RoSPA – 4. The Main Safety Issues


4.1 The high accident and casualty risk of motorcycling has been attributed to a range of factors. The European Experimental Vehicles Committee Report of Motorcycle Safety lists the main problems as:

  • the exposed position of the motorcyclist
  • the difficulty of seeing a motorcycle in traffic
  • difficulty in judging the speed of their approach
  • emergency braking that can tip up the bike in some circumstances

4.2 Mannering and Grodsky suggest five reasons for motorcyclists’ high accident risk:

  • car drivers tend to be inattentive with regard to motorcyclists and tend to expect collisions to take place with other cars
  • the operation of a motorcycle is complex requiring excellent motor skills and physical co-ordination, any impairment from drowsiness to alcohol or medication will have a greater impact on the likelihood of accident involvement
  • many motorcyclists are not properly trained on the intricacies of motorcycle operation
  • motorcycling may attract risk-seeking individuals due to the dangers involved
  • most motorcycles offer advanced performance to cars with better acceleration which may be difficult for the rider to resist

4.3 A TRL report states that two of the most frequent causes of motorcycle accidents are:

  • the failure of other road users to see the motorcycles
  • the incorrect use of motorcycle brakes