46% of UK Motorcyclists Have Been Injured While Riding

Research from Brake and Devitt Insurance sheds light on the startling rate at which UK motorcyclists are injured on the road.

Over the past few decades, there’s been a welcome trend toward safety on our roads. Barring the occasional blip (which usually comes about as a result of changing methods of measurement), we’re all less likely to be injured or killed than we were a decade or so. This progress comes in fits and starts: it took a giant leap forward with the introduction of mandatory seat-belts, and a more gradual one with the cultural move away from drink-driving.

One category of road-user, however, remains at risk: the motorcyclist. Motorcyclists including mopeds and scooters are at an increased risk compared to those in cars. Not enjoying the protection of an enclosure, they’re likely suffer much greater trauma in the event of a crash. Moreover, they’re at greater risk of being involved in a crash in the first place.

According to Brake, the road safety charity, a motorcyclist is killed on British roads roughly every hour. Moreover, motorcyclists are sixty-three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than car drivers. This risk is especially pressing on rural roads, where the majority of deaths occur. This is owing to a range of factors, including higher speeds and poor visibility.

According to Brake, the road safety charity, a motorcyclist is killed on British roads roughly every hour.

Devitt Insurance commissioned a survey which demonstrated some of the risks faced by motorcyclists.

When asked whether they had been injured while riding, more than half of respondents replied that they had not. But this was only a narrow majority, at 53%. 35% of respondents claimed to have been ‘slightly’ injured, and 10% claimed to have been ‘seriously’ injured.

341 people of the 2,873 surveyed claimed to have been seriously injured once. 82 people had been seriously injured twice, 17 had been seriously injured three times, and just 8 had been seriously injured more often than that.

We find a similar downward trend when it comes to slight injuries, going from 683 respondents being injured once to just 98 being injured four times or more. We should say that many of the people who’d been seriously injured wouldn’t fall into this category, and vice versa. Thus the ‘no injury’ category is slightly more generous than it might otherwise have been.

Another interesting question concerns the types of crash. The most often-cited type of crash involved another vehicle, at 31% of respondents. But there are other instigators: hazards on the road, and adverse weather conditions, weigh in at 16% and 10% respectively; pedestrians and cyclists are even further behind at 2 and 0.6%.

35% of respondents claimed to have been ‘slightly’ injured, and 10% claimed to have been ‘seriously’ injured.

Motorcyclists tend to socialise with other motorcyclists. Therefore, we can glean an impression of the picture by asking about their experience in the motorcycling community. The survey asked respondents to consider the most serious incident they knew of in which the motorcyclist was injured. Around a third responded that the victim died.

Perhaps most interesting, and actionable, among the survey’s findings was the fact that most motorcyclists feel vulnerable when riding on urban roads. 60% of respondents claimed this, compared with just 14% and 13% for rural roads and motorways. Given how dangerous a rural road is, statistically speaking, this is an attitude that bears further scrutiny.

Tom Warsop, Devitt’s head of marketing, said:

Motorcycling is an enjoyable and sociable activity, which can help alleviate congestion on our roads, but it does come with the associated risk of being a vulnerable road user. Motorcyclists make up the largest proportion of road crash admissions to A&E.”

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