Sadly bikers across the country – including the East Midlands – figure too highly among crash statistics.
The SSUP seeks to identify emerging trends in the causes of these crashes. We also carefully monitor crash and casualty statistics – and respond with information and messages to help bikers be aware of the dangers that may lie in wait on our roads.
Helping you stay safe
Riding on two wheels is a great way of getting about and escaping public transport and traffic delays, but with this freedom comes a need to be extra vigilant and aware of the potential risks.
The majority of journeys will be fine - as long as you ride with a heightened awareness of what's happening on the road around you.
Here are some of useful tips:
• Read the road: if traffic is heavy, drivers are more likely to make sudden movements from lane to lane or perform a 'u-turn'. Be aware of this when traffic levels are heavier than normal.
• Ride where you can be seen and you can see: many roadside properties have off road parking, and many roads have vehicles parked along them. These conditions can cause a real blind spot for both drivers and riders - put yourself in a position where you have the best opportunity to see reversing cars, and where they have the best chance to see you!
• Be seen: At SSUP, we believe riders should make the right choice to improve their safety by enhancing their presence when sharing the road network, with many others. The wearing of a hi-vis safety aid could make the difference of being seen or not especially by some drivers who are quick to shout 'SMIDSY'!
• Check your lights: regularly check all your lights and indicators (and reflectors) to make sure they are clean and all working.
Time of day
Riders are at greatest risk of being involved in a collision at around 8.00am, as the morning rush hour reaches its peak. A second spike occurs later in the afternoon, as journeys home from school merge with those made by commuters leaving off at the end of the working day. For these reasons, if you ride to and from work it's vital you keep your wits about you at all times.
Rain, ice and snow test a rider's skills to the maximum, and in these conditions you should lower your speed, use clear and early signalling and be extra vigilant. Keeping a safe distance from other road users is also critical.
While 'filtering' (where motorbikes overtake queuing traffic) is legal, it is fraught with potential dangers.
It is important to remember that filtering is an overtaking movement, albeit at a slow speed. As with all overtaking, it needs to be approached with considerable care. Never filter where the space between traffic lanes is restricted, and never do it at speed: a good rule of thumb is to go no more than 5-10mph faster than the cars stuck in the traffic queue.
Watch carefully for cars switching lanes: drivers in congestion often drive impatiently and cross to another lane if they think it is moving quicker - but they’ll rarely check for bikes while they are doing it.
Finally, remember there are places where filtering is illegal: you cannot pass queuing traffic in a 'no overtaking' zone (eg, solid white lines or after a no overtaking sign) - or on the approach to a crossing, with zigzags.
Top tip: Wise up on the common filtering collision scenarios here.