Risk and Motorcycles

Risk and Motorcycles – Dammed If We Do – Dammed If We Don’t!

16th November 2009

Right To Ride has published a report on “Risk and Motorcycles”, it is a critique of a report published by the Scottish Executive in 2006 entitled “Risk and Motorcyclists in Scotland”.

Right To Rides’ Elaine Hardy says, “the authors of the Scottish report have already determined that motorcycling is risky and the inevitable conclusion of the report is that the rider is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t (admit to being at risk).”

We believe that studies like the Scottish report on risk and motorcycling can be based on flawed assumptions and can effectively highlight a much bigger problem which is that research based on a false or inaccurate theory can lead to meaningless and even dangerous conclusions.

In the last decade, the risk of motorcycling has become the focus of research and government road safety departments which have identified the need to find solutions to the cause of death and injuries of riders.

However, the measures and solutions are frequently driven by the vested interests of the various stakeholders and in this context, the identification of risk is fundamental, because this sets the parameters in order to identify targets and funding as well as somebody to blame.

The emphasis on risk and risky motorcyclists appears generally to focus on the wrong doer, the motorcyclist who appears not to comply to the norms or rules of the road and is thus a risky person.

But there is more to risk and motorcycling, that researchers and government road safety organisations fail to acknowledge.”

The Right To Ride report “Risk and Motorcycles” concludes that “no road safety initiative can ever make motorcycling risk-free, but this is true for any road user.

However, educating young (and older) riders and drivers how to tackle these risks and how to adapt and live comfortably in our modern society would unquestionably have an important impact on the reduction of injuries and accidents.

In the end, focussing on the individual as the problem rather than as a symptom of a much more complex cause is undoubtedly the easiest solution, but not necessarily the right one.

1. Download “Risk and Motorcycles” Click Here pdf 596kb

2. Scottish Executive Social Research – Risk and Motorcyclists in Scotland – 2006 Click Here pdf 948kb

3. For further information contact Elaine Hardy research@writetoride.co.uk

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