A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework
BikeSafe is well established and is regarded with high credibility. It is popular with riders who respect the skills of police riders and aspire to be reach their riding skills. It is proposed that the Government provide more formal support.
BikeSafe has come a long way from its origins in North Yorkshire as BikeSafe 2000. It is now a national network which is overseen by NPCC, with a national call centre offering straightforward access to police led assessment sessions across the country. BikeSafe in London is heavily supported by TfL and is established road safety practice in the Capital.
In the late 2000s a case for more formal government support for BikeSafe in road safety and transport policy was presented to officials and Ministers. Unfortunately, discussions did not result in a positive resolution and it became apparent that a lack of research on the effectiveness of BikeSafe was holding back government support. This is currently being addressed and initial results are very positive.
It is clear that BikeSafe represents sustainable best practice. It has proved resilient and popular where other locally based schemes have fallen aside. It seems clear that with BikeSafe’s successful track record, it should feature as supported best practice in the Government’s safety policy – and attract government funding. TfL support and fund BikeSafeLondon in the Greater London area and this has proved very beneficial.
BikeSafe nationally have consistently seen a similar number of candidates each year. The assessment is as popular as ever with riders as evidenced by survey responses.
Consistency of BikeSafe Volumes
The aim of BikeSafe is to ‘Bridge the Gap’ to post-test training, and Assessors provide customers with feedback which they can take to a post-test training provider, suggesting areas of their riding where they may like to improve or strengthen skills.
Customers receive a survey following their BikeSafe workshop. Since April 2014, 94% of the customers that have completed their survey said that they will consider accredited training as a result of their BikeSafe experience.
In April 2014 BikeSafe began a research project to track riders’ behaviour prior to attending BikeSafe and then again at 12 and 24 months after the workshop. Part of this is to discover how many people progress to post-test training. Initial results show that BikeSafe has been successful in its principal objective: to encourage riders to progress to accredited post-test training. Evidence shows that 26% of respondents have gone on to post-test training within 12 months of BikeSafe.
The cohort was encouragingly diverse. They tended to be:
- New riders (under 3 years’ experience and no break from riding)
- Riding hobbyists (older riders on larger machines, risk averse but unlikely to have undertaken post-test training)
- Look-at-me enthusiasts (younger riders who ride small machines relatively often; tend to be blasé, confident and to engage in risky riding behaviours).
The evaluation also identified that BikeSafe clients displayed seven areas of positive attitudinal change towards safer riding, including defensive riding and increased usage of high visibility riding clothing.
The evaluation programme is an independent and robust study of BikeSafe, its delivery and its clients. It has delivered tangible evidence of the success of the scheme that should now be used to once more seek formal governmental support and recognition in its road safety and transport policy.
As further encouragement to riders to take up post-test training opportunities some BikeSafe schemes around the country now offer ‘Bridging the Gap’ weekend workshops. The first day is a standard BikeSafe workshop and the second day is a trial of post-test training with local partners from IAM RoadSmart, RoSPA or ERS.
It is a regrettable fact that more RAF personnel are lost as a result of motorcycle related incidents than during active service. To address this issue RAF have engaged nationally with BikeSafe to deliver the programme to each and every member of RAF staff who rides a motorcycle. The RAF will be funding attendance which will be delivered to some 2500-3000 RAF staff across the UK over a 3 year period.
As part of the partnership between BikeSafe and Highways England and in support of this joint strategy, Highways England are providing financial support for BikeSafe. They have provided a capital grant for the purchase of a fleet of 10 motorcycles to be used by BikeSafe across the UK. The motorcycles will be used widely at BikeSafe workshops, high profile events and shows, for engagement with the motorcycle community, to increase motorcycle safety awareness on the Strategic Road Network and for the delivery of the BikeSafe/RAF project. It cannot be overstated just how positive and unprecedented this support has been for BikeSafe. The significant benefits will be instant and will strengthen BikeSafe delivery whilst displaying support by a government agency. It is hoped that this will also encourage others to consider sponsorship/funding opportunities.
- Ensure support locally and nationally for BikeSafe assessments to encourage all forces to offer BikeSafe to local riders.
- To discuss with government the steps that are needed to gain BikeSafe recognition and therefore funding within overall national safety policy.
- The delivery of BikeSafe in London has been a highly successful partnership between the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London and this model should be cited as best practice.
UPDATE – Action 15 – Gaining Government Recognition and Financial Support for BikeSafe
BikeSafe has continued to assess over 3,000 riders in 2015 (3605) despite difficult times for many police forces. Indications are that 2016 figures will be equally as encouraging.
BikeSafe has secured funding from Highways England to support nationwide delivery. This has been a big step forward for BikeSafe and is very encouraging.
RAF workshops are now being delivered by a national BikeSafe team at one of 8 locations – RAF Coningsby, Marham, Brize Norton, Leeming, Cosford, Wittering, Lossiemouth and High Wycombe.
DVSA staff who ride motorcycles for business or pleasure are also being encouraged to attend a BikeSafe workshop.
BikeSafe is gaining momentum but there are still several police force areas without cover.