With more motorcycles on British roads we are also seeing an increase in the number of motorcyclists involved in road accidents in recent years. South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are working with motorcyclists to reduce the number of casualties.
Motorcyclists are more vulnerable than many other road users and continue to represent a high proportion of those either seriously injured or killed on our roads. The majority of incidents involving motorcycles are avoidable and all too often, are simply the result of basic errors made by riders.
- Motorcyclists are 55 times more likely than car drivers to be killed or seriously hurt in an accident.
When do motorcyclists crash?
Don’t Crunch after Lunch, the Grave Yard Shift.
Fatigue is one cause of accidents, responsible for as much as 20% of all crashes. As a motorcyclist you are approximately 35 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident (per mile ridden) and over 50 times more likely to be seriously injured in a reported road accident.
Of the 22 fatal motorcycle RTC’s in Wales in 2016, the majority (14) were after lunch (12 noon), eight from noon to 2pm.
Managing fatigue and making safe decisions is the responsibility of the motorcyclist. Yet motorcycle riders do fall asleep and their accidents have been well documented.
Motorbikes – riding advice
- PLAN: Don’t just plan your route; plan your stops as well. Make realistic distance goals.
- SLEEP: Before any ride make sure you get adequate sleep.
- DRINK: Make sure you drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol.
- EAT: Opt for smaller, more frequent meals and avoid carbohydrate-heavy foods. Big meals and foods high in carbohydrate, fat and sugar slow your body down while it concentrates on digesting the food.
- STOP: Take short stops at least every two hours. Take slightly longer stops between 3-5pm as this is when riders will be feeling more tired and need longer to revitalise.
- EXERCISE: When you stop, try to get some light exercise, even taking a short walk can help
- LISTEN: Wind noise can also fatigue a rider. Wear earplugs or listen to music. Consider getting a communication system to talk with other riders and pillions to keep you mentally alert.
- GROUPS: Ride in a small group. Riding solo is a recipe for losing concentration, but riding in a big group can also make you switch off. Ride in small groups and take turns leading the pack.
Clothing tips for motorcyclists
- Always wear protective clothing, even for short trips
- Make yourself visible. Ideally wear fluorescent clothing
- Wear a long sleeved jacket, which fits closely around the waist
- Wear long trousers to protect you from the hot parts of the bike and to offer protection if you fall
- Full finger gloves to help maintain control of the bike, and to protect your hands should you fall off and slide across the road surface
- Choose the right helmet – your helmet could save your life. The SHARP rating system helps you understand how much protection a helmet offers in a crash. Visit the SHARP website for more information
- It is important to wear good footwear when you ride a motorcycle. If you wear sandals or trainers your feet will have little protection if you fall off
Accident involving a biker – would you know what to do?
If you were the first on the scene of an accident involving a biker, would you know what to do? Would you know who was most at risk and how to protect the area or whether you should remove the helmet of a downed rider?
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service offer a course for bikers, the Biker Down Cymru course, which is a free three-hour training course run by bikers for bikers designed to answer these uncertainties.
More about Biker Down Cymru and to book a course email firstname.lastname@example.org
Advice for drivers to avoid a crash with a motorcyclist
Here are a few simple ways that you can avoid a crash with a motorcyclist:
- Keep your distance – driving too close can intimidate a less experienced motorcyclist
- Check for bikes when turning – double-check for motorcyclists, whether you’re turning left or right
- Look carefully for motorbikes when you pull out at a junction. If you’re approaching a junction, look out for motorcyclists pulling out too
- Check for bikes when changing lanes – a motorcyclist may be in the space you want to move into, or moving into it fast. Remember your blind spot
- Park safely – check for motorcyclists before opening your car door – and ensure that your passengers do the same. When you pull away, remember to look specifically for motorcyclists as they can accelerate faster than cars