Life on bikes

Roads to be made safer for bikers

At long last, calls from bikers have cut-through and Highways England is finally joining with a number of other agencies to ensure a framework for safer roads for motorcycles is put in place.

The catchily-titled whitepaper, ‘Realising the Motorcycling Opportunity: A Motorcycle Safety and Transport Policy Framework’ has been released by the Agency, along with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA).

On a new website,, seven ‘themes’ cover a range of subjects from Safer Infrastructure to Unlocking the Benefits of Motorcycling.

Stated aims in the Framework include:

·       Using rider friendly barriers and road surfaces
·       Repositioning pillars
·       Removing unnecessary signage
·       Using non-slip manhole covers
·       Prompt clear up of diesel.

Karen Cole, Director of Safety and Training, for the MCIA says working in partnership with HE and NPCC could produce the breakthrough that motorcycle safety deserves:

“For too long, motorcyclists have been at the bottom of the pecking order in terms of priority for traffic management and road planners.  Often ‘safety advice’ is a thinly veiled attempt to keep people off motorbikes and scooters, rather than a genuine attempt to reduce their vulnerability.  It is important to recognise the transport choice of riders and address their needs appropriately.  Ignoring motorcyclists increases their vulnerability.”

The end of the road for the Armadillo?

Hopefully, the Framework will lead to the banning of Orca and Armadillo humps that are being used across the country to separate cycle lanes from other road users.

Armadillo road safety measure
The Armadillo. A great idea. Until your front wheel hits one.

The Motorcycle Action Group has long-campaigned for their removal. “Any powered two wheeler forced into a collision with an armadillo will at best be thrown to the ground and at worst killed by forcing them into collision with another motor vehicle.”

Luckily, some councils, like Bristol, have already decided not to use them.

More bikes on the road

One of the themes is ‘Motorcycles as a practical solution.’ It seeks to turnaround the current perception that motorcycles are a problem during transport planning.

The Framework states: ‘Motorcycling offers the flexible personal transport that is missing within the current policy paradigm. Additionally, if commuter motorcycles are included with bicycles, e-bikes and ePTWs as part of a ‘two-wheeled paradigm’ an opportunity exists to offer the car using public an exciting, flexible and versatile 0-30 mile commuter option (bicycle to e-bike to ePTW to small motorcycle etc). The benefits in terms of opportunities to develop complementary safety policies are clear.”

Tempting more car users from four wheels to two has a number of benefits, from easing congestion to reducing harmful emissions. And of course, once more drivers become bikers themselves, attitudes towards biker safety in areas like awareness of motorbikes in mirrors and giving us more room on the road should improve significantly.

Get yourself sorted:

Visit the Framework here.

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B&B Staff

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