Safety in Numbers

Motorbiking in Scottish Highlands

Safety in numbers is the concept that as part of a large physical group or mass, an individual is less likely to be the victim of a mishap, accident, attack, or other bad event.

Jacques Compagne, Secretary General of ACEM recently presented data to the Transport Secretary, Robert Goodwill, showing that countries with a higher proportion of motorcycles and scooters on the road compared to cars and other vehicles have a lower rate of bike accidents.

Compagne advised that in Japan the ratio of bikes to cars on the road is 98 bikes per 1000 . In turn, there are 0.8 fatalities per 1000 bikers each year. Contrast that with Europe, where the ratio of bikes to cars is  73 per 1000, and the rate of motorcyclist fatalities is higher, at 1.52 per 1000 bikes.

The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI) provided further figures demonstrating that the UK has the lowest ownership of motorcycles in Europe and at the same time proportionally has one of the highest rates of fatal accidents. When this is compared to nations who have higher ownership and use of motorcycles, such as the Netherlands and Greece, where there are less fatal bike accidents.

ACEM’s data suggests that the more motorcycles there are on the road,  the fewer the number of fatal bike accidents.  Whether there is a specific “ideal” motorcycle to car ratio which would reduce the number of fatal bike accidents remains to be seen. However, it does appear to be the case that if there were more bikers on the road,other road users would adapt and eventually become more  conscious of bikes and perhaps drive a little more carefully.

As far as bikers are concerned it would appear that the above concept is correct. More bikers = less accidents.