Motorcycling

Take longer to look for bikes

Injuries to motorcyclists are out of proportion to their presence on our roads. Motorcyclists are just 1% of total road traffic, but account for 19% of all road user deaths.

Be a better biker

  • We know you love riding. The freedom of the open road makes motorcycling an exhilarating way to travel.
  • But accidents involving motorcyclists are out of proportion to the miles travelled by bike. We want to help keep you safe by reminding you of safe riding behaviours.
  • Research shows that cornering, overtaking, speeding and fatigue are the most common factors involved in motorcycling accidents. To help reduce casualties and fatalities among riders, Highways England has developed a campaign targeting these four behaviours. Below is some advice to help you stay safe on the road.

Cornering techniques

  • Get into the right POSITION as early as is safe to do so. Use your position to see and be seen.
  • Get the SPEED right. If you need to, slow the bike down, consider coming off the throttle and/or braking. Use both brakes as it keeps the bike more stable.
  • Select the correct GEAR for the road speed.
  • Look through the bend and look for additional hazards such as nearside debris, vehicles emerging or in front.
  • As you see the bend emerging, apply the right amount of acceleration to leave the bend safely.

Advice: Read the road ahead – drive at a speed that leaves you enough time to react round a corner.

Overtaking techniques

  • Can you overtake safely and without speeding? If not, don’t do it.
  • Look out for road marking like solid white lines to.
  • Look ahead and make sure that you can pass without causing unnecessary inconvenience to other people on the road.
  • Before overtaking, make sure you can get back to your side of the road in plenty of time. Take into account the speed you’re travelling, the speed of the vehicle about to be overtaken and the speed of any oncoming vehicles too.

Advice: Unless it is 100% safe, don’t overtake.

Take regular breaks


  • Motorcycling can be a strenuous activity, not only physically but mentally – the concentration required to stay safe on the road can be tiring. Fatigue is one of the four main causes of fatal accidents and it is possible to fall asleep on a motorcycle.
  • Fatigue doesn't just happen. It usually starts off with a lack of attention and fidgeting on the bike. It can then lead to extended periods of poor concentration and decision making which can have dangerous consequences when you're riding at speed.
  • Taking regular breaks:
    • helps you regain your concentration levels by engaging the brain in a different activity
    • allows the blood to recirculate (which may have slowed during longer periods of riding) and re-oxygenate the system
    • gives you a chance to re-hydrate – you may not think it, but riding uses up a lot of the body’s fluids
    • gives you a chance to stretch your legs which can help to prevent muscle fatigue

Advice: Take short breaks regularly. Get off the bike, walk around and have a drink. If you’re very tired consider taking a nap. Make sure you pull over somewhere safe and never rest on the hard shoulder of a motorway.

The facts

  • Motorcyclists are roughly 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants, per mile ridden
  • In 2013, 331 motorcyclists died and 4,866 were seriously injured in road collisions in Great Britain.
  • Motorcyclist KSIs have fallen since 2008 when 493 motorcyclists were killed and 5,556 were seriously injured on Britain's roads.

THINK! advice for motorcyclists

The following tips will help keep you and other road users safe.

Riding defensively makes you less vulnerable
Make sure you:

  • anticipate the actions of others
  • are alert and observant
  • can slow down and stop if the unexpected happens
  • position yourself in the safest and best place to maximise your visibility of potential hazards
  • take a 'lifesaver' glance over your shoulder before carrying out manoeuvres, so you know where others are and what they’re doing

Consider further skills training to improve your performance and safety on the road

Find out more about training

Wear the right gear
Fall off your bike and tarmac will shred through your jeans in seconds. Wearing the right gear is just as important to your safety as servicing your motorcycle and knowing how to ride it.

  • Wear bright or florescent gear during the day and reflective gear at night
  • Bikers must wear a protective jacket, gloves, boots and trousers

Essential guide to protective gear for bikers [PDF - 421 KB]Opens new window

Choosing the right helmet could help save your life
The SHARP rating system helps you understand how much protection a helmet offers in a crash.

Visit the SHARP website Opens new window

THINK! advice for drivers


Here are a few simple ways of avoiding crashes with motorcyclists:

THINK! take longer to look for bikes:
Look carefully for motorbikes when you pull out at a junction. If you're approaching a junction, look out for motorcyclists pulling out too.

Keep your distance
Driving too close can intimidate a less experienced motorcyclist.

Check for bikes when changing lanes
A motorcyclist may be in the space you want to move into, or moving into it fast. Remember your blind spot.

Check for bikes when turning
Parked cars or large vehicles can obstruct your view of a motorcyclist.

Motorcyclists might pass you on either side
Double-check for motorcyclists, whether you're turning left or right.

Park safely
Check for motorcyclists before opening your car door - and ensure that your passengers do the same. When you pull away, remember to look specifically for motorcyclists as they can accelerate faster than cars.


BE A BETTER BIKER

WATCH: How to 'Be a Better Biker' by Highways England

DOWNLOAD: Highways England 'Be a Better Biker' campaign posters here.

Watch never too good video

WATCH: The 'Never too good' campaign encourages motorcyclists to undertake further training.

READ: about life on a bike

LISTEN: to THINK BIKER ads

DOWNLOAD:

Stay in control
STAY IN CONTROL
This campaign for motorcyclists offers essential riding tips
Training

Visit Think! Facebook page


Join the THINK BIKE THINK BIKER facebook pageOpens new window

Watch nemed rider video

WATCH: The THINK BIKE THINK BIKER TV advert encourages drivers to look out for motorcyclists.

DOWNLOAD:

Bike maintenance advice:

THINK! Education

THINK! Resource Centre

THINK! road safety education resources organised into lesson packs by age and key stage: