A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework
- A single generic theory test aimed at all road users, focussing on the theory of using the road, regardless of the mode choice
- A revised hazard perception test that uses CGI technology to demonstrate the main causation factors of KSIs for vulnerable road users. This will increase awareness across all vehicle users
- The introduction of compulsory road safety education within schools. Road safety professionals for all modes agree that starting to learn the lessons relating to safe road use should start at a much earlier age
- Compulsory road safety education resulting in a theory test certificate.
- A call for a theory test pass prior to the acquisition of a provisional licence.
- Better and more balanced public information
- Motorcycles fully integrated within transport policy
- A safer and less vulnerable road environment for motorcycles
- Better infrastructure facilities
Summary of Actions
Action 1: Introduce Compulsory Road Safety Education Within the School Curriculum, Resulting in a Theory Test Qualification
Action 2: Change the Theory Test to Create One Generic Multi-Mode Test as Opposed to Mode Specific Tests
Action 3: Amend the Hazard Perception Test to Include Specific Collision Causes
Action 4: Change the Process so That Candidates Must Pass the Theory and Hazard Perception Tests Before They Acquire a Provisional Licence
Action 5: To Ensure Safety Statistics Provide a Full Picture for Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Work
Action 6: To Obtain Greater Recognition by Government of Motorcycling as Legitimate Transport to Enable More Focus on Reducing Rider Vulnerability
Action 7: To Work With Local Authorities and Enhance Their Role in Motorcycling
There is a need to train people to use the road, not just to use a specific mode of transport. A holistic approach to safety training needs to be employed. This will have a cross modal benefit in terms of creating a new generation who are fit to use the road whichever mode of transport they choose to use.
This will allow road users to become more aware of vulnerable users, cyclists and motorcyclists in particular. Best practices will be illustrated.
Greater emphasis is needed in the licensing curricula of all vehicle types to ensure more awareness of the behaviour of other road users. This would not only benefit motorcycle riders but would also, for example, raise awareness among heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers to look out for cyclists when turning, and would assist car drivers to understand the dynamics of HGVs when braking or accelerating, laden or unladen. There is also the need to explain the potential hazards from misjudging the speed and approach of differing vehicle types.
The most frequent cause of collisions involving motorcycle riders is perception failure by other drivers (Motorcycle Accident In Depth Study (MAIDS). In such instances, the best vehicle technology in the world will not prevent the collision if the rider or driver has not perceived the relevant hazards and therefore makes no attempt to avoid or mitigate the situation being faced.
Awareness of the rules of the road should begin at an early age, preferably from pre-school years. In the 2013 Road Casualties Great Britain reported 706 casualties under four years old.
In order to create safer road users, road user education needs to be in every school and offered to every student. Whilst we understand that it would be very difficult to create more curriculum time, it is entirely possible to amalgamate road safety into the existing curriculum.
By introducing this at the start of school life, it would help foster more desirable attitudes in later life.
There is also a need for easy to access and clear information about safety progress via statistical publications. The Government used to provide this via the Road Casualties Great Britain (RCGB) annual series and via an annual compendium of motorcycle statistics. However, the compendium has been dropped by the DfT and the latest edition of RCGB (2015) does not provide an easily accessible overview of motorcycle and scooter safety statistics.
A major aspect of road user awareness will be an implicit and widening recognition that motorcycles are part of mainstream transport and a legitimate travel choice for society as a whole. A more positive attitude to motorcycles from policy makers at all levels will facilitate actions that can lead to wider recognition and acceptance by the public at large. This in turn will lead to greater highway visibility as more are encouraged to actually ‘Think Bike’ in a positive way.
Finally, there is a need to consider how attitudes to motorcycles can be addressed. In particular social/parental attitudes to riding and the perception of motorcycles being ‘dangerous’ rather than being a vulnerable transport mode (like cycling).
Added to this is the issue of negative institutional attitudes to motorcycles in general. Experience shows that this is extensive and deeply entrenched. Changing attitudes to unleash new and creative thinking about motorcycle use and safety is a long term objective of this Framework. It is vital if the benefits proposed are to be fully achieved.