Road Safety Week

roadtozero2013Yesterday saw the start of Road Safety Week (18-24 November) in Northern Ireland.

Announcing the initiative, last week the Department Of The Environment (DOE) Minister Mark H Durkan, said, “Almost all collisions are the result of human error, so we all need to ensure that our attitudes and our behaviours contribute to road safety in Northern Ireland.”

The minister further stated, “But we need a further behaviour change. This is being driven ahead through my Department’s Road to Zero campaign, which encourages people to feel personally responsible for their own safety and the safety of those with whom they share the road.”

The campaign says, “In Northern Ireland, over 95% of crashes where someone is killed or seriously injured are due to human error, so road deaths are preventable.”

The  Road to Zero campaign urges everyone in Northern Ireland, including all organisations such as the media, government, companies and community groups to make their own personal or organisational Pledge to Share the Road to Zero.

This can be done by visiting the Road To Zero website and simply filling in your details and clicking ‘Pledge Now’.

5 ways to reduce road deaths

The Road To Zero says that follow these 5 rules every time you use the road means you will significantly reduce the risk that you will kill someone.

  1. Follow the rules of The Highway Code for Northern Ireland every time you use the road. The Highway Code could keep you out of prison and save you from killing others or being killed whether you are a driver, a motorcyclist, a cyclist, a pedestrian or any other type of road user. Download The Highway Code FREE today. (PDF, 2.8mb)
  4. Always keep your eyes on the road – ONE LAPSE CAN LAST A LIFETIME!
  5. Always wear your seatbelt, front and rear – NO SEATBELT NO EXCUSE!

Motorcycling Road Safety & Others

policeaccidentBut what of motorcycling and Road Safety?

We start of with a view from out in the real world from a motorcyclist – Charlie Chambers who gives us her own personal view:

“As a motorcyclist I have to contend with on a daily basis, drivers not looking/seeing me, pulling out from junctions into my path, not looking in blind spots or even mirrors before changing lanes/overtaking.

What concerns me more is the general disregard for other road users safety, especially vulnerable ones.

I see on EVERY journey from Bangor to Belfast and back 5 days a week drivers speeding,tailgating,texting,using hand held mobiles, drinking coffee, eating, applying make up, reading – this includes men and women, all ages, R drivers, van drivers, HGV drivers, taxi drivers – I have even seen bus drivers texting!

Recently a driver threw an apple core out of his window, nearly hitting me up the face & I regularly have to dodge lit cigarette butts. If I bring this to the driver’s attention I usually get a one or two fingered salute, they don’t seem to care that their actions could injure or even kill another road user.

I also rarely see a police presence on the roads and when I have reported drivers for using their mobiles nothing was done about it as the drivers always deny it. I have been the victim of someone’s careless driving and do not simply want to become another statistic. The penalty for using a mobile is laughable considering how dangerous it is and 3 points and a £60 fine is clearly not deterring drivers from doing it.

I have taken the Advanced motorcycle test and am currently taking RoSPA training, I feel drivers/riders should be encouraged to take such training after passing their test, as to a lot of drivers the actual skill of driving seems to be lost – they are more concerned with answering texts and phone calls.

Attitudes need to change – clearly the “Respect everyone’s journey” is not sinking in. – Charlie.”

As Charlie points out and which is in tune with what is coming from the DOE campaigns and the DOE minister, is that we need to see behaviour change and changes to attitudes!
Changes which in the main  relate to everyday driving and riding experiences do not appear to be working.

Motorcycle Safety

coastroad2009pic9The “motorcycle community”  is aware of road safety issues, with riders continuing to take the PSNI Bikesafe rider skills assessment or taking post rider training one step further via IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) advanced test or the equivalent via RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders (RoADAR) in an attempt to improve their riding skills.

There is advice and information from campaigns available on the internet freely available from Australian Rider Risk Safety Videos; “Full Control” from the Norsk Motorcykkel Union (NMCU – Norway); the Lucky 13 cartoon series, developed by the European Motorcycle Industry – ACEM and a mutitude of  articles in motorcycle magazines.

Right To Ride has taken a lead in road safety matters, including Ride It Right; the Biker NI Safety Card and First Aid For Riders courses, delivered by the St John Ambulance.

As riders we can take responsibility for our own actions or attitude but we can’t effect that of others – or can we?


Road user fatalities this year to date have increased for all road users except pedestrians which to date are the same as the previous year, that is in cold facts, six pedestrians who have lost their lives.

Motorcycling has seen fatalities to date rise to nine lives lost in 2013 to date, compared to four for the whole of 2012.
Those who have lost their lives are:

George Pinto – 32 year-old – June 2013

Eamon Farrelly – 42 year-old – July 2013

Richard Carson – 40 year-old – July 2013

Ronnie Gillespie – 39 year-old – July 2013

Colum Canavan –  26 year-old – August 2013

Russell Cairns – 32 year-old – August 2013

Aaron Ellis October – 20 year-old – October 2013

Norman Long – 42 year-old –  October 2013

Jim McTier – 46 year-old – November 2013

This does not explain the tragedy of the circumstances that led to these fatalities and any speculation to determine blame would be inappropriate.

There will be a range of events which led up to each fatality which will be picked through by the police report – including the FSNI Collision Investigation team report – Coroners report.

However, sourced from local news reports these fatalities happened at various times of the day and days of the week with six of the fatalities involving other vehicles.

Now, we can only feel sadness for these fellow riders and their family and friends.

With our own experiences of riding and driving we think that there is an attitude or rather that there appears to be no thought given by road users to what they are doing.  In terms of driving cars, the logic seems to be that these vehicles are extensions of peoples’ living rooms with all the apparent facilities such as phones, radio, TV even comfortable chairs and so forth.  Motorcycles are no longer considered a simple means of transport, rather an alternative way of life.

What does not appear to be in discussion is the fact that most people don’t really know how to drive – this is apparent in a collision scenario.  How many of us can put our hands on our hearts and say that we can brake in an emergency?  Maybe this is what we should be discussing – how to get out of a situation – how to avoid a situation.

Being aware – counts for beans.  Doing something to make sure it never happens – now that’s worth gold.

Links & Information

Share The Road To Zero – On Facebook
Sourced: PSNI – Road Traffic Collision Daily Fatal Report

Road User Fatalities*

2011 to date

2012 to date

2013 to date













Pedal Cyclist








Pillion Passenger








*Road User Breakdown to  18 Nov 2013


The FREE PSNI Bikesafe rider skills assessment is the perfect introduction to skills on Hazard Awareness – Defensive Riding Technique – Junction Awareness – Cornering – Overtaking.

The Bikesafe team take riders out on an assessed ride, their assessment is based on professional riding techniques and is designed to enhance the skills of riders who have already passed their test.

Bikesafe NI is a Rider Skills Assessment – not Advanced Training.

That part is up to you!

BikeSafe in Northern Ireland – Click Here

Ride It Right

Ride It Right was set up initially regarding issues of the use by motorcyclists of the  Antrim Coast Road. It was the opinion, that there is a minority of riders whose attitude is to use the coast road as a weekend race track and due to their actions, they may be perceived as the majority.

Although these riders’ actions are what are remembered by the public, residents and other users of the coast road, the majority of motorcyclists are not and should not be identified as “the problem”.

The Ride It Right initiative using the web portal brings together motorcycle safety advice from around the globe and focuses on promoting various aspects of motorcycle safety, from – The Rider – The Routes – Initiatives and Riding Tips.


Biker NI Safety Card

Right To Ride is supporting the motorcycle safety initiative, the Biker NI Safety Card for Northern Ireland.

The CRASH Card scheme, which was created by the committee of the Ambulance Motorcycle Club, has been in use for nearly two years in England, Scotland and Wales. The card is also in use in Sweden and the USA.

The scheme encourages motorcyclists to place a card inside their crash helmet as a medic alert. This card holds valuable information to aid treatment from the ambulance service in case of an accident, the card also has a gives helpful advice if a rider comes across a road traffic collision, helping the emergency services get the right resources to the scene as quickly as possible.

First Aid For Riders

One of the goals of the Ride It Right motorcycle initiative was to introduce First Aid For Riders courses in Northern Ireland.

This goal is now a reality, with the launch of “First Aid For Riders” courses, delivered by the St John Ambulance in Northern Ireland, with elements that are relative for riders

First aid courses for motorcyclists will be beneficial not just for riders but also for other road crash casualties, even if not directly involved in rendering First Aid, but to be able to comfort/reassure conscious casualties and to help in giving confidence to stay calm at a crash scene until the rescue services arrive.

IAM – Institute of Advanced Motorists

If you’re passionate about biking let the IAM help give your skills a boost, improve your technique, increase your ability and confidence, and ultimately get the most out of the whole riding experience. It will also help improve your safety on the road.

The IAM also offer RideCheck, which is a short assessment for anyone who is interested in safer motorbike riding, but who doesn’t feel they are ready to take the IAM Advanced Riding Test.

For further details on IAM including Northern Ireland groups – links – websites.

Read More

RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders (RoADAR)

RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders’ aim is to reduce road accidents by encouraging an interest in road safety and by improving driving and riding standards, knowledge and skill.

Many riders know that they could become even better but think advanced riding is for others. An Advanced rider is equipped with the knowledge and skill to ride safely and effectively in all conditions.
For further details on RoSPA Advanced Riders

Rider Risk Safety Videos

A ten part series of videos aimed at improving rider skills from the Motorcycle Council (MCC) of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia and funded by the NSW Government as part of a “Make Motorcycling Safer” partnership with the MCC of NSW.

Don’t stop reading! – Don’t hit the back button on your browser! It’s not what you might be thinking! The videos are definitely not boring or finger wagging.

Read more

Full Control

“Full Control” from the Norsk Motorcykkel Union (NMCU – Norway), first released in 2001, covers in 80 pages, in-depth precise and effective riding techniques. NMCU say that, “The reward for those who take the trouble to read “Full Control” is getting more fun out of each ride and increased safety at the same time.”

Designed by riders for riders the language is clear and easy to understand, the manual summarizes the knowledge and experience of the rider community.

Read more

BIKE’S Survival Guide

As riders we know that we require full control when riding, not just our technical skills but full alertness on the job to control our bikes, as well as awareness of the road and other road users.

However, technical skills need to tempered with what’s inside your helmet, the adrenaline rush and tales of “daring do” with your mates over coffee, after your ride, will not impress or even happen if you don’t reach the end of your ride in one piece.

Read more

Are You That Rider?

While the riding season fast approaches and riders who have hibernated for the winter or even those who continued to battle on in the cold weather.

Either because of necessity or because they actually enjoy the clearer roads and days that offer clear crisp air, we can reflect on the up and coming season and contemplate:

Is having a blast out on your bike a bad thing?

Read more

ACEM Lucky 13 Cartoon

A safety message with a difference, the Lucky 13 cartoon series, was developed by the European Motorcycle Industry – ACEM – within the framework of the European Road Safety Charter.

The series, published throughout 2009, features Lucky 13 a motorcyclist who explains with his clumsy behaviour.

Wwhat to look out for as he rides around the roads, avoiding the potential risks related to the infrastructure.

Read more

Maintenance Tips

Ride It Right has teamed up with Ride The Wild Wind and Steve Baker Motorcycles through their You Tube TV Video Channel to bring you “Maintenance Tips” helping new and more experienced riders get the best out of their bikes.

Whether new to biking or an experienced rider the “Maintenance Tips” give some advice on looking after your bike, carrying out a few basic and essential checks to keep your bike running smoothly.

Read more

Other Road Users – See Us

Ride It Right has launched – “See Us – Get It Right” – an advisory and warning leaflet for other vehicle drivers.
The leaflet asks other vehicle drivers to – Just Think! – See Us and Get It Right!
The collision facts speak for themselves, as the top three causes for all KSI  (Killed Seriously Injured) motorcycle collisions (irrespective of responsibility) were.
Read more

Share Button

Speak Your Mind