A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework
The concern about the short term trend is a key factor behind the need for this strategy. The latest DfT figures in Road Casualties Great Britain 2015 (RCGB) are set out in the table below.
It is worth noting that, for all modes, unlike in the years prior to 2014, a tabular summary of numbers and rates per mode is no longer presented in an easy to find format in the introductory sections of RCGB, but has been replaced with a much broader graphic based ‘outline’. It is now necessary to calculate casualty rates from a number of different tables.
This is an important deficiency, particularly as, compared to casualty numbers, casualty rates are a more accurate measure of how much safer or not a mode of transport is becoming.
The baseline has changed from an average of 2005-09 to a new baseline average of 201014. This makes meaningful baseline comparisons difficult, given that there is only one year’s statistics to work from after the baseline period.
Casualty Numbers Since 2010
Motorcycle Casualty Numbers 2010-14 baseline vs 2015
Against this new baseline, it is not yet possible to see a consistent pattern emerge on casualty statistics. Fatal casualties have risen, but serious casualties have fallen by a similar percentage. All casualties have fallen by just over 2%.
Therefore, until more year on year data is gathered to the new baseline, it is still relevant and appropriate to consider the 2015 situation with the previous 2005 to 2009 baseline. This represents the best short to medium term comparison of casualty records.
Motorcycle Casualty Numbers 2005-09 baseline vs 2015
Against this baseline, encouraging progress is being made on all casualty measures, most positively on fatal incidents. This more or less mirrors the very long term trend. Although PTW traffic fell against this baseline, recessionary factors were at play during much of the period from 2009, with motorcycle mileage moving back into growth from 2015. Much longer term there has been consistent growth in motorcycle sale and miles travelled, with a 20% fall in overall casualties.
Very Long Term Trend for PTW activity vs Casualties
It is however, important to inject a note of caution. Although there is a positive long term trend, it is clear that in recent years, the rate of casualty reduction among PTW riders and among other road users has slowed and for PTW fatalities has reversed in the last year, with a notable spike in fatalities in 2015.
The partners in this Framework feel that given the warning signs in the 2015 data, it vital to arrest potential for any new growth in casualties. This is best done through a combination of focus on the actions within this Framework coupled with a new recognition of the role of motorcycling within transport policy, which in turn can lead to a much more positive focus on measures to reduce rider vulnerability.
We would also support calls from PACTS and other organisations for a return to casualty reduction targets, but focussed around casualty rates.
Casualty rates are a much more accurate measure of how much safer or not a mode of transport is becoming. The headline rate data should appear as part of the annual RCGB publication and it is of concern that this important set of statistics have to be ‘mined’ from the detailed tables in RCGB, rather than being a fully featured aspect of the introductory sections.
The current problematical aspect of the new 2010-14 baseline is also apparent when casualty rates are compared. Against the new baseline, the killed rate has gone up by 4.96%. The KSI rate has gone up by 1.77% and all casualty rate is up by 3.88%. (Source: DfT). But against a brand new and very recent baseline, meaningful conclusions cannot be made from this data.
Against a 2005-09 baseline, the short and medium term trend is more apparent. This reveals that the rate of fatal accidents has fallen significantly. Progress is positive, but not so apparent for KSIs and All Casualties. PTW traffic has fallen over the period, with this due to recessionary factors. Although the fall in the fatal rate is clearly much larger than the fall in PTW miles travelled.
As with casualty numbers, a note of caution needs to be registered. The long term trend may be positive, but as outlined above in relation to casualty numbers, the 2015 ‘spike’ upwards in indicators also applies to casualty rates. In summary, the 2015 data reveals that all measures of PTW casualty statistics contain a note of warning.
Motorcycle Casualty Rates 2005-09 vs 2015
Urban Versus Rural
A closer look at the individual tables in RCGB allows an indication of where safety actions need to be directed. Table RAS2004 considers vehicles involved in collisions by vehicle type, built up and non-built up roads. Although there are some inconsistencies with the headline casualty data, the following can be concluded:
Although there are fewer fatalities on built up roads, the proportion of serious injuries is very much higher than on non-built-up roads. However there has been an alarming increase of fatal incidents on built up roads which contrasts starkly with the improving situation on nonbuilt up roads.
This is a reversal of the situation which was outlined and reported in the first edition of this framework.
Casualty Change on Built up and non-Built up Roads 2014 vs 2015