Early in 2013, the Motorcycle Industry Association (MIA) reported nearly a 9 per cent rise in new registrations for bikes between 51-125cc during the previous 12 months. Rising fuel and public transport prices combined with cost of living cutbacks in the current economic climate has encouraged more individuals to take to two wheel commuting.
It may be too early to gauge the impact of increasing numbers putting on motorcycle helmets and braving UK roads upon motorbike accident claims. According to figures released by the Department for Transport in 2010, over 400 road accident casualties were motorcycle riders.
It has also been estimated that despite accounting for just one per cent of all road user traffic, motorbike riders are up to forty times more likely than car drivers to be involved in an accident with up to one in five receiving a serious or fatal injury. In 2011, the number of riders reported as seriously injured actually increased by 10 per cent to more than five thousand and the total number of all reported motorcycle user casualties was also up by 8 per cent to more than 20,000.
Motorbike riding is, however, appearing to be on a steep rise. One in ten riders bought a new machine in the previous 12 months. According to the MIA, there are now nearly 8 million motorcycle and moped license holders. More than 1.3 million motorcycles are estimated to be on the road, and more than half ( 54 per cent) are used for commuting to work every day. Of the 86 per cent of male riders and 14 per cent of female riders, nearly half ( 46 per cent) are aged 35 to 50, although average mileage is a modest 4,000 miles per year.
As government plans are underway to improve road infrastructure for improving safety for pedal cyclists, it is the motorcar owner that needs to rethink their attitude toward “who owns the roads” and who has “right of way” as the numbers of motorcyclists increase.
It’s worth noting that while the MIA found that nearly 3 per cent of UK households possess a motorcycle, it was also discovered that 8 in 10 of bikers also own a motorcar!