When the summer months arrive, many more motorcycle riders are likely to be seen as they take to the UK roads for cycle club meets and rallies, as well as exploring rural areas. Yet, many motorbike accident claims for injury incidents occur in rural settings, most notably on single track roads and lanes, tight bends, brows of a hill, T- junctions and hidden turnings, etc
If the problem of bike rider visibility to the motorist on urban routes and city centres is bad enough, it is much worse in the country. According to RoSPA, in 2010, nearly 300 motorcyclist deaths occurred on rural roads, more than double the number of deaths in urban areas.
Collision at junctions, crossroads and roundabouts or while overtaking are common, and once again, often the cause is with the motorist who has failed to see a rider in clear view.
The ability for the car driver to “expect to see” a motorcyclist and to actively watch out for their presence is more acute when attempting to negotiate rural road conditions. There is the added factor of reduced light because of high, trees, dense foliage and steep banks.
Inevitably, it falls to the responsibility of the motorcyclist to maximise their visibility and signal their presence. It means wearing high visibility over-clothing, often in contrast to the black leather standard livery. In addition, the Highway Code strongly advises switching on dipped beam headlights.
A number or EU countries, such as France, Germany and Spain have imposed a compulsory Daytime Running Lights (DRL) in a bid to prevent accident and injury by the automatic switching on of dipped beams when the ignition is engaged. As a result, the number of reported accidents is said to have fallen by around ten per cent for bike riders who choose to abide by the system.
With the motorcyclist being forty times more likely than a car driver to actually incur a road accident in just the urban environment, it may not be too soon in the future that the use of daytime running lights may also become compulsory in the UK as new motorbike accident and injury figures are published.
Previously, during 2011, the number of riders reported as seriously injured had risen 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.