Think Once, Think Twice, Think Bike! Take two!
Injuries to motorcyclists are out of proportion to their presence on our roads. Motorcyclists are just 1% of total road traffic, but account for 19% of all road user deaths - Stephen Hammond, MP
This is a shocking statistic but unfortunately Digby Brown knows all too well how true this statement is. However, the Government have now kick started their new THINK! campaign urging motorists to take longer to look for bikes. All too often we are told “the bike came out of nowhere!” Our response to this is that bikes are there to be seen, and it is impossible for a motorcycle to simply appear without coming from somewhere. The latest THINK! campaign launched by road safety minister Stephen Hammond appears to be backing this approach.
The new initiative has come after a series of shocking statistics has been released. One particularly shocking statistic is that on average 30 motorcyclists are killed or injured everyday at junctions. More often than not, this is caused by drivers not carrying out the correct checks before commencing their manoeuvres.
The campaign has been launched to coincide with increased numbers of motorcyclists’ returning to the roads now Spring is upon us. The new campaign, including TV adverts, is aiming to remind drivers that motorcyclists’ are people with lives, friends and families. It has been commented this is a different, softer take on campaigns we have seen before such as “Think Once, Think Twice, Think Bike!” from the 1970’s. Whether it is softer or not, let us hope it prompts drivers to be more aware of the presence of motorbikes, not simply at junctions but at all times.
We are all aware of the Rules for Motorcyclists’ in The Highway Code, yet there are simply general rules for drivers. The new government campaign appears to combat this by offering further advice to drivers. The advice includes:
- Take longer to look for bikes – often driver’s will pull out of a junction or change lanes without fully ensuring the road is clear to commence their manoeuvre
- Keep your distance – especially if the rider has “L” plates – driving too close may intimidate an inexperienced rider
- Motorcyclists may pass you on either side – this is a legal manoeuvre commenced by riders known as filtering - double-check for motorcyclists, whether you're turning left or right
- Park Safely – often riders are being knocked off bikes by people opening their car doors – just as they check for other cars or pedestrians, they should also be aware of motorbikes (and cyclists)
Although this campaign is predominantly aimed at car drivers, it is important that riders continue a high level of safety when riding, especially in times where roads are becoming more crowded. When riding, have the following in mind:
- The actions of others – try to anticipate what the driver may or may not do
- Keep alert and observant
- Allow sufficient stopping time should something unexpected happens
- Your positioning – you should position yourself in the safest way possible to maximise your visibility of potential hazards
- Life saver glance – check your blind area before altering course so you know where others are and what they’re doing
As well as being aware of your own riding skills and capabilities, wearing suitable clothing is vital. Wearing high visibility clothing and ensuring the headlight is on can only help enforce that bikers are there to be seen, and dispel the myth that you ‘came out of nowhere’!
For more information about the THINK! campaign visit http://think.direct.gov.uk/motorcycles.html