RoSPA – 6. Other Road User Behaviour

6.1 Most motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle, usually with a car, but large vehicles also feature strongly. Although, there is much motorcyclists can do to avoid such collisions, the behaviour of drivers is equally crucial.

6.2 There are many accidents in which the motorcyclist is using the road responsibly and safely, but is put at risk because a driver fails to do the same. Drivers need to be aware of the characteristics, needs and vulnerability of motorcyclists.

6.3 The Booth report concluded that nearly two-thirds (62%) of motorcycle accidents were primarily caused by the other road users. Half of the accidents were caused by car drivers, and 10% by pedestrians. Two-thirds of motorcycle accidents where the driver was at fault were due to the driver failing to anticipate the action of other traffic.

6.4 As the visible areas of a motorcyclist is smaller than that of other motor vehicles, drivers seem to find it harder to see them. While motorcyclists can help themselves by increasing their conspicuity, it is essential that drivers are aware that motorcyclists may be present on any road, at any time. Given that motorcyclists are more difficult to spot, drivers must be aware of the need to look carefully for them. The slogan “Think Bike” is as relevant today as it ever was.

6.5 A large proportion of motorcycle accidents occur when a vehicle emerges from a junction into the path of the motorcyclist. It is also essential that drivers give motorcyclists sufficient room on the road, especially at junctions.

6.6 When overtaking a motorcyclist, drivers should give the rider the same amount of passing space as if overtaking another four-wheeled motor vehicle. Drivers of large vehicles in particular need to give motorcyclists plenty of room when overtaking them, as two wheelers are easily affected by side wind and the draught created by overtaking vehicles.

6.7 Two wheelers may need to suddenly avoid a pot hole, debris or spillage on the road, and drivers should be prepared for unexpected movements, and keep a safe distance between themselves and motorcyclists.

6.8 Other Road User Behaviour – Conclusion
Further research into the behavioural aspects of drivers in regard to motorcyclists is needed to help develop appropriate counter-measures.