Road Casualties Wales, 2014
The latest police recorded road accident and casualty figures for Wales for 2014 show that, 103 people were killed on Welsh roads last year, a decreased of 7% compared to 2013. However, Partners in Road Safety Wales remain concerned that the slight overall improvement in the casualty figures has been overshadowed by the increase in the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads. (10% higher than the average for 2004-08)*
Susan Storch, Chair of Road Safety Wales said, “Wales welcomes motorcyclists who are naturally drawn to the stunning scenery, winding roads, and motorcycle friendly businesses. However, Partners are concerned about the number who do not make it safely home, whether they are on a day out or riding to and from work.”
The Road Safety Framework for Wales published in 2013 identifies motorcyclists as a high risk group, and road safety professionals remain focussed on meeting the challenging target of a 25% reduction in number of killed and seriously injured motorcyclists by 2020.** Clearly much remains to be done.
In addition to funding road improvements, education and training that will benefit motorcycle safety; Welsh Government’s commitment to reducing motorcycle casualties has led to the funding of an open competition to develop an effective intervention or technological feature that provides demonstrable improvements in the safety of motorcyclists, either by reducing the likelihood of a collision occurring, or by lessening the impact of a collision. It is hoped that an innovative approach will have a positive impact on the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured.
Of course, road safety is the responsibility of us all, and sharing the road in a responsible and courteous manner will benefit all road users. Motorcyclists are not necessarily at fault for the collisions that they are involved in, but their vulnerability means that they are far more likely to be seriously injured. Therefore, motorcyclists are being asked to always consider whether they are riding appropriately, within the law and for the conditions they find themselves in.
The loss of a motorcyclist has a massive impact on family, friends and colleagues and Susan Storch went on to encourage people to take advantage of the varied opportunities available to help improve knowledge and skills. “Even the most experienced can pick up bad habits, which is why Partners throughout Wales offer a range of initiatives, held over the course of the year, to assess, train and educate motorcyclists. From free first aid courses to subsidised places on national schemes, much of this activity is made possible through funding from the Welsh Government, and is available to a whole range of motorcyclists from scooter riders to commuters and leisure riders. Families can play their part by bringing these opportunities to the attention of their loved ones.”