New report analyses motorcycle fatalities in Northern Ireland

00.00 | 30 November 2011 | | 5 comments

Right To Ride has published an in-depth study of motorcycle fatalities in Northern Ireland between 2004 and 2010 which includes information relating to the vehicles involved, the collision scene and environment, and human factors.

The ‘Northern Ireland Motorcycle Fatality Report 2012’, which is supported by the British Motorcyclists Federation Foundation, examines 39 incidents in which 41 motorcyclists were fatality injured, which equates to 36% of total motorcycle fatalities during the period 2004-2010.

The evidence indicates that each road traffic collision is unique, but that the time frame from the perceived hazard to the conclusion of the impact, either with another vehicle or with road infrastructure, was typically between two and three seconds.

In 63.4% of cases, motorcyclists applied their brakes prior to the collision, and 43.9% applied their brakes severely. Of the 41.4% of motorcyclists who slid after falling, 24.4% fell onto their right side and 17.1% fell onto their left side. The report identified two cases where Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS) may have made a difference to the outcome.

Of the 39 cases analysed, there were 17 in which another vehicle was considered the primary cause of the collision. In 13 of these, the evidence highlighted that the motorcycle’s lights were switched on and therefore the other vehicle driver was in a position to see them.

A focus group which discussed the relevance of technology in vehicles as a deterrent to collisions, as well as the advantages of teaching hazard perception and anticipation in initial and advanced training, concluded that while technology may be beneficial, good training was more important. However, the availability, image and cost of advanced training seems to be a barrier in getting more riders involved. According to the focus group, the best solution to avoid road traffic collisions is anticipation and hazard awareness.

For more information contact Dr Elaine Hardy, director of research at Right to Ride.


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    Personally I don’t think it went far enough and matters that might have been contributory may not always have been apparent at the time of attendance, or realised, never mind considered.

    The idea that a comparison of motorcycle accidents in N.Ireland and those in mainland Britain cannot be considered is also alien. If one was to make comparisons they are all there, there being no actual differences in type and statistics.

    bob craven Lancs
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    In response to a couple of comments. The report is a study of Northern Ireland motorcycle fatalities, not Great Britain. It is not a comparative study of data. In any case the statistics for KSIs in Northern Ireland are separate from the rest of GB – although Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, it has its own registration and transport statistics which are issued by the Dept. for Regional Development/PSNI. It is a study of files from the Road Traffic Collision Investigation Team, Forensic Science Northern Ireland. It is not an analysis of data. With regards to road conditions, the information provided was accurate and reliable and based on the findings of the investigators at the scene, considering that the evidence from these reports can determine the outcome of a Coroner’s Verdict and even sentencing in courts, they must be accurate. With regards to tyre pressure, the report states that there were effectively three cases where tyre pressure influenced the outcome of the collision, in one case it was the principle cause, in the other two it was a contributory cause. With regards to comparative analysis of statistics – that is another report worth doing, but it was not the aims and objectives of this study.

    Elaine Hardy
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    I agree an excellent report and for the first time some in depth study.

    However it doesn’t say anything new about KSIs in GB – a 50/50 split between accidents on or approaching bends and the others on straight roads where inappropriate overtaking takes place.

    The usual faster country roads involved and I was surprised to find that there was only on remark where road surface ie loose stone was a contributory cause. If Ireland is anything like the rest of the UK then poor surfaces abound on many if not all mainland country roads.

    And then the type of bike, exactly the same %age as bike type purchased ie 51% sports bike purchases, with an equal 51% accident rate.

    Then only one low PSI tyre accountable for an accident when the majority of those found to be low were at least 8 PSI below recommended pressure, that’s a lot of pressure lacking in anyone’s tyre – even more dangerous on a bike (as opposed to a car).

    bob Craven Lancs
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    This is an excellent report and worth reading in depth.

    The suggestion as written above, may appear that with lights on, or ABS fitted, there would be fewer fatalities. This is a little misleading as an in depth reading of the report will show.

    It would be interesting to know the total number of vehicle miles covered by powered two wheelers over the period of the report (six years), and compare it with those of other groups of vehicles.

    Derek, Salop.
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    Having scanned through, this looks to be an excellent report written after detailed investigations performed at the collision locations with each taking many months to complete.

    Much is as expected, most is probably what most motorcyclists already know, but there are a few surprises.

    This is the quality of investigation that road safety needs in order to deliver policies that have a chance of working.

    Dave Finney – Slough
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