The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, otherwise known as RoSPA, has produced a report on the safety of motorcycling in the UK. Shedding light on the prevalence of certain types of road accident claim, the report highlights the five most common accidents affecting motorcyclists on British roads, which are discussed below in more detail.
1. Failure to Negotiate Left Hand Bend on Country ‘A Road’
Country roads are inherently dangerous and far more so, perhaps, than busy urban highways, yet most driving courses take students through towns and suburbs. Too little attention is paid to the type of road that causes most accidents. Motorcyclists require certain skills to negotiate country roads safely. If a rider has limited experience on winding, undulating tracks that are often poorly lit and sparsely signposted, they are at a considerably greater risk of experiencing an accident than if they were in more familiar territory. According to RoSPA, their journey through the country would be even more hazardous whenever they attempted to negotiate a left hand bend, which can be misleadingly wide or narrow.
2. Failure to Negotiate Right Hand Bend on Country ‘A Road’
Another problem with country roads is the tendency for some motorists to cross lanes when turning a corner. On left hand bends, motorcyclists are required to lean away from the oncoming traffic, but if the oncoming traffic happens to be a vehicle that has driven wide for some reason (perhaps to take the corner at greater speed or to avoid an obstacle in the road), a motorcyclist might be helpless to avoid a collision.
On right hand bends, motorcyclists are arguably at even greater risk of suffering an accident because they are required to lean into the path of oncoming traffic, which is dangerous for all the same reasons. No motorcyclist should enter a bend or corner on a country road without taking great care. Speed is a particular problem in this scenario and judgement plays a crucial role in avoiding an accident.
3. Collision at Junctions
Junctions are notoriously tricky for all motorists, let alone motorcyclists, whose two-wheeled vehicles can be fast and difficult to spot. Motorists are often eager to leave the junction, especially if they have been required to wait for some time. Unfortunately, opportunities to enter the flow of traffic can be closed quickly by motorcycles. Not all drivers are blessed with patience, foresight and courtesy in abundance. If collisions at junctions are to be prevented, all motorists, including motorcyclists, should learn to give other drivers sufficient space and opportunity to negotiate the junction.
4. Collision Whilst Overtaking
Overtaking is obviously inherently dangerous, requiring a degree of skill and judgement from all concerned. The driver who is being overtaken ought to see and give sufficient space to the passing motorcyclist, who should only attempt to perform such a manoeuvre when conditions are good. The motorcyclist should never attempt to overtake a vehicle on the approach to a bend, junction or lay-by, not least because the driver being overtaken might turn suddenly into their path. Motorcyclists should also refrain from overtaking when approaching a pedestrian crossing or hill, whilst signs and road markings prohibiting overtaking should be observed without exception.
5. Loss of Control
Motorcyclists can lose control of their bikes for all kinds of reasons, but the two most common are shunts and road surface conditions. The former can be avoided by ensuring that sufficient space is left between the vehicle and motorcyclist, whilst road surface conditions tend to worsen because of poor weather, fuel spills, slippery road markings, manhole covers and mud.