A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework
Evidence from other countries demonstrates that more motorcycling invariably leads to greater motorcycle safety as a proportion of the vehicle parc and user population, with risk falling sharply once motorcycles reach 10% of the private vehicle parc. Therefore, the greater presence of motorcycles in the traffic system will in itself have a safety awareness benefit. It should again be emphasised that measures to enable sustainable market growth in appropriate motorcycle sectors, such as commuting, should not be confused with measures to promote motorcycling per se – something that is beyond the objectives or scope of this Framework.
Going forward, one of the most important factors which will aid delivery of a safer roads environment for motorcycles is one of understanding and acceptance of motorcycles as a legitimate mode of transport at all levels of transport and roads policy development. This new approach supported by this framework will move PTWs from the previous ‘too difficult’ safety problem to an economic contributor included in all relevant policies.
It can be argued that the success or failure of this entire Framework lies in the ability of all to approach motorcycle safety and policy integration with an open view. Regarding the potential to reduce casualties through a two-pronged approach of established safety techniques, coupled with the use of wider policy levers to reduce rider vulnerability through developing sensible measures that will realise the motorcycle and scooter opportunity for road transport.
The expertise and resources of Highways England, MCIA and NPCC combined can provide a new impetus and enthusiasm for moving forward to improve motorcycle safety by viewing motorcycles as a legitimate transport mode, with a focus on motorcycling as one of the many modes of transport and with a view to improving safety and enabling all road users to share the road.
The most sustainable route to safer motorcycling lies within taking a comprehensive approach to safety policy and practice, based on a ‘shared responsibility’ approach. A new approach must be pursued. This must be based around the attitude of: ‘Motorcycling carries many socio-economic benefits and an opportunity to offer the public a further alternative to the car for commuting. How can we support motorcycling, decrease casualties and reduce rider vulnerability?’
In order to realise this and ensure that safety is managed with an even hand and on a level playing field, the first and most important step is to recognise motorcycling’s place within society and the overall transport system. Indeed, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) firmly stated this key point in their primary recommendations from the 2008 Lillehammer safety conference.
Such an approach will open up the ability to integrate motorcycle safety as part of broader transport policy/planning and enable a reduction in rider vulnerability and improve accessibility as part of this. This will result in not only fewer motorcycle and scooter casualties, but also the important role that motorcycling plays in social, business, practical and leisure transport.
The British Road Safety Statement: ‘Working Together to build a Safer Road System’ makes clear reference to the original MCIA/NPCC framework and welcomes its creation. Highways England’s integration into the partnership clearly demonstrates the government’s commitment to road safety and support for motorcycling in the wider context.