VULNERABLE ROAD-USERS: Motorcyclists and car drivers should be able to use SA's roads in harmony. Is education the key? Image: Shutterstock
LONDON, England - The relationship between drivers and motorcyclists can sometimes be described as heated.
Each group tends to blame on the other, while what is needed is education: motorcyclists are the more vulnerable, drivers need to be more informed on how to share the road with their two-wheel cousins.
Motorcyclists account for one percent of road users in Britain, but they’re grossly over-represented in casualty statistics, making up as much as 19% of all road-user deaths.
BIKERS AT GREATER RISK
But they, like every other road-user, all set off with the intention of arriving safely at a destination and, according to GEM chief executive David Williams, there are ways we drivers can help them stay safe.
Williams said: "You may think that motorcyclists can look after themselves because they’re manoeuvrable and can change lanes quickly and easily. However, they are at greater risk for a number of reasons, including other road-users not being aware of them, or not appreciating their ability to accelerate rapidly.
GEM has five simple tips to promote safety for drivers and motorcyclists:
1 Remember above all that everybody on the road is trying to get somewhere safely, even if it doesn’t always seem that way. So maintain a defensive attitude, avoid conflict and competition.
2 Good observation is key, especially at junctions. Take more time to look for motorcyclists when you’re approaching a junction or joining a busy main road. After all, motorcyclists can be much harder to see.
3 Check your blind spot before changing lanes. Motorcyclists move faster than you might expect, so it’s always good to double-check.
4 If there’s a motorcyclist behind you, anticipate that he or she will probably want to overtake. Make the manoeuvre as easy and safe as possible by moving slightly to the nearside. This tells the rider he has been seen.
5 Think bike even after your journey has ended. Just check it’s safe to open your door and that you won’t be putting an approaching rider at risk.
Williams concludes:"By 'Thinking Bike; on every journey, and by committing to a courteous driving style, we will play our part in making the roads safer – for ourselves and for motorcyclists who are 75 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision than a driver."