Road Safety Week: analysis highlights vulnerability of two-wheeled road users

09.38 | 19 November 2018 | | | 4 comments

Road users on two wheels are 63 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than car drivers, according to new analysis by Brake.

The data, published to mark the start of Road Safety Week 2018 (19-25 Nov), shows that on average, a cyclist or motorcyclist (referred to as ‘bike deaths’ by Brake) is killed or seriously injured every hour on British roads.

It also shows that two-thirds of bike deaths in 2017, an average of 25 a month, took place on rural roads – the highest number for more than five years.

Organised annually in November by Brake, Road Safety Week provides an opportunity for communities to take action on road safety – and a focal point for professionals to boost road safety awareness and engagement.

Using the theme ‘Bike Smart’, Road Safety Week 2018 is seeking to raise awareness about the importance of protecting those on two wheels.

To improve the safety of those on two wheels, Brake is calling on drivers to:

  • Slow down to give more time to spot danger and react
  • Look properly for bikes before pulling out at junctions
  • Leave at least a 150cm gap when overtaking a bike
  • Do the ‘Dutch reach’, using the opposite hand to open a car door to help avoid ‘car dooring’ incidents

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Raising awareness about the safety of those on two wheels, who face much higher risk of death and serious injury than those in cars, is absolutely vital.

“We support the Government’s announcement of a review of the Highway Code to help keep cyclists safe and its stated focus on motorcyclists in the forthcoming road safety action plan.

“Rural roads – with their high speeds, blind bends and few cycle routes – pose particular danger to those on two wheels.

“Road Safety Week is a vital loudspeaker for individuals, communities and organisations to shout about road safety and raise awareness of the risks on our roads.”

Speaking in support of Road Safety Week, chief constable Anthony Bangham, NPCC lead for roads policing, said: “Road Safety Week is always an important event in the police calendar and Brake’s timely ‘Bike Smart’ theme makes this year no exception.

“Raising awareness of the safety of those on two wheels is absolutely crucial and we will be ensuring that forces engage with partners throughout the week to both raise awareness of the dangers and enforce the law.”

What’s happening in your area?
Throughout Road Safety Week we are running a daily news update covering what’s happening around the country. Simply send details of your activities by email to Edward Seaman at Road Safety News and we’ll feature them in our roundup.



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    Wouldn’t a better measure of risk be per time exposed rather than per mile travelled?

    Charles, England
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    Unfortunately the vast majority as mentioned collision occur when a driver of a vehicle either fails to see or sees and doesn’t bother accomodating a two wheeled vehicle and as a result the rider suffers. That said there are great differences in the causes of KSI’s between motorcycles and bikes.

    Interesting to note that amongst the things that drivers should do ‘is slow ‘down but no mention of giving enough safe space between vehicles as that would give better vision all round and more time to see any danger and more time to react to that danger also. That would tie in nicely and support the intervention that is or has been run by Highways england re safer space between vehicles.

    I notice that they have included looking for bikes at junctions but by far the vast majority of collisions at junctions are generally in urban areas and very rarely in rural ones. Maybe no more than 3/4 % in rural ones. However, vast majority of KSI’s on powered two wheeled vehicles are on bends and overtakes on rural roads and at roundabouts.

    Bends and overtakes take up a lot of training time for advanced riders and yet they are still the greatest general cause of most KSI’s. The third cause is traveling too fast for the circumstances,ie at inappropriate speeds on our country roads..

    Perhaps, just perhaps, we are training them wrong in some way.

    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    I find that this so many time likely that car drivers is a useless figure – like comparing apples and oranges – oranges are (pick a figure) more times juicy than apples. This video tongue in cheek from Australia makes sense 🙂

    Trevor Baird
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    “Road users on two wheels are 63 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than car drivers, according to new analysis by Brake.” ‘New’ analysis? Was it not obvious before that balancing on a two-wheeled machine at speed with no protection was potentially dangerous?

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (4) | Disagree (11)

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