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With recent Department for Transport reports showing that the cost of road accidents to society is increasing, it is not hard to understand why there is a need to reduce casualties.

Road accidents: statistics

The following table, based on the DFT’s report on road casualties, shows the average cost of each type of accident in terms of emergency services costs, lost output and human cost, among other factors.

Accident type              Cost per casualty                    Cost per accident

Fatal                               £1,703,822                                    £1,917,766

Serious                           £191,462                                      £219,043

Slight                              £14,760                                        £23,336

Sadly, although the general trend for road accidents is a downwards one, motorcyclists – who are among the most vulnerable road users – continue to see a rise in figures for road accidents. Last year in particular was on course to see a rise in fatalities nationally, if the Somerset figures were anything to go by. There was a total of six fatalities in 2012 but by the last quarter of 2013,  13 riders had died on the roads in Somerset: 50 per cent of the total fatality figures.

Motorcycle safety

The saddening fact is that most road accidents would have been avoidable, if the rider had ridden more carefully or had the benefit of training. For a small percentage of the cost of protective equipment, a rider can improve road skills through training. For example,Bikesafe, the national, police-led motorbike safety initiative, costs £25 yet struggles to fill places on the courses it offers, which is a problem for road safety professionals and police alike. At the same time, a pressurised health service is struggling to deal with demands placed on it, even without large numbers of injured motorcyclists visiting casualty departments.

Sales of adventure tourers, like those popularised by Ewan McGregor in the TV programme Long Way Round, are on the increase, as are smaller-capacity machines which provide economical and environmentally friendly transport for commuters and students.

It seems as though 2013 could prove to have been a bumper year for personal injury claims involving motorcyclists – which could well have been avoided with the right training – so please do not hesitate to get in contact about rider safety courses offered locally or nationally. It’s a good way to kick-start the new year’s good intentions.

For more information on any of the issues raised in this article, on road safety in general contact our Personal Injury and Accident Claims team or call 0117 904 6000.