Think Once, Think Twice - Think Bike

Ask most drivers if they feel safe in their car, and the answer is invariably yes. We are surrounded by metal, with all the latest technology built in to safeguard us if the worst happens.

Add the heater on icy days and our favourite CD and that sense of complacency is complete.

Has that “safe” vehicle lulled us into a false sense of security?

We should really drive as though that airbag was a metal spike, pointing out of the wheel at our chest.

Then we would have a sense of vulnerability - which is how most motorcyclists feel, with good reason.

The first three-year review of the Government's casualty reduction targets (in 2003) confirmed that motorcyclists continue to be disproportionately represented in casualty statistics. In fact, at that time biker casualty figures were the only ones going in the wrong direction.

Despite a welcome drop in overall casualties in 2004 (compared to 2003) bikers - who represent just one per cent of road users - still accounted for 17% of fatalities. With 585 bikers killed and 6,063 seriously injured in 2004, there is no room for complacency - and bringing the figures down is a top priority for the DfT’s THINK! campaign.

But the most recent figures show that 73 per cent of all crashes involving a two-wheeled motor vehicle also involved a car.

The most common cause of motorcycle crashes is a 'right of way violation'. Data gathered by police investigators shows the majority of these incidents occur at T-junctions and it is usually the motorist - rather than the biker - who is at fault. There is a phrase used to sum these up: “Sorry Mate, I didn’t See You”. These SMIDSY crashes happen despite the fact the motorcyclist should be in clear view.

Always take a second look at junctions before you pull out. Be aware of the so-called “A” posts on your vehicle. They divides the windscreen from the side window and can conceal an on-coming bike, although they are only narrow.

That bike may or may not have its headlight on. But it is not as big as, or the same shape as, a bus or a car, and so it is very easy to miss it at first glance.

As the old slogan used to put it: Think Once, Think Twice, Think Bike.

14 February 2006 Staff

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