Road Safety News

New partnership aims to increase focus on motorcyclists’ safety

Tuesday 22nd November 2016

A new partnership is calling for motorcycles and scooters to be included in mainstream transport policy and for rider safety to be consistently factored into national road design.

The partnership, formed of Highways England, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), made the call in a jointly authored whitepaper: ‘Realising the Motorcycling Opportunity: A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework’.

The framework identifies seven key areas which ‘would make roads safer for riders’, along with practical actions as to how this can be achieved. These include: safer infrastructure, expanding road user education and increasing awareness and training.

It incorporates the ‘safe system approach’ which, the partners say, is now ‘widely accepted’ as a guiding principle among road safety professionals. This is underpinned by the understanding that humans are fallible and will make mistakes, which can be mitigated through ‘forgiving’ design.

The first edition of the framework was launched by the NPCC and MCIA in 2014, following acknowledgement from police and motorcycle road safety experts that the only way to reduce vulnerability of riders was to properly incorporate their use and needs into mainstream transport planning.

With congestion continuing to rise, the partnership says it is likely many more people will opt for two wheel transport - therefore with new partner Highways England, it has produced an updated version of the framework.

The new framework also advocates unlocking the benefits of motorcycles and demonstrating exactly how they offer a practical solution to congestion, as well as improving personal mobility for people without access to other forms of transport. 

Mike Wilson, Highways England’s chief highways engineer, said: “Safety is our top priority and we believe no one should be harmed when travelling or working on our road network. 

“We are committed to reducing the number of motorcycle incidents and casualties on our roads and to improving the experience motorcyclists have on those roads; this influential partnership with the industry and police supports that commitment.”

Deputy chief constable, Tim Madgwick, national motorcycle lead for the NPCC, said: “The police service is on the front line, dealing with the devastation that is caused to families and the greater community by road traffic collisions.  

“The opportunity to work with Highways England and the MCIA gives us far greater scope to make our roads a safer place, not only for those who use powered two wheelers, but for all road users.”

Karen Cole, MCIA director of safety and training, said:  “Highways England brings significant resource to this ambitious project; financially and in terms of influence, expertise and evidence-based decision making; add this to police backing and we have an unprecedented opportunity to make a huge difference to riders.

“For too long, motorcyclists have been at the bottom of the pecking order in terms of priority for traffic management and road planners.  

“Often ‘safety advice’ is a thinly veiled attempt to keep people off motorbikes and scooters, rather than a genuine attempt to reduce their vulnerability.  It is important to recognise the transport choice of riders and address their needs appropriately. Ignoring motorcyclists increases their vulnerability.”


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David. I would consider that the combined police, motorcycle manufacturers and now the added weight of Highways England have something important and valuable to say. They said a lot in the last paper some 3 years ago but unfortunately it was not even considered by the establishment at all.

Maybe we should be now be looking at the establishment and the ever so continuous status quo and reconsider old and sometimes outdated ideas. Times change and we must be able to change with them. Particularly where it is shown or believed to be for the better. In other words where it is shown that it works well, why change it but where there are negatives again and again then we must be open to change.
Bob Craven Lancs

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I asked for a pdf of this report and was very swiftly sent one. It makes for very interesting reading with recommendations that effect all in road safety. It specifically recommends that road safety be taught in all schools across all of the Key Stages, which is something I would love to see happen. There is huge emphasis placed on sharing the road and becoming an all-round safe road user, and we should all read this important document.
David, Suffolk

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The only thing that cyclists and motorcyclists have in common is their vulnerability. What worries me now is the advice from cycling gurus or experts that they should take over control of the road and other road users by riding in the middle of the lane now known as the primary position and not in a dedicated cycle lane relegated to being the secondary position. By being in the middle of the lane they are advised that they can control the actions of other road users.

Unfortunately this is the area that for generations has been recommended as the safest position for scooters and motorcyclists and as they can travel up to speed limit and unlike cyclists do not hold up traffic or cause any unnecessary obstruction.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)

The report highlights that cyclists and motorcyclists have things in common. Yes, but I don't think the cyclists would want motorcyclists sharing their cycle lanes or cyclists having to hand over part of their newly 'won' re-allocated and dedicated road space to bikers. So I wonder where the 'common ground' will be in practice.
Pat, Wales

Agree (10) | Disagree (1)

Ignoring motorcyclists seems to be an ongoing theme nowadays.

Before cyclists came to power, or should I say became a priority, motorcycle and scooters were about due to be considered as sustainable transport by the then government. It didn't happen. That was thrown out of the window years ago and has never been considered since. Let's hope that there will be enough pressure and lobby to put it back on the agenda once more. It has my support.
Bob Craven Lancs

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Thanks for your interest. We will add a PDF to the homepage, but in the meantime if you want to email me direct I will forward a PDF direct.
Stevie Muir

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This partnership and framework seems a good idea but can the authors please note: we would like to have a download-able PDF version please. I still find it easier to absorb and digest documents when they are in paper form and I can scribble notes in the margins. I couldn't see a button to download the whole framework document in one go on the partnership website. But maybe that is deliberate?
Pat, Wales

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