers and any road safety campaigns carried out would invariably be somewhere on this stretch. Recreational bikers understandably prefer these sort of routes, but they're not without their hazards if not ridden sensibly.

On another point raised by a few people, whilst motorised road users of the four-wheeled variety need to play their part, a lot of m/c accidents do not necessarily involve other vehicles.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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There has long been the thought amongst motorcyclists that some compulsory riding period before moving on to four wheels would be beneficial in making car drivers realise the vulnerability of riders, but what period of time? Would a minimum mileage be required over said time? And how would it be administered and checked? There would inevitably be many who would see it as a deterrent to driving at all, especially amongst the less agile. Once away from two wheels onto four, there is still no guarantee standards would improve or even be maintained. Motorcycling is the choice of those wishing for more involvement with the elements, and the camaraderie available, whereas driving for the majority is a necessity to get from A to B in time and in comfort.

It was not always the case. The motorcycle and later with sidecar attached, was the working man's choice – they were economical and cheap to run until the advent of the ‘Mini’. Later still, we have the Born Again Biker Brigade, who with more disposable income rushed out to buy high powered machines in the chase to re-live a lost youth. The aftermath was a rise in accident rates and death tolls.

The competition challenge is a cop out. It seeks advice from individuals for ideas, where the real issue is down to educating drivers into motorcycle awareness – how two wheels are so easily missed when looking – where, how and what to look for.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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The most noticeable thing on a bike is the headlight. The colour blue is probably the most reactive colour for drivers. Fitting a blue headlight cover on during daylight hours would save many bikers. Try to get the law changed for this reason.
Simon, Pembrokeshire

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Car drivers are the issue - make sure everyone driving or riding on the roads passes a sight test every year to be able to buy vehicle insurance.
Laura, Swansea

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Make all learners take their bike test before being allowed in a car.
K G Swansea

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Make doing a cbt part of your car driving licence. That way they will understand a bit better what to look for and get a bit of a better understanding of the risks and how other drivers affect you as a biker.
Luke, cardiff

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Several ideas presented to them by MCIA last year. Shame these were never followed up.
Craig Carey-Clinch

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Looking through the reports of accident statistics relative to the whole of Wales it was interesting to see the figures of Killed/seriously injured and slightly injured that have been compiled since 1979 till recently 2013.

From about 1979 till about 1998 there is shown as a massive decrease in all motorcycle stats. A drop of some 65/70% in all incident of accidents injuries deaths etc. Since 1998 to 2013 the figures certainly appear to no longer fall but have maintained a degree of similarity for the last 14 years or so.

My question is how can one show such a dramatic drop in all motorcycle accidents and injuries over that early period? What measures were taken in those days that caused this decrease to happen in the first place? What went on during those years and can lessons be learned as to accident causation, and elimination?

Was it the development of the new A55 from a winding country A road to its modern day twin lane counterpart and perhaps other roads that have been improved? Does anyone know?

I think that if we do then we are some way to reducing those figures again in the future. Any ideas anyone?
Bob Craven Lancs.... Space is Safe campaigner

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All new drivers who pass the DSA test to ride a motorbike for a minimum of 500hrs or 1 year.
Rob Davies. Clydach, Swansea

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Might just point out Bernard that various campaigns featuring just those words have been running for nearly 60 years now. They have made not one scrap of difference so now it is time for some new thinking to address the problem.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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Make taking a motorcycle test compulsory before learning to drive.
K G Swansea

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Easy - car drivers at junctions - look once, look twice thinking bike? Email for the address to send me the cheque. Thank you!
Bernard Smith

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