Improving the safety of motorcyclists
Motorcyclists are a particularly vulnerable group when it comes to road accidents. Unlike the driver of a car, motorcyclists have significantly less protection from, and are more exposed to, their immediate environment. When we drive our vehicles, we are protected by a full metal frame and airbags, as well as other safety features; motorcyclists are not.
At the end of last month, the Department for Transport published a report detailing the reported road casualties in Great Britain in 2016, click here to view.
The report reveals on average, there are fewer fatalities of road users in London. In 2016 319 motorcyclists were killed, with 5,553 motorcyclists seriously injured.
The government have invested in implementing safety measures for cyclists by introducing super cycle highways in and around London. I am of the opinion more time and money needs to be invested in implementing measures to protect motorcyclists.
Transport For London have published an informative and detailed “Urban Motorcycle Design Handbook”, which sets out the issues concerning the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of London’s streets.
The key challenges faced by motorcyclists as set out in the report are:
- Loss of control;
- Where another vehicle turns into the path of a motorcycle;
- Poorly marked street furniture including islands that can form a collision hazard;
- Poorly designed traffic calming; and
- Poor layout or design of road which can mean that motorcyclists experience barriers to safe filtering. i.e. roads which are narrow.
The Handbook sets out various recommendations that could be implemented, for example ensuring appropriate visibility splays are provided and that they are unobstructed by street furniture and vegetation. Better marking and designated filter lanes would also allow for better protection.
Transport For London allows motorcyclists to ride in bus lanes on the roads it manages, but many boroughs restrict access on their own roads and not all motorcyclists are aware that they are allowed to ride in bus lanes. A more consistent approach is called for.
Although, I only address motorcyclists in London, I believe the same issues apply across the UK.
I am currently representing a motorcyclist who sustained significant injuries after a vehicle turned right across its path.