Older motorcyclists more at risk of fatal road accidents

Motorbiking in Scottish Highlands

Statistics surrounding road traffic accidents and fatalities in Scotland highlight the safety concerns for motorcyclists, and, in particular, older riders.

Motorcycling accidents more at risk of a fatal road accident

Disturbingly, although motorcyclists make up only one per cent of road traffic on Scotland’s roads, they account for 13 per cent of fatal road accidents.

Older riders account for majority of fatal accidents in Scotland

Another worrying statistic is that male bikers aged between 40 and 49 comprise 20 per cent of bikers in Scotland but account for 30 per cent of those who are killed or seriously injured on our roads.

Live Fast Die Old Campaign

The campaign, Live Fast Die Old, was launched in 2015 by Road Safety Scotland in association with the Scottish Government to help make Scotland’s roads a safer place for bikers and others to enjoy.

The campaign centres around the need for motorcyclists to negotiate left-hand bends safely as one in three motorbike fatalities occur on left hand bends.

Although the campaign is aimed at male bikers between 40 and 49 years old, we would recommend all bikers take a look and consider their riding on left hand bends.

Avoid a motorcycle accident: negotiating tricky left hand bends

Safe Driving For Life, produced in partnership with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, provides some advice for motorcyclists taking bends to avoid a motorcycle accident.

Their tips on riding bends are:

1. Motorcyclists must look well ahead and decide:

  • How sharp the bend is
  • What speed you need to be travelling at so you can ride around the bend and maintain control.

2. Motorcyclists - how sharp is the bend?

There are various ways to judge how sharp a bend is, including:

  • Looking at what you can see of the bend
  • Taking notice of road signs before the bend
  • Using ‘limit point analysis’: ask your trainer to explain this to you if you don’t know this method.

3. What is the best speed for a motorbike to take the bend?

When you’re deciding on the line you should take and the best speed for the motorbike to take a bend, you’ll also need to think about factors such as:

  • Adverse camber: where the road slopes downwards towards the outside of the corner; this makes it harder for the tyres to grip the road in the corner
  • Banking: where the road slopes upwards towards the outside of the bend, making it easier for the tyres to grip the road
  • Road conditions: uneven or slippery surfaces
  • Weather conditions: which can affect the amount of grip the tyres have on the road
  • Visibility: how much you can see of the road ahead
  • Road junctions: if vehicles are emerging from a junction or slowing down to turn, you’ll have to be ready and able to slow down
  • Other road users: others may be travelling around the bend at a different speed to you
  • Performance and handling of your motorbike: each bike will handle differently through bends.

4. What about gears, throttle, brakes and steering?

You’ll need to use the gears, throttle, brakes and steering in the correct combination to drive around a bend safely and responsibly.

  • Control your speed as you approach a bend
  • Choose the correct gear for your speed
  • Use the throttle carefully
  • Steer to hold the correct line through the bend.

For further information regarding riding your motorbike on left hand please see Safe Driving For Life

This advice is all common sense and most riders will have done this when passing a riding test.

However, it is easy to forget these basic riding safety skills as confidence builds.

We should all ride with confidence but always have common sense and safety at the forefront of our minds.

Don’t become a statistic – Live Fast and Die Old

You can find more information about the campaign on Live Fast Die Old Scotland Facebook page. You will see a short fun film showing senior bikers having a good time out on their bikes, but also riding sensibly on left-hand bends, or ‘lefthanders’.

The Facebook page is a great source of information and advice from experts as well as fellow bikers.