MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY ASKS GOVERNMENT TO REFOCUS ROAD SAFETY EXPENDITURE

With Parliament debating road safety issues this week, the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) is calling for a greater focus on educating motorists about the need to be aware of vulnerable road users. The debate is in advance of the publication of a Government Green Paper on young drivers, which is expected soon.

Government road safety figures highlight disturbing accident statistics surrounding young drivers:

•       412 people were killed in accidents involving young car drivers aged 17-24 years, accounting for 22% of all road deaths
•       Nearly a fifth (1,552) of all car occupants killed or seriously injured were young car drivers  aged 17-24 years. (DfT, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain)

The risk of having an accident for drivers of all ages is halved after the first six months of passing a test, which makes the period immediately post-test a crucial time, putting all road users at risk. As such, it makes sense to incorporate a question about vulnerable road users into the driving test, in order to raise awareness of them among new drivers. This could only be beneficial to the safety of all road users and is something the MCI has supported in the recent past.

Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCI said:  “The forthcoming Green Paper on young drivers is an opportune time to make changes which could benefit the safety of young drivers and all other modes of transport at the same time.

“The MCI is also concerned about the balance of road safety expenditure between vulnerable modes of transport. So far this year just £1.275million has been earmarked for motorcycle safety under the ‘Think!’ campaign, compared to £40million committed to safer roads for cycling, announced this month. This despite ministers stating that motorcycle safety is a ‘key priority’ in answer to Parliamentary Questions. The motorcycle industry is therefore calling for a rebalancing of road safety expenditure to invest in reducing motorcycle rider vulnerability. The DfT’s forthcoming Transport Policy Framework also needs to recognise and support motorcycling. This is important, given that an increasing number of people using motorcycles for commuting to work.”

The MCI is also highlighting the fact that research shows repeatedly that certain classes of other road users are often not seen by car drivers, unless they know someone personally who drives a similar vehicle, or have had experience of driving one themselves. The Government should therefore take the opportunity of a review of driver testing to make actual experience of driving a motorcycle a component of a car driving test. This would also benefit cyclists.

KEY POINTS:-

•       According to an Freedom Of Information request to the DfT answered on January 21st. “Motorcycling campaign – a spring campaign targeting motorists encouraging them to look out for motorcyclists. This campaign is planned to run from March to April (2013) ahead of an anticipated increase in motorcycling accidents in the Spring. The campaign cost is planned to be £1,275k with £375k falling to the 2012/13 budget

•       The Chancellor’s 2013 budget imposed further cuts to the DfT budget of 1% for the 2013/14 period. However, on April 4th 2013, Norman Baker, DfT Minister announced a new £40million spend on safer roads for cyclists.

•       Stephen Hammond MP, DfT minster, in response to a written question from Steve Baker MP on April 22nd said: “Reducing the number of motorcyclists killed is a key priority.”

•       The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI) is a trade association representing 90 % of the supply side of the UK motorcycle industry.  It was formed over 100 years ago.

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