Two campaign groups have issued a plea for riders to protect themselves ahead of the clocks changing this weekend.
They point to evidence which shows an increase in risk faced by riders between November and January – following the autumnal clock change, which brings with it an hour less daylight in the evenings.
DfT statistics show that in November 2020, there were 6,985 motorcycle casualties per billion miles travelled – compared to 5,638 in September 2020 and the annual average of 5,544. This number increased further in December 2020, to 7,265.
Adverse weather conditions including ice and snow test a rider’s skills to the maximum, and in these conditions 2WL and 2WGM are encouraging riders to lower their speed, use clear and early signalling and be extra vigilant at all times. Keeping a safe distance from other road users is also critical.
Liz Brooker, chair of 2Wheels London, said: “Whatever the time of the year, it is important to stay safe and wear clothing that will protect you in all weathers and all situations. Even at low speeds coming off your bike can be a painful experience.
“The minimum you need is a helmet that conforms to British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carries the BSI kitemark, strong boots and proper biking gloves. A proper motorbike jacket will also offer you protection.
“Wear the best safety equipment you can afford when you’re riding.”
Karen Delaney, from Safer Roads Greater Manchester, added: “Sadly, over the last 36 months in Greater Manchester we have seen 313 riders or pillions killed or seriously injured and a further 425 slightly injured on our roads.
“We are seeing younger riders being killed or seriously injured on lower engine bikes under 125 cc which they often buy for commuting to work and these casualties concern us greatly – which is why we always remind other road users to look out for motorcyclists, especially when the clocks change and the nights become longer.
“While there’s no greater feeling than climbing on your moped or motorbike and going for a ride, taking a tumble – even at low speeds – can be a painful experience.
“You need a helmet, strong and sturdy boots, proper biking gloves and a trouser/jacket combination that will offer your skin and bones some protection in the event of a fall – which can happen to even the most experienced rider.”
The 2WL and 2WGM call to riders is being backed by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), who are also asking drivers to pay special attention and look out for PTW riders.
Colin Brown, director of campaigns for MAG, said: “It doesn’t take a genius to realise that shorter days, long nights and poor weather can all combine to increase the risk to an already vulnerable road user.
“It is vital that drivers take extra care to search out the riders amongst the confusing glare of headlights, but it also makes sense for riders to take sensible steps to protect themselves.
“We all have a role to play in making the roads as welcoming as possible. Most riders understand the need to ride defensively, and it also makes sense to prepare for the worst whilst hoping for the best.
“Above all let’s all make our roads ‘Welcoming Roads’.”
*2WL and 2WGM work in close partnership with the boroughs and local businesses across London and Greater Manchester to provide motorcyclists and moped riders with useful safety information and advice.