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Motorbike safety: staying secure on two wheels

While the killed and seriously injured (KSi) accident figures for Somerset have been heading downwards for the last two years, it is still an unfortunate fact that, although motorcyclists make up just two per cent of all road users, they consistently account for 25% of all KSi figures.

The key issue at stake is riders’ ability and attitude to risk. The insurance industry recognises and rewards those who take further training with groups like the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), both leading providers of advanced riding for bikers.

However, only a small percentage of riders join such groups, as many are put off either by image, the emphasis on an ‘advanced’ qualification or by cost. Schemes available through the police, like Bikesafe and Ride to Arrive, are good value (thanks to sponsorship from unitary authorities such as Avon and Somerset) and provide an introduction to further training.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has introduced schemes to improve the quality of training provision in the private sector and the Register of Post-test Motorcycle Trainers contains details of accredited instructors. Through them, motorcyclists can get access to Enhanced Rider Scheme certification, which provides discounts on insurance for successful riders. All of these have helped to regulate the motorbike training industry, which previously had no common standard or requirements for training providers.

The wide selection of what training and which trainer to choose is often bewildering, and driven by the cost to the individual. However, bikers should bear in mind that they readily pay out for the cost of a helmet (£300 plus) and leathers (the same price again). Around half of that would pay for training or cover the joining fee for the IAM or RoSPA.

The DSA has for some time been seeking to standardise and ensure the quality of post-test training provision, in order to make choices easier and more reliable for motorcyclists. But, despite these efforts, there is a still a large proportion of bikers who do not consider training for whatever reason. More work definitely needs to be done to attract these people and provide for more uptake of training.

To this end, a new approach called Max Rider has been successfully trialled in Devon and Cornwall, and is now being introduced by Somerset Road Safety. The scheme provides reassuring quality of instruction to reduce the risk of riders, whatever their standard. The hope is that this will becomes a national scheme, recognised among riders and supported by the DSA.

For more information on any of the schemes mentioned in this blog, contact Mike Smalley by emailing msmalley@lyonsdavidson.co.uk

Posted on Jul 21st, 2011 by Lyons Davidson