Motorcycle Fatalities Up!

iplayer1On Tuesday 20th August 2013 BBC Newsline carried a news item about motorcycle fatalities in Northern Ireland.

Donna Traynor introduced the item with the latest motorcyclist fatality of 32 year old rider Russell Cairns, in a collision with a tractor near Ballymena on Monday 19th August.

She said that, “Bikers are at more risk of death or injury than anyone else on the roads especially during the summer. The rider was the sixth rider to die on Northern Ireland’s roads this year that’s already more that where killed last year.”

Interviewed for the programme, Bill Holden from the PSNI Bikesafe initiative said, “That’s probably due to a number of factors, our weather conditions this year have been significantly better than in previous years, bikers have been out in their droves enjoying the roads enjoying the weather and unfortunately sometimes whenever you pull more motorcycles out onto the road we do end up with more collisions.”

Eunan McConville reporter for News Line commented, “Road fatalities have fallen dramatically in the past ten years and deaths among motorcyclists also fell.  For example in 2007 25 bikers died but over the past few years that figure has been much lower.  In 2011 six bikers and one pillion passenger died, last year four bikers were killed.  Already this year, more motorcyclists have been killed, six in total since January. Motorcyclists are a particularly vulnerable group of road users, statistics for last year show that for time spent on the road bikers are fifty times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than a car driver.”

Bill Holden then said that, “One thing about being on a motorcycle regardless of who is to blame for the collision or crash you as a motorcyclist are always going to come of second best.”

This was followed by the DOEs (Department of the Environment) Road Safety – Motorcyclists Safety advertisement – Who’s Underneath” which stated that, “Half of motorcyclists deaths and serious injuries are due to drivers.”

Eunan McConville concluded, “Adverts like these are designed to encourage safer biking and inform car drivers about the hazards faced by bikers. There are also a number of schemes, some with police input,(referring to the Bikesafe initiative) that allow bikers to improve their skills.  In the past, they have been credited with helping to reduce the number of biking fatalities. The number of deaths may be still relatively low but the pain of families and loved ones is all too real.“

Road Fatality Records

The PSNI publish Daily Fatal Updates which includes Road traffic fatalities.

These show that apart from the six motorcycle fatalities in 2013 to date for other road users there was an increase in all road user fatalities to date compared with the same period last year.

Pedestrians five fatalities  in 2012 compared to six 2013 to date.

Drivers fifteen in 2012 compared to seventeen to date.

Passenger four compared in 2012 to six to date.

Pedal Cyclists zero in 2012 compared to three to date.

However if we look at the Police Recorded Injury Road Traffic Collisions and Casualties Northern Ireland Monthly Report, covering the reporting period 1st January 2013 – 30th June 2013, we can see that there were 2,718 injuries from road traffic collisions recorded by PSNI in that period compared with 2,740 collisions recorded in the same time period in 2012 a slight reduction for 2013 to date.

For motorcyclists,  which includes riders of two-wheeled motor vehicles, motorcycle combinations, scooters and mopeds  the number of police recorded road traffic casualties was 48 for seriously injured compared to 47 for 2013 to date. For slightly injured the number was 48 compared to 99 for 2013 to date, a significant increase.

Pillion riders are also included in these statistics and overall the total of injuries Killed Seriously Injured and Slightly Injured has decreased by two persons.

The PSNI comments, “The information is used widely within the PSNI and by other partner Agencies, to ensure that emerging problems are quickly identified and can be addressed through a combination of approaches including enforcement (PSNI), education (Road Safety through the Dept. of Environment), or by engineering (Roads Service).”

This is an approach we raised at a recent meeting of the Motorcycle Road Safety Forum for this type of approach to look at these emerging statistics.

Unfortunately,  statistics don’t show the personal tragedy behind the figures, so we would like to offer our condolences to Russell Cairns family circle and friends at this time.

Just remember that the road is for sharing and we do need to look out not just for ourselves but for all other road users as well.


PSNI – Road Traffic Statistics – Click Here
Right Too Ride – “Northern Ireland Motorcycle Fatality Report 2012″ – Cick Here

 BBC Newsline Report

 DOE Motorcycle Safety Advert

And maybe the best motorcycle safety advert ever?

Share Button

Speak Your Mind