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Be more visible on the road, make biking safer

31/05/2013

Be more visible on the road, make biking saferThere's no doubt there are dangers associated with riding a bike. The statistics on road accidents involving motorcycles do not make for easy reading.

While motorcyclists only make up less than one per cent of total road traffic, they account for 19 per cent of all road user deaths, according to a government report from 2011 entitled Road Casualties Great Britain.

The vast majority of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on the roads in 2011 - some 74 per cent - were involved in collisions with some other vehicle, more often than not a car. More than two thirds - 69 per cent - of those collisions happened at junctions. The report Road Casualties Great Britain: 2011 pointed out that this was often because other road users hadn't looked properly when pulling out.

So, you might be wandering what's the point of highlighting the dangers of motorbike riding if there's nothing you can do about it?

Well, being aware of the risks is probably the first step to making you a better, safer driver.

The government's Think! Campaign suggests that "riding defensively makes you less vulnerable," and that means anticipating how others may react on the road.

Always being alert and observant helps, as does not driving too fast. While it can be exhilarating to rev your engine up and put your foot down, it's dangerous. If you're speeding it will take you longer to stop if something unexpected happens.

You should always be aware that other people might not see you so you should try and make yourself as visible as possible.

The government also advises riders to "take a 'lifesaver' glance over your shoulder before carrying out manoeuvres". That way you can figure out where other motorists are, what they're doing, and assess any potential hazards.

It’s also really important to wear the right gear. Although it might be tempting to ride in your regular clothes, particularly when the weather's hot, it is really important to have appropriate gear. After all, sometimes it's the only protection you have between you and some tough tarmac.

Reflective gear's essential at night and bright or fluorescent is the way to go in the day. It's not just your jacket you need to think about though, you'll need protective gloves, boots, and trousers too.

Last but definitely not least, make sure your helmet's up to scratch - ultimately you'll have a better ride if you know you're going to be safe on the road.