Road safety stakeholders have expressed concern over the rising number of motorcycle casualties across the UK.
Statistics published this week by the DfT, Welsh Government and Transport for London all show an increase in motorcycle casualties in 2015, against a backdrop of static or declining casualty figures for most road user groups.
Across Great Britain, DfT figures show that 365 motorcyclists were killed last year, a year-on-year increase of 8%; motorcyclists accounted for 21% of all fatalities.
44% of those occurred in London and the South East and separate figures from Transport for London also show an increase in motorcycle fatalities from 2014. 36 riders were killed on London’s roads during 2015, up from 27, a year-on-year increase of 33%.
In Wales, there were 273 motorcyclist KSIs during 2015, 6% higher than the 2004-08 average; as a result, the Welsh Government is struggling to meet its 2020 motorcycling casualty target.
A number of stakeholders, including the RAC, IAM RoadSmart, Brake and Road Safety Analysis have expressed concern and issued calls for more to be done to improve the safety of motorcyclists.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart, said: “The government must show more leadership to really drive down road deaths in the future. Key trends still show the increasing risk to vulnerable road users, particularly motorcyclists, and big increases in fatal crashes involving vans and lorries.”
Brake says steadily increasing traffic levels – up almost 2% in 2015 – pose a threat to vulnerable road users, including motorcyclists.
Lucy Amos, research advisor for Brake, said: “Vehicle traffic has been steadily increasing for the past few years; action must be taken now to prevent the numbers of vehicles overwhelming safety measures.
"The increase in motorcycle deaths last year is a clear indicator that something must be done now to secure the safety of vulnerable road users in particular. This is why Brake is calling for the reintroduction of ambitious casualty reduction targets to act as a driving force for the fight against road death and injury at the national level."
Richard Owen, a director of Road Safety Analysis, said motorcyclists would benefit from a safe systems approach and ‘well-evidenced interventions’.
He said: "Vulnerable road users (and especially motorcyclists) are not benefitting from the casualty reductions seen for vehicle occupants and the focus should turn to preventing fatal and serious injuries in these groups.
"There is already strong evidence of how reductions can be achieved through implementing safe systems and future casualty reduction must rest on implementing well-evidenced interventions."
David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, described the increase in motorcycling fatalities as “worrying”.