Scotland: riding skills the focus of new motorcycle campaign

10.10 | 4 July 2018 | | 9 comments

Scotland’s most iconic motorcycle routes are playing a starring role in a new campaign that aims to reduce deaths on the country’s roads this summer.

‘Epic’ coastal rides, ‘sweeping’ mountain journeys and ‘stunning’ forest trails all feature in the series of ‘Breathtaking Roads’ videos launched earlier this year.

Using drones, the short films were filmed on three different biking routes, with each one ending with the strapline: ‘Be aware on breathtaking roads. Don’t let them take your breath away for good’.

But as well as the ‘gorgeous’ scenery, the campaign from the Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland focuses on improving everyday riding skills – rather than just highlighting dangers.

Michael McDonnell, director, Road Safety Scotland, said: “Each of these films deliberately weaves in a particular skill we know bikers welcome learning more about.

“These skills are the ones statistics show are typically most challenging, such as overtaking, left and right-hand bends and junctions.”

Running until the end of September, the campaign has a strong social media presence, with viewers being directed to the Live Fast Die Old Facebook page, or the Don’t Risk It website.

The campaign is also being supported by outdoor advertising at popular meet-up spots along the routes themselves, while local biking ambassadors and influencers are sharing the message.

Once the campaign has finished, independent evaluation will measure awareness, recall of best rider practices and claimed behaviour change. Social media engagement, click-through rates, Google analytics and Police Scotland incident statistics will also be used to measure its impact.

Elizabeth Rockley, senior marketing manager at Safer Scotland, said: “We’re particularly targeting those bikers who take a break during winter, then go out again between Easter weekend and the end of September.

“Because they haven’t been out on their bikes for a few months, there’s maybe a bit of a skills gap they need to close as the season starts.

“We’re very much looking to generate a two-way conversation with bikers and getting them to share their best skills tips too.”

The campaign is also backed by Police Scotland and a number of Scottish biking groups, and targets the most at-risk group – male bikers aged 40-54 years.

Inspector Ian Paul, who leads Police Scotland’s national motorcycle unit, said: “At this time of year many bikers are planning weekend ride outs and trips with their friends, to enjoy the magnificent scenery Scotland has to offer.

“We understand the thrill of motorcycling and why people want to do it, but we also want bikers to keep themselves safe especially when overtaking, approaching junctions and negotiating bends.

“This campaign encourages the biking community to enjoy Scotland’s roads, while following best practice too.”



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    Sorry Hugh but there is a requirement that states that in an urban queue in order to make use of valuable road space its recommended to be just about and no less than the Thinking distance and not the required Full Stopping Distance.

    So you were wrong in that its being taught right now and has been taught for decades. So Tailgating can no longer be considered an offence and dangerous as its in the Training Manual.

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    Obviously I knew you meant 2 or 3 seconds and not 2/3 of a second! Anyway, why so close that the time interval becomes critical anyway? There’s no requirement to drive so close to a following vehicle that you have to maintain a barely minimum stopping time and distance – leave it much longer and it won’t be relevant anyway.

    Hugh Jones
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    I agree Hugh that the greater the distance the greater the safety. When I wrote 2/3 seconds I didn’t mean just two thirds of a second but 2 seconds or 3 seconds behind. A lot depends on the speed of traffic and the road circumstances at the time. Obviously the greater the speed the greater my distance that I give. I did say that at times I give more than just 3 seconds.

    As regards to that sentence ‘but obviously not all circumstances’, I am talking here, not about the danger of vehicles ahead but of any circumstance now being seen by me due to the giving of that safer space. This could be something that obviously can happen in any road space ahead of one such as cars turning right and against you or pulling out at junctions or a cyclists falling off etc. Whilst one consideration is the safe distance given by oneself another is the ability to see more, recognise more and respond to more should something untoward happen in front of one. Obviously that can happen at any time but by the giving of space it can be at times be negated but some things can a happen close to one and well within that safe distance.

    Hope that puts your mind at rest Hugh. I obviously gave the wrong impression regards to time and distance but assure you the only times I am that close are the ones which everyone does and that is generally when entering a traffic stream and then its generally an incidental and temporary one.

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    Bit surprised at your last comment Mr Worthington, particularly the last para.”..but obviously not all circumstances..” Isn’t that because you’re only 2/3 seconds behind..? that is not really ‘nowhere near other vehicles’.. why not make it many seconds so that all circumstances ARE covered? Always be alert, create space and manage speed to be able to stop comfortably.

    Hugh Jones
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    The problem that Scotland has is it’s got such great scenery and that to some is a massive distraction and others, particularly some car drivers, want to look at it as do some motorcyclists. This obvious distraction takes a lot of vision off the roads and accidents happen.

    How often has one’s mind wandered off the task in hand whilst driving and then when it shoots back to the road one cannot remember how one got so far down that street or road, ie one cannot remember the last few seconds or perhaps milli seconds of driving. It’s as if the subconscious has taken over.It happens or has happened to everyone at some time and that’s what happens when we look at scenery. Visual or mental distraction has a lot to answer for.

    We can to some degree offset and mitigate the results of such distractions by making sure that we are nowhere near other vehicles. I usually drive or ride seconds behind the vehicle in front. Generally I am 2/3 seconds and sometimes more behind the vehicle in front. This gap helps to ensure my safety in most instances but obviously not all circumstances.

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    We are all encouraged to respect the countryside so I can see no harm in encouraging bikers collectively to respect their lives.

    As a biker, I know riding through Scotland is an amazing experience, however I never lost site of my vulnerability as a biker.

    The real message here is expect the unexpected and ride accordingly.

    Gareth Tuffery, London
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    Don’t like the Scottish adoption of the saying or logo ‘LIVE FAST DIE OLD’. When it comes to motorcyclists, any reference to FAST to me seems to be totally inappropriate.

    I have viewed two videos and wish the Scottish Road Safety Partnership well but I doubt that these videos will have any effect. Indeed I suspect that with the sunny weather we are experiencing and which may continue for some time there will be many more unfortunate incidents and collisions involving more motorcyclists not only in Scotland but all over the UK.

    Emergency services should steel themselves because if the weather encourages more motorcyclists out on our roads to have a blast, then there will be more mayhem unfortunately.

    M. Worthington.
    Agree (1) | Disagree (7)

    Inspector Ian Paul has said elsewhere, Summer 2018 Page 8-9 – Direction – Road Safety Scotland – “After the campaign finishes later this year, independent evaluation will measure awareness, recall of best rider practices and claimed behaviour change. Social media engagement, click-through rates, Google analytics and Police Scotland incident statistics will also be used to measure its impact.”

    Looking forward to that.

    Trevor Baird
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    Is it me, or was the rider going faster between 00:25 and 00:29 across what seems to be a bridge, than on the more open stretches? Could have been the perspective of the camera I suppose. Always best to stop when admiring views anywhere though, rather than taking one’s eyes of the road, when driving or riding. Averting one’s eyes from the road for even two to three seconds is enough for a crash to be unavoidable.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

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