Results from a survey conducted by specialist legal service Motorcycle Law Scotland have challenged the mythical reputation that bikers have for behaving irresponsibly on the roads and revealed that an overwhelming majority of motorcyclists want to see improvements in road safety and training.
The survey also showed that demand for safety initiatives like Bikesafe Scotland, which offer police-accompanied rides to improve riders’ skills, has reached record levels in some areas, prompting solicitor Brenda Mitchell to appeal to the Scottish Government and local authorities to get fully behind the schemes and provide them with better support to grow.
The comments and findings come during Road Safety Week (21st – 27th November). The main findings from the survey of motorcyclists and Freedom of Information requests to police forces across Scotland are:
- 92% of motorcyclists surveyed agreed with the statement “more needs to be done to ensure motorcyclists are safe on the road”.
- Safety on the road is the number one concern for 83% of riders surveyed.
- Demand for advanced training is high. 86% would consider taking an advanced rider course. Demand for police accompanied rides in Fife has reached a record high (98 bikers took the scheme), the numbers taking the scheme in Lothian and Borders has doubled (from 34 to 69) and 2010 and 2011 were the busiest years for Grampian’s scheme (181 for 2010 and 146 in 2011).
- Most police forces receive no extra funding for Bikesafe Scotland, it is met out of existing budgets.
- 92% of those surveyed would prefer a specialist legal service such as Motorcycle Law Scotland to handle their accident claim.
Commenting on the survey’s findings, Brenda Mitchell, lead solicitor for Motorcycle Law Scotland and a keen motorcyclist, said: “This survey really tackles head on the myth that motorcyclists in general are not concerned with road safety. Safety is paramount and from our survey it’s clear that motorcyclists think it is too.
“More needs to be done to ensure that motorcyclists get access to the best possible training. More training will mean a more responsible approach to using our roads and will help to reduce accidents.
“It’s a simple concept that works and initiatives like Bikesafe Scotland and Around the Corner do fantastic work. We need to support and grow these initiatives to have the best chance of reducing accidents on our roads.
“There is a growing demand for post-test training. The Scottish Government and local authorities need to get fully behind these initiatives and lend their support. Even the insurance industry should consider the findings and support incentive schemes by linking insurance premium reduction to advanced rider training.”
Commenting on the fact that 92% of those surveyed would prefer a specialist legal service like Motorcycle Law Scotland to handle their accident claim, Brenda added: “Motorcycle Law Scotland offers a specialist legal service for motorcyclists by motorcyclists. We’re passionate about motorcycling and with expertise in motorcycle accident law, it makes for the provision of a first-class service.
“Understanding motorcycle dynamics and control can make a huge difference to the outcome of a case. Motorcyclists do have different needs and requirements and, as vulnerable road users, deserve the best possible legal representation which can only come from specialisation.”
Inspector John Beresford, head of the motorcycle section at Lothian and Borders Police, said: “Over the years we have seen an increase in popularity of Bikesafe and a very positive response to our 'Around the Corner' campaign.
“Training and better information are a key element to improving road safety. At Lothian and Borders, we try to work with riders as closely as possible to influence and improve attitudes and behaviour.
“I welcome the fact that there is the appetite for a safer riding experience among motorcyclists and that there is growing demand for our very effective initiatives.”
John Macdonald, an advanced motorcycle trainer at ProScot, said: “I am really encouraged that many riders are continuing to show an increased interest in developing their riding skills beyond those gained at L test level.
“There is always a limit to what can be taught at L test level, but from my own experience, post-test training helps to improve a rider's overall ability which in turn reduces their risk of accident and increases their enjoyment of motorcycling. It really is a win-win situation.
“Attitudes to improving skill by undertaking advanced training are changing. Our Cornering Techniques Course has proved very popular in recent years and the feedback we are getting from motorcyclists is very positive. It's obvious: improved skill can lead to a reduction in risk of accident and the reality is the best riders never stop learning.”
Notes to Editors
1. The survey asked a series of questions to motorcyclists across the country relating to road safety and initiatives such as advanced rider training. 196 motorcyclists took part in the survey which was conducted through our website and Facebook over a four week period covering October and November.
2. Bikesafe and the Police Assessed Ride Programme – Bikesafe Scotland is an initiative which aims to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents on our roads by increasing the riding skills of participants. The Police Assessed Ride Programme is part of the Bikesafe Scotland initiative. The scheme is free and open to all who hold a motorcycle licence. The scheme begins with a theory night which the rider must attend before taking an assessed ride. On the assessed ride, a police officer will follow the rider concerned on a set route and after completion will give the rider advice on strong and weak points of their riding and suggest improvements.
3. Motorcycle Law Scotland is a new, innovative and dynamic legal service for motorcyclists by motorcyclists. Motorcycle Law Scotland is a trading style of Scotland’s leading personal injury firm, Thompsons Solicitors.
4. For more information about Motorcycle Law Scotland visit http://www.motorcyclelawscotland.co.uk.