Analysis highlights vulnerability of motorcyclists

10.58 | 23 January 2020 | | 4 comments

Analysis of DfT casualty statistics shows motorcyclists are 66 times more likely than car drivers to be killed on UK roads.

The analysis, carried out by JMW Solicitors, found in 2018, the fatality rate per billion passenger miles for motorcyclists was 119.7 – compared to 1.8 for car drivers.

Pedestrians were the second-most vulnerable road users, with a fatality rate of 33.7 – followed by cyclists at 29.7.

The average fatality rate per billion passenger miles was 5.4.

In total, 354 motorcyclists were killed on UK roads in 2018 – the highest number since 2015.

Paul Breen, partner and head of catastrophic injury at JMW Solicitors, said: “The fact that the number of deaths and serious injuries occurring on British roads fluctuates greatly from year to year suggests that despite efforts, road safety is not improving. 

“Therefore, it is vital that steps are taken to protect motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users. 

“There is such a stark difference between the fatality rates among different types of road users suggests that their lives are in danger every time they head out on the road. 

“This should not be the case and action needs to be taken to change this.” 



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    66 times, 10 times, 20 times – the best explanation is a discussion about the best discussion about motorcyclists more likely than car drivers to be killed is this video of two bikers discussing the latest stats that reveal bikers 38 times more likely to be killed than car drivers. It’s worth a watch.

    Elaine, Belfast
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I find it “interesting” that this should be identified by a private company (not even an NGO) rather than DfT themselves?
    But good on them for raising the issue(although obviously wont have come as a surprise to many on this forum ?)
    I note however the statement ” vital that steps are taken to protect motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users” without any suggestions of those that are proven to work?

    Tony Sharp, Bristol
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    “Analysis of DfT casualty statistics shows motorcyclists are 66 times more likely than car drivers to be killed on UK roads.” Stating the obvious? One could equally deduce this by noting that motorcyclists are unprotected whilst car occupants are protected.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (2) | Disagree (6)

    High vulnerability (potential to be at risk) is inherent in motorcycling as a mode of transport. However there are many things a rider can do to reduce the potential of risk becoming a reality. I think I can say that because of 50 years on-road motorcycle riding experience. I ride with a different mindset to how I drive because I am aware of the greater exposure to personal risk. (The “trick”, if it is a trick, is for a biker in staying alive whilst getting the experience).

    That said, we could do with better road design, wider use of motorcycle friendly crash barriers, passively safe posts, less metal covers in the road and anti-skid surfaces on those that are there, removal of slippery count down stripes on approach to roundabouts, less debris left unattended etc etc.

    All these have been covered in one way or another in technical publications such as the IHE Guidelines for Motorcycling and the TfL urban motorcycle design guide

    but the reality is that much of these good ideas never reach the road due to lack of funding/investment, both for capital projects and for maintenance

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (9) | Disagree (0)

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