Articles Tagged ‘motorcycling - Brake the road safety charity’

Advice for motorcyclists

motorbikeMotorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users and are disproportionately involved in crashes and casualties. Despite making up less than 1% of road traffic they account for 18% of deaths in collisions, and are 38 times more likely to die in a crash than drivers or passengers in cars.[i],[ii] Those new to or returning to motorcycling need to be especially aware of the risks, and understand how these can be seriously reduced by getting the right training and wearing full protective clothing.

To help keep yourself and others safe on the roads, read our advice below on:

Wear the right protective gear

Wearing high-quality protective clothing, particularly when fitted with body armour, reduces the risk and severity of crash-related injury and hospitalisation.[iii] Before buying protective gear, check out the latest reviews, and buy the best that you can afford from a dealer you can trust.

Helmet

Helmets save lives, prevent or reduce the severity of brain and facial injuries, and protect your eyes from wind, dust, insects or flying gravel. Riders who do not wear helmets face a 40% higher risk of fatal injury and a 15% higher chance of other injuries including life-changing brain damage.[iv] For general advice on motorbike helmets, visors and goggles, see this Department for Transport information sheet.

Buy a full-face (not open-face) helmet with strong chin pieces and energy-absorbing liners to offer the most protection to your face and neck as well as head. Your helmet should meet the British Standard BS 6658:1985 standard and carry the BSI kitemark; or it should meet UNECE Regulation 22-05 – there should be stickers indicating this. Choose one that is brightly coloured and easily visible, with a clear non-tinted visor.

The Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP) has tested hundreds of helmet models, rating each one according to how much protection it offers. You can use their website to find a helmet within your budget that meets high safety standards.

Do not buy a second-hand helmet. Buy your helmet from a reputable dealer, and make sure you try it on beforehand. A properly-fitting helmet is essential and dramatically increases your chances of surviving a crash.[v] The SHARP programme also offers life-saving guidance on choosing the best helmet fit.

If you drop your helmet, replace it immediately even if it looks ok.

Clothing

Gloves

Protective clothing helps save your skin and helps keep you warm and dry every time you ride. More than a third of motorcyclists admitted to hospital suffer serious injuries to their arms or legs, and one in 20 later die from the injuries they sustained.[vi] Clothing should:

  • be made of good-quality leather, or a high-performance textile alternative, with good-quality seams and as few seams as possible. Ask your retailer for details of which safety standards they meet before buying, and whether the safety rating applies to the whole garment or just the body armour;
  • be fitted with body armour on the back, shoulders, elbows, knees and shins;
  • fit properly; it should be snug but with enough room for layers of warm clothing underneath and so your movement is not restricted; and
  • be fluorescent during the day and reflective at night to help other drivers spot you.

Make sure you combine your protective suit with strong, flexible, waterproof gloves and biker boots, made either of leather or a high-performance textile alternative, to offer you the best protection if you come off your bike. Gloves should cover high enough up your arms that they do not come off in a crash. Both gloves and boots should fit comfortably and snugly, allowing you to grip the handlebars properly and operate the controls easily.

For further information on protective clothing, see:
Essential Guide to Protective Gear for Bikers (Think!)
Motorcycle Clothing Advice (Begin Motorcycling)

Safer riding

Speed

The faster you go, the less time you have to react to and avoid hazards and people, and the harder you will hit in the event of a crash. Motorbikes don’t have air bags or side-impact bars, so if you are involved in a collision, you’re exposed to the full force of impact. By staying well within speed limits, and slowing down further for riskier situations and conditions, you will have more time to react.

Stopping distances for motorbikes

Average stopping distances for motorbikes from the moment you realise you need to brake to the moment you stop are:

At 30mph – 23 metres (75 feet)
At 50mph – 53 metres (175 feet, or more than twice as far)
At 70mph – 96 metres (315 feet, or than four times as far)[vii]

Stay well within the speed limit at all times and maintain a two-second gap (four in the wet, much more in icy conditions) between you and the vehicle in front; it’s your braking space in a crisis.

More than two-thirds of motorcyclist deaths occur in rural areas.[viii] Even if you’re an experienced motorcyclist and know the road well, ride at a speed that would enable you to stop within the stretch of road you can see, slow right down for bends, and hang back and enjoy the ride rather than overtaking. People live, drive, walk, cycle and ride horses in the country, so don’t be tempted to think the road’s all yours. Presume that someone or something is round every bend and over every brow and slow down appropriately.

Like motorcyclists, people on foot or on bicycle are vulnerable road users. Help to protect them by going at 20mph or below in towns and villages.

Defensive riding techniques

In Europe, 69% of reported crashes involving motorbikes were found to have been at least partially caused by other road users not seeing the rider.[ix] Make sure you practise defensive riding techniques to safeguard yourself as much as possible against other drivers’ inattention. If you are a car driver, looking out for cyclists and motorcyclists, especially at junctions, will help reduce needless deaths and injuries.

63360979531906711008 Raider 1st Ride 1Defensive riding techniques

  • slow down: give yourself time to react
  • make yourself visible
  • position yourself on the safest part of the road (this will vary depending on the circumstances)
  • look out over the handlebars and ‘read’ the road and its traffic far ahead
  • check mirrors and other views frequently
  • take a ‘lifesaver’ or ‘shoulder check’ glance behind you before carrying out a manoeuvre
  • stay alert to everything that is going on around you
  • try to make eye contact with other drivers, but don’t presume that they have seen you
  • stay vigilant for clues as to what other road users might do next, but never presume that they will do what they should do.
  • For more tips on defensive riding, see BikeSafe’s Advice Centre.

Hazards

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Listen to weather forecasts before riding, especially in winter. The best way to be safe is to avoid riding altogether in bad conditions. If you get caught out in bad weather, consider stopping overnight somewhere if you have a long way to go. Take breaks at least every two hours to stay alert and focused. You should do this at all times, but it’s especially important in cold weather, when you can become tired much more quickly. You can also become tired quickly if the weather is hot – again, take regular breaks, and make sure that you stay properly hydrated.

Be extra vigilant at junctions. A major killer of motorcyclists is drivers failing to spot them at junctions and pulling out.[x] As you approach a junction, consider shifting your road position slightly, which can help drivers see you approach.

Many motorcycle collisions take place at bends in the road.[xi] Take bends slowly, and adjust your road position depending on whether it is a left or right-hand bend. You can read further advice on cornering on the BikeSafe website. Be particularly vigilant for any suspicious wet-looking patches or long dark lines on a dry road, or rainbow-coloured patches on a wet road – these are an indication of spilled diesel, which can be as lethal as black ice. Never ride close to the central white line on a right-hand bend; if you do, your head will be in the path of any oncoming vehicles.

Bike maintenance

Make sure your motorbike is fit for the road and won’t let you down. Keep your bike clean and carry out simple, regular maintenance checks – spotting a problem with a tyre or brake pad could save your life.

For maintenance tips, see:
Give your bike a health check (Think!)
Basic motorcycle maintenance (MotorCycle Direct)

Read Brake’s detailed advice for drivers on speed, fatigue, bad weather, and other topics, much of which is relevant for motorcyclists too.

Travelling in groups

Riding in groups carries risks; in particular, peer pressure can cause motorcyclists to go faster than they feel comfortable.[xii] In crashes involving people riding in groups, the victim is often a new biker or someone new to the group.

To reduce risks, keep your group size to as few riders as possible, and show the strength of character to ride well within speed limits and slow down further for risky situations and conditions. Use the two second rule to keep your distance from the rider in front; it’s your braking space in a crisis.

Plan a route ahead of time, arranging regular, safe stopping places so that if anyone falls behind they know where to meet. Agree on rules such as not overtaking each other and not speeding. If anyone else breaks the rules, or is driving too fast for the conditions, drop back and don’t feel pressured to keep up.

You might also consider putting more experienced riders at the back of the group, so that they can look out for the less experienced. It also means that newer motorcyclists are less likely to rush to catch up with the rest of the group.

For further advice on travelling in groups safely, visit: Bikesafe.

Carrying passengers

Carrying a passenger affects the handling of a motorbike and the safest option is to not carry passengers at all. You can only carry a passenger if you have a full motorbike licence and the appropriate insurance, and should only consider doing so if you are a skilled, experienced rider.

If you do carry a pillion passenger, you should:300px Motorcycle.riders.arp

  • Only carry a passenger if your motorbike is designed to carry two people – by law, it needs to have suitable seat and foot supports for the pillion passenger;
  • Make sure the total weight on the bike does not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended maximum. You may also have to make minor adjustments to parts of your bike such as headlight direction, tyre pressure, suspension or chain – check your bike’s handbook;
  • Make sure your passenger is wearing a helmet and full, properly-fitting protective clothing;
  • Tell your passenger what they should do while on the bike; sit still, lean with the bike, keep feet on the foot rests; and
  • Remember that carrying a passenger will lengthen your braking distance, slow acceleration, make steering lighter, and affect cornering and balance.

Carrying children on motorbikes

Motorbikes are inherently much, much riskier than other modes of transport, and children are particularly vulnerable to serious injury or death in a crash.[xiii]

If you are making a long journey, then the safest way to transport children is by train or bus. If you are making a short journey, the best way is on foot, holding your child’s hand.

If you are determined to carry a child on a motorbike (legally, parental permission is required, and the child needs to be able to reach the footrests), then ensure they wear the highest standard of protective clothing, including boots, gloves, trousers, jacket and helmet, all of which must fit them exactly. But remember that no amount of protective gear will protect you or your child in many kinds of crashes.

For more advice on carrying a passenger visit:
UK law on carrying a passenger
Pillion Passenger Questions (Begin Motorcycling) 
Tips for drivers and passengers (The Lazy Motorbike)

Train up and be a better rider

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Inexperience can leave younger riders at much higher risk of death or serious injury. In 2016, more than 1,000 riders aged 20-24 were killed or seriously hurt in collisions in Britain, far more than any other age group.[xiv] At this age, young people are at a critical stage of brain development, which can lead to more impulsive and risk-taking behaviour. To reduce the risk of a crash, consider gaining more experience on bikes with smaller engines before progressing to more powerful ones, or taking additional post-test training such as the Government’s enhanced rider scheme.

Whatever your age and experience, extra training can improve your safety. An advanced training course can help improve your skills, whether you have just passed your test, are returning to riding after a break, are considering buying a more powerful bike, or want to become a safer, smoother, more skilful rider.

One-to-one tuition is preferable, so that all the advice is aimed specifically at you. The Motor Cycle Industry Association recommends the ratio should be no more than two to one. Ensure the course you choose includes an assessment of your riding, to help you identify areas for improvement.

If you ride for work purposes, ask your employer if they’ll pay for a course; they have a responsibility to ensure you are safe on the road.

Some local authorities also offer riding assessments or subsidised courses – check with your local road safety officer, or see the BikeSafe website, which is particularly useful if you are returning to biking. The Motorcycle Industry Accreditation Centre (MCIAC) is also a useful resource to find your nearest MCIAC-accredited training school.

References

[1] Department for Transport (2017), Reported road casualties Great Britain 2016

[2] Think, Advice for motorcyclists, http://think.direct.gov.uk/motorcycles.html

[3]  De Rome, L. et al (2011), Motorcycle protective clothing: Protection from injury or just the weather? Accident; Analysis and Prevention 43(6), 1893-1900

[4] IIHSHLDI (2016), Head injuries rise as riders ditch helmets in Michigan, Status report 51(7), 5

[5] Wen-Yu, Y. et al (2011), Effectiveness of different types of motorcycle helmets and effects of their improper use on head injuries, International Journal of Epidemiology 40(3), 794-803

[6] Brake (2017), Road collisions responsible for 1 in 5 trauma admissions to hospitals, http://roadsafetyweek.org.uk/new/638-trauma-admissions

[7] Begin Motorcycling, https://begin-motorcycling.co.uk/

[8] Department for Transport (2017), Reported road casualties Great Britain 2016, table ras40004

[9] MAIDS: Motorcycle Accidents In-depth Study (2009), In-depth investigations of accidents involving powered two wheelers final report 2.0, http://www.maids-study.eu/pdf/MAIDS2.pdf

[10] Crundall D. et al (2012), Why do car drivers fail to give way to motorcyclists at T-junctions? Accident; Analysis and Prevention 44(1), 88-96

[11] Department for Transport (2017), Reported road casualties Great Britain 2016, table ras20008

[12] Watson, B. et al (2007), Psychological and social factors influencing motorcycle rider intentions and behaviour, https://eprints.qut.edu.au/9103/1/road_rgr_200704.pdf

[13] Department for Transport (2017), Reported road casualties Great Britain 2016

[14] Department for Transport (2017), Reported road casualties Great Britain 2016, table ras30073



 

Updated December 2018

Brake comments as Britain’s road safety record stagnates

News from Brake
Thursday 27 September
 
Improvement in Britain’s road safety has stagnated, with the number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads increasing marginally from 2016 - 2017, according to Government statistics published today [1].
 
Figures from the Department for Transport show that 1,793 people were killed in collisions last year,  the highest annual total since 2011 but with just one additional road death on 2016.
 
A total of 24,831 people were seriously injured last year - a rise of three per cent (from 24,101 in 2016), which has been attributed by the Government at least in part due to changes in the way many police forces now report collision data [1].
 
The figures also reveal that motorcyclists now make up 19% of all road deaths in Britain, up 9% on 2016 to 349 deaths, and pedestrian fatalities increased by 5% to 470.
 
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
 
Today’s figures highlight the shocking lack of progress on road safety improvement in Britain. This stagnation must be arrested and yet the Government sits on its hands and rejects the introduction of policies which are proven to save lives - for the individuals, families and whole communities devastated by road crashes, this is simply not good enough.”
 
“Our most vulnerable road users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, remain at dangerously high risk on our roads, paying the price for the dominance of the motor car in our lives. Pedestrian deaths increased to their highest level this decade whilst motorcyclists now account for nearly a fifth of all road deaths, despite their small numbers. The Government must invest in active travel to give people safe and healthy ways to get around and focus on improving the safety of our roads – starting with lower speed limits.”
 
“Our laws are only as strong as their enforcement and roads policing is fundamental to improving UK road safety. Shockingly, the number of traffic officers fell 24% from 2012-2017 and the stagnation in road safety performance shadows this trend. We urge the Government to make roads policing a national investment priority, with a visible police presence catching and deterring illegal driving and cameras preventing the scourge of speeding.”
 
“Casualty reduction targets are a proven catalyst for road safety improvement and yet, since 2010, the UK Government has rejected this approach. With the UK’s deterioration in road safety showing no signs of abating, we urge the introduction of national road casualty reduction targets as a priority. The Government must have its feet held to the fire on road safety.”
 
[ENDS]
 
 
Notes to editors:
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Marina Catovsky - a very special person

Marina CatovskyMarina Catovsky PgDL, MA Hons, BVC,24th August 1963 – 2nd June 2011

Marina died suddenly and tragically on 2nd of June 2011. She was killed by a motorcyclist while crossing the road.  She was only 47. Marina was born in Argentina and came to England at the age of four. She went to Notting Hill and Ealing High School until 1981 and then went to Oxford. She read PPE at Hertford College and her tutor was Baroness Warnock whom she admired and respected greatly.

After graduating from Oxford she worked as a psychotherapist, both with adults and adolescents, in a variety of different settings, including the NHS, the voluntary sector and private practice. She undertook work with individuals and groups and was accredited with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy.

In 2001 she decided to become a lawyer and was a Middle Temple Benefactors’ Scholar in 2002 and was called to the Bar in 2003.

In the last year of her life she lectured in advocacy at Kaplan College of Law in London, where she was extremely popular with the students. Kaplan College has now established a scholarship on her name for underprivileged law students.

Marina was gregarious and generous; the latter was reflected by the fact that she saved four lives through organ donation.

She had many interests in life in addition to her successful career, including dancing, music and travelling. She was also fluent in Spanish. Marina had many friends from all walks of life, many of which attended the funeral at Putney Vale. A number of her friends sent us cards and letters and posted tributes in The Times obituary page. 

Organisations representing road users

You may wish to contact an organisation representing a type of road user.

 

Cycling organisations:

Cycling UK

Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, GU2 9JX

T:01483 238301            E: cycling@cyclinguk.org            W: http://www.cyclinguk.org

 

Sustrans (developing paths for walkers and cyclists and Safe Routes to Schools)

National Cycle Network, 2 Cathedral Square, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5DD

T: 0117 926 8893            E: reception@sustrans.org.uk            W: www.sustrans.org.uk

 

Motorcycling organisations:

British Motorcyclists Federation

T: 0116 279 5112            E: enquiries@bmf.co.uk            W: www.bmf.co.uk

3 Oswin Road, Brailsford Industrial Estate, Braunstone, Leicester, LE3 1HR

Motorcycle Action Group

T: 01926 844064            E: central-office@mag-uk.org            W: www.mag-uk.org

PO Box 750, Warwick, CV34 9FU

 

Pedestrian organisations:

Living Streets

T: 020 7377 4900            E: info@livingstreets.org.uk            W: www.livingstreets.org.uk

4th Floor, Universal House, 88-94 Wentworth Street, E1 7SA

 

Commercial vehicle operator groups:

Freight Transport Association

T:03717 112 222            W: www.fta.co.uk

Hermes House, St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9UZ

Road Haulage Association

Helpline:01932 841 515            W: www.rha.net

The Old Forge, South Road, Weybridge, HT13 9DZ, Surrey

 

Motorist groups:

ETA (Environment Transport Association)

T: 0333 000 1234            W: www.eta.co.uk

68 High Street, Weybridge, KT13 8RS

Green Flag                                              

Promotes road safety and produces road safety research in partnership with Brake.

T: 0345 246 1558            E: member-queries@greenflag.com            W: www.greenflag.com

The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds, LS1 4AZ

Institute of Advanced Motorists

T: 0845 126 8600            W: www.iam.org.uk

RAC Foundation of Motoring

T:0300 303 1134            W: www.racfoundation.org

89-91 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5HS

 

Your Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB)

If you need any other contacts your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau may be able to help. It can provide access to free, impartial and confidential advice, including on financial and legal matters. For your nearest CAB, you can look in your phone book or search the CAB website’s online list of its offices on www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Quad bikes and mini-motos

It is legal for children under 16 to ride miniature motorcycles (mini-motos), miniature quad bikes and scooters on private property [1]. However, these vehicles are fast (capable of travelling at speeds up to 60mph (97km/h)), powerful and difficult to control. They are therefore inappropriate and unsafe for children.

Brake strongly advises against children being put in control of these vehicles in any circumstances. Children should also not be carried as passengers: many of these vehicles are not designed to carry passengers at all, and even those that can become harder to control with a passenger on board [2].

Quad bikes

Quad bikes are four-wheeled all-terrain vehicles with handlebars supporting the controls and a saddle similar to those on motorcycles. Engine sizes vary from 50cc up to 650cc. Quad bikes can be easily overturned if not controlled properly when going uphill or downhill, crossing obstacles or cornering: these manoeuvres require specific precautions and techniques [3]. They are usually not designed to carry passengers: doing so can unbalance the machine and make it more difficult for the rider to handle [4].

Quad bikes are designed for off-road use and most do not conform to road regulations, making it illegal to drive them on the road. Some do meet the legal requirements to be driven on roads, but only if the rider holds an appropriate licence, is wearing a helmet and proper protective gear, has paid road tax and insurance, and is over 17 years old [5].

Miniature motorbikes

Miniature motorbikes (mini-motos) are replicas of full-sized motorbikes, usually 15-18 inches (38-46cm) high. As they are small and light they can change direction very quickly, making them difficult to control. They accelerate quickly and can reach speeds of 45-60mph (72-97km/h) [6].

Mini-motos do not meet the legal requirements to be driven on roads, so may only be ridden on private land such as a closed racing circuit. Riders under 16 need permission of the landowner [7].

The tragedies

There have been several tragic cases, in the UK and overseas, of children being killed or seriously injured while riding quad bikes or mini-motos. Some examples are below.

In July 2014, five year-old Bryan Lappin was killed, and his brother James, seven, was critically injured when a man who had been giving them a ride on his quad bike lost control and crashed into a wall [8].

In December 2009, five year-old Jake Wilson died when he crashed his mini-moto at the grounds of a cattle market in Carmarthen, west Wales. He had won competitions on quad bikes [9].

On Boxing Day 2007, seven year-old Lizzie Cooke was riding the quad bike she’d received as a Christmas present on a road near her house when she was hit by a driver coming the other way. She died in hospital a few hours later [10].

Brake recommendations

To prevent further tragedies, Brake recommends a law banning children from riding mini-motorbikes or trail bikes, and a law restricting quad bike use to older children on certified tracks. In the meantime, Brake urges parents to put their children’s safety first and prevent them from risking their lives on miniature powered vehicles.

Learn more and take action:

[1] Road safety: mini motos, Thames Valley Police, 2014

[2] Opinion Relating to the Safety of Quad Bikes, Commission of Consumer Safety, 2000

[3] Opinion Relating to the Safety of Quad Bikes, Commission of Consumer Safety, 2000

[4] Opinion Relating to the Safety of Quad Bikes, Commission of Consumer Safety, 2000

[5] Quad bikes: the rules, Department for Transport, 2014

[6] FAQ, Midsouth Mini Moto, 2009

[7] Mini motos, Thames Valley Police, undated

[8] Five-year-old killed in quad bike crash in Portugal, ITV, 2 July 2014

[9] Boy, 5, killed on a motorbike was junior racing champion, The Telegraph, 30 December 2009

[10] Parents of seven-year-old girl who died on quad bike may face charges, Daily Mail, 28 December 2007

Page last updated: October 2014

Speed on country roads

More than half (51%) of fatal crashes in Britain occur on country roads [1]. Per mile travelled, country roads are the most dangerous roads for all kinds of road user [2]:

  • Car occupants are twice as likely to be killed on a country road than an urban road.
  • Motorcyclists are more than twice as likely to be killed on a country road than an urban road.
  • Cyclists are almost three times more likely to be killed on a country road than an urban road.

Rural roads

Speed is a major factor in country road crashes [3]. A study of country single-carriageway roads estimated that a 10% increase in average speed results in a 30% increase in fatal and serious crashes [4]. The most common crash types on country roads are collisions at intersections, head-on collisions and running off the road [5] – these are all related to excessive speed.

While country roads can initially appear empty, they are shared spaces used by vulnerable road users including pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders, as well as slow moving farm vehicles, livestock, wild animals, and large vehicles such as buses and quarry vehicles.

Take action: Support Brake’s Pace for people campaign for slower speeds on country roads, and better walking and cycling routes in rural areas.

Speed limits on country roads

Most country roads in the UK have a 60mph (97km/h) limit. However, due to their use by vulnerable road users and the design and condition of many country roads, 60mph (or anywhere near it) is rarely a safe speed to travel.

Many country roads are narrow, with blind bends, and no pavements or cycle paths. They frequently have pot holes and debris such as fallen branches, and suffer from wet and icy conditions, meaning it takes far longer to stop. These factors mean that if a driver is going too fast they won't be able to react in time to people or hazards to prevent a crash. They also mean that if a driver is going too fast they may lose control and end up in the path of an oncoming vehicle or running off the road.

At 60mph, a driver's stopping distance is 73 metres, or about three tennis courts. This means if a hazard suddenly appears within this distance, as is common on country roads, the driver would have no chance of stopping in time. Speeds under 40mph are far more appropriate for these roads.

Worryingly, a Brake and Digby Brown survey found that one in three drivers (33%) admit driving too fast for safety on country roads, and one in five (19%) admit breaking speed limits on country roads within the past year. Four in 10 (37%) have had a near-miss on country roads, while driving, walking or cycling. However, four in five (80%) think traffic is too fast for safety on some or most country roads, and seven in 10 (72%) support slower speed limits (50, 40 or 30mph) on country roads [6].

Learn more: Read our fact page on speed and stopping distances.

Overtaking

Overtaking on single carriageway roads is one of the most dangerous manoeuvres drivers can perform – and is usually unnecessary. Overtaking is dangerous because is impossible to accurately judge the speed and distance of approaching traffic. This lack of judgement can easily be fatal when travelling at speed on the wrong side of the road. If two vehicles headed towards each other are both travelling at 60mph the gap between decreases by about 60 metres every second.

It is therefore incredibly dangerous to overtake on country roads, where there will rarely be enough straight, visible road ahead to be certain that nothing is coming in the opposite direction. It is also pointless: if you are travelling at 55mph, and you overtake someone doing 50mph, and you have ten miles left of your journey, you’ll only arrive one minute faster than if you’d stayed behind the slower vehicle. However, in reality you wouldn’t even save this much time, as you would still need to slow down for bends, junctions, other traffic, and if entering lower speed limits. Brake advises overtaking should be avoided at all costs.

Learn more: Read our advice for drivers on staying slow and safe.

More information 


[1] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, table RAS30006

[2] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, table RAS30006

[3] Rural roads, Road Safety Observatory, 2013

[4] The Relationship between Speed and Accidents on Rural Single-carriageway Roads, Transport Research Laboratory, 2002

[5] Rural Road Safety: A Literature Review, Scottish Executive Social Research, 2005

[6] Drivers urged: don't treat country roads like racetracks this summer, Brake and Digby Brown, 2014


Page last updated: November 2017

Theme announced for UK road safety week 2018

News from Brake
Monday 14 May 2018
 
Bike Smart is the message at the heart of this year’s Road Safety Week, focusing on the safety of those on two wheels. Taking place between 19 – 25 November and coordinated by Brake, Road Safety Week seeks to raise public awareness over road safety, acting as the driver for positive change on our roads.
 
The number of cyclists in the UK is increasing at a rapid pace, however, those on two wheels are among the most vulnerable UK road users:
 
  • More than a third of people killed or seriously injured on UK roads are those travelling by bike (either bicycle or motorcycle). [1]
  • More than 100 bike riders are injured every day in needless, preventable crashes. [2]
Brake’s week-long campaign will raise awareness about the importance of protecting those on two wheels by focusing on:
  • policy-makers being Bike Smart by implementing a safe systems approach, mandating lifesaving technology and prioritising cycle friendly infrastructure
  • drivers being Bike Smart by looking out for those on two wheels, driving safely and slowly and giving bike riders plenty of space
  • cyclists and motorcyclists being Bike Smart through safe riding behaviours and appropriate training and equipment
Brake’s efforts for Road Safety Week will be supported through working with campaigners, community groups, road safety professionals, companies and schools - who can now register for a free action pack via www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk - and by funding from the Department for Transport.
 
Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Every year Road Safety Week provides a unique opportunity to focus the public, and policy makers’, attention on saving lives on our roads. The numbers of those travelling on two wheels is ever-increasing and yet bike riders remain incredibly vulnerable to death and injury; that is why this year our theme is Bike Smart. From 19 – 25 November we will be shouting about the importance of bike safety and encouraging all across the UK to do the same. Small changes can help save countless lives on our roads and now is the time for us to act to improve bike safety in the UK.”

[ENDS]
 
Notes to Editors:
 
[1] Reported road casualties Great Britain: 2016, Department for Transport, 2017
[2] Reported road casualties Great Britain: 2016, Department for Transport, 2017
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths, serious injuries and pollution occurring on our roads every day. We work to make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake's vision is a world where there are zero road deaths and injuries, and people can get around in ways that are safe, sustainable, healthy and fair. We do this by pushing for legislative change through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
 
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
 Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.
 
Road Safety Week
Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2018 takes place 19-25 November, with support from the Department for Transport.