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Motorcyclists dying needlessly, says IAM report

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

One in six motorcyclist deaths could result from hitting a crash barrier, and in such collisions a rider is 15 times more likely to be killed than a car occupant, according to new research released today by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists).

'Barriers to change: designing safe roads for motorcyclists' examines why crash barriers are life savers for car drivers but can kill vulnerable motorcyclists. Its findings are particularly critical of crash barrier support posts that can cause injuries five times more severe than in an average motorcycle crash.

IAM Director for research and policy, Neil Greig, said: "Although riders should take responsibility for their own safety, our road authorities must now 'Think Bike' and design crash barriers that give riders protection against the aggressive features that cause devastating injuries.

"France has retro-fitted lower rails to prevent riders hitting support posts at the most vulnerable sites on its road network, leading to rates of return of around 400 per cent. If it can be done in France it must now be done in the UK."

The research panel which produced the report in conjunction with the IAM and the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP) is calling for new guidance on the design and use of 'motorcycle friendly' barriers.

EuroRAP's European Programme Director, Dr Joanne Hill says: "It wouldn't be possible to install 'motorcycle friendly barriers' across a nation's roads overnight. However the new report shows how some countries are already assessing roads by systematic action to ensure that barriers are made safe for motorcyclists in areas of highest risk. The commitment by governments across Europe is needed to fund these high return safety programmes."