Devon is bringing bikers out of the blind spot!
Motorcycling is as popular as ever whether they are used for recreational, social or commuting purposes. Despite making up such a small percentage of the overall traffic in Devon the increasing numbers of bike sales locally and throughout the UK is clear evidence that biking is back - and with it there is considerable potential for all road users to benefit. These include:
- Bikes take up less road space so can help reduce congestion
- They can run cleaner than other powered modes of transport
- They use less fuel
- They cause less wear and tear on the road surface
- They are cost effective and make powered, independent transport accessible to many who would otherwise need to rely on public transport. The Wheels To Work initiatives in Devon are an excellent example of how bikes can benefit people living in our rural communities.
These benefits mean that Devon County Council is keen to promote the safe and sensible use of motorcycles.
Unfortunately, motorcyclists are among the most serious casualties on our roads. In common with many other UK local authorities Devon is experiencing a disproportionately high number of motorcycle casualties. Motorcyclists represent approximately 1-2% of Devon’s traffic but 25% of fatal casualties in the County.
So what is Devon County Council doing to promote improved conditions for bikers?
If biking in Devon is going to be able to realise its potential then the issue of rider safety and casualty numbers must be addressed.
Devon’s motorcycle work has been designed to progress locally each of the 4 key motorcycle safety aims outlined in ‘’Tomorrow’s Roads - safer for everyone’’ - the Department for Transport’s National Road Safety Strategy:
- Working with representatives of interested organisations to look at issues of concern.
- Improving training and testing for all learner riders.
- Publishing advice for people returning to motorcycling after a break, and people riding as part of their work.
- Helping drivers become more aware of how vulnerable motorcyclists are.
This work is also working towards the achievement of six objectives for Devon riders:
- Gather further intelligence from motorcyclists regarding their needs, concerns and aspirations as users of Devon’s roads.
- Raise the profile of rider safety amongst drivers and riders alike.
- Research, develop and deliver new training programmes for newly qualified and experienced riders.
- Introduce specialist courses for riders recently involved in crashes.
- Ensure that highway design and maintenance takes full account of the needs of riders.
- Create the right conditions – in educational, engineering and enforcement contexts – for a reduction in rider crashes and casualties.
This is a pro-bike programme - and is based on a fundamental understanding of the environmental, congestion, accessibility and social inclusion benefits to be accrued from this mode of transport -providing that measurable and sustained improvements can be achieved in rider safety.