Motorcyclists face ‘unacceptable level of risk on London’s roads’

12.59 | 19 March 2018 | | 4 comments

The London Assembly Transport Committee says motorcyclists in the Capital face ‘an unacceptable level of risk’, adding that riders shouldn’t be ‘dicing with death’ every time they take to the roads.

Statistics show that just 1% of journeys made in London are by motorcycle, yet riders account for 27% of the people killed or seriously injured on the Capital’s roads.

In a new report published on 15 March, the London Assembly says TfL’s Motorcycle Safety Action Plan – developed in 2014 – is now outdated and needs to be renewed with new safety measures.

The report concludes that the mayor of London and TfL should consider reinstating plans to develop a ‘London Standard’ for motorcycle safety training – which was omitted from the mayor’s draft Transport Strategy published in February.

The London Assembly raises concerns over reductions in TfL’s road maintenance budget, suggesting that motorcyclists are particularly susceptible to poor road surface conditions. It also calls for motorcyclists to be allowed to ride in all bus lanes.

On a positive note, the report describes TfL’s Urban Motorcycle Design Handbook as a ‘major step forward for motorcycle safety’ – adding that it is important the guidance set out in the book is followed.

Keith Prince AM, chairman of the London Assembly Transport Committee, said: “Motorcycles are an efficient form of transportation which can cut congestion – and motorcyclists shouldn’t be dicing with death every time they take to London’s streets.

“In 2016 this Committee published a report outlining its concerns about the safety of motorcyclists. It’s clear from the evidence we have recently heard that riding a motorcycle in London is no safer than it was two years ago. Why is that the case?

“TfL has failed to implement key recommendations made by the Transport Committee and we are also disappointed to see the mayor change his previous proposal to improve safety training. The landmark commitment to a ‘London Standard’ for training needs to be reinstated and a more proactive approach is needed from boroughs to give motorcyclists access to bus lanes.

“How many more motorcyclists need to die for TfL to sit up, take notice and do something?”


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    No Keith, I am fully aware of what he said and have previously commented on that in another thread. My comments were of a general nature and its about time the powers that be sorted this out and by doing so I believe that we could dramatically reduce the two wheeled carnage that all motorcyclists suffer on our roads. That together with other measures relating to road usage and design and other matters could see such happening and its about time it did.

    The problem is there are not enough people in power concerned about motorcyclists. Maybe reflecting of the fact that they are considered as merely 1% of the road usage and therefore an insignificant number not really worth bothering about. That’s how I see it and have over 55 years experience of riding on two wheels.

    That said we must remember that they represent a massive number of deaths,serious injures and slight injuries well out of that proportion and that’s what we should be aiming at dramatically reducing.

    Bob Craven
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    Bob, for a moment I thought you were talking about Sadiq Khan in your last paragraph.

    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    I agree Hugh with some of what you say. Higher speeds or rather the capability to higher speeds should not be an issue particularly with those motorcyclists that daily commute. There are others who will push the envelope of safety and who have actually have little regard to safety be they on two wheels and four. What we need is something that may be coming and that is better educated and therefore better trained persons on a two wheeled vehicle . This could be similar to the training that I undertook in the 1960’s with the RAC/ACU. However there were no professionals teaching us. They were all amateur volunteers with good knowledge of both safety and skills that made us better riders.

    In Belgium and other countries the professionals are supported by amateurs as well. Many belong to clubs which are more social than ours and that seems to work well as they are all singing from the same handbook.

    So I would finish by saying that if all we require of our new motorcyclists or any motorcyclists for that matter is to have is a CBT and then maybe, maybe a DVSA pass only if they so wish then that’s all they will ever get or know. As nothing further is required of them they give or undergo no further training. That is human nature.
    It is therefore up to those in Authority to make such legislation necessary to make those riders undertake further training to understand the basic principals of riding and of matters relating to specific dangers and road safety in general. So it is up to the powers that be who have a responsibility towards the welfare and safety of the general public. Persons who were elected to office or others who are paid to serve the public interests.

    Bob Craven
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    I agree, riding a two-wheeled, motorised vehicle with little, or no protection and yet still capable of higher speeds and rates of acceleration than anyone else on the road does carry a high level of risk and yes, sometimes they are dicing with death. Not entirely convinced that that is the authorities’ sole responsibility however.

    Hugh Jones
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