Is Motorcycling in the UK Dangerous?

This reduction in incidents is due to higher quality training and better awareness from road users. In 2019, awareness campaigns can be found in mainstream media and the majority of road users consider the notion of “Think Bike” whilst driving.

Why is motorcycling considered dangerous?

Is motorcycling safer than driving a car? No. In short, it’s common sense that driving around in a metal box at 60mph will keep you safer and at less risk of serious injury or fatality than riding on two wheels.

Approximately 1% of all road users are motorcyclists in the UK. Over the previous years fatalities on the UK roads have consisted of approximately 20% from motorcyclists*. Statistics show that this over-representation of motorcycle fatalities means that you are 57 times more likely to suffer harm than in a car.

Are all motorcyclists in the UK at risk?

Young riders are especially vulnerable to accidents with 33% of all motorcycle fatalities or serious injuries on motorbikes in the UK occurring below the age of 25. The sub 20 year olds have the highest proportion of these incidents.*

At the age of 17 you are legally allowed to ride a 125cc sports bike such as the Aprilia RS125 that has a 0-60 second speed in 4 seconds that is a lot of power off the line and is a lot to carry for a young rider.

On a CBT licence you are unable to ride above a 125cc bike whatever age you are, and as the CBT course is typically completed in 1 day, this bike restriction is in place for a good reason. Once you turn 19 you will be able to take your full licence further training to ride up to a 35kW bike. This step up is significant for any rider, especially for the less risk averse young person.

Is motorway driving safe for motorcyclists?

Motorway driving for motorcyclists is categorically safer than any other riding for you on a motorbike.

Rural riding constitutes 40% of overall motorcycle traffic and contribute 68% of all motorcycle fatalities. Riding is fun, no doubt about that and a large proportion of riding for fun is undertaken on rural roads.*

The issue with riding for fun is that it often is associated with “speed” and on a less maintained rural road around sharp blind bends, riders are more likely to find bumps, holes and debris that can fling it’s rider off his or her bike in a millisecond.

Urban roads however do contribute a larger figure around more serious injuries with 53% of all serious motorbike injuries occurring on urban roads. The largest factor to this is junctions.

When I think of the Think Bike campaign of 2017 onwards, I immediately think of look once, look twice, think bike. Other road users pulling out in front of bikes is the situation that riders are most likely to injure themselves seriously.

47% of all motorbike injuries are due to the other vehicle not looking properly. Second is a poor manoeuvre contributing 19%. Campaigns like Think Bike are excellent in solving problem one, which is primarily road users at junctions not taking the care and attention to save lives.*

Is motorcycling worth the risk?

Motorcycling is fun. It is exhilarating and for many a route to the ultimate freedom. If you live your life ensuring that every risk is taken down on to a spreadsheet then maybe a car is for you.

From the start of your training to getting your dream bike, motorcycling is enjoyable and fun. Is it without risk? No. Riding a motorbike is statistically less safe than driving a car. There is no doubt in this.

However, motorcycle accidents in proportion to motorcyclists are on the decline due to higher levels of training and awareness surrounding bikers across the UK. A rider that is not reckless, takes the necessary training and in many cases further training will put themselves in a safer and great position to enjoy their two wheels that for many is a great source of daily enjoyment.

The story of motorcycle risk is depth and convoluted. The data suggests that a high proportion of riders that are below 20 years old and riding predominantly on rural roads skew the data for motorcyclists as a whole.

With such a large issue surrounding road users ‘failing to look properly’ resulting in fatalities and serious injury, awareness campaigns and knowledge surrounding bike users is essential to safety and further years of declining motorcycling fatalities in the UK.

In the UK overall road deaths fell from 3172 in 2016 to 1792 in 2017 a staggering decrease of 44%.* We have a fatality number that is extremely low compared to other nations and we are continuing to strive to get this number down year on year from improving training and awareness surrounding the motorcycling industry.

highway code dangerous blog

What can I do to be a safer rider?

When learning to ride and riding more often one of the best pieces of advice you can receive is to ride confidently with experience. You should be able to ride confidently that you are able to ride your bike safely and if there is a case where you need to get out of danger you will be able to do so.

The way to achieve this is with high quality training to become a better and safer rider.

High Quality Training

First and foremost, make sure you have the best and highest quality training on offer. In the UK RideTo works with over 150 locations in which every single location is visited by one of the RideTo team. We make sure that our instructors are the best, so you train safe.

Further training

There are a number of advanced and further training courses that you can take in the UK. If you start your journey on an automatic bike and wish to ride a manual we recommend taking a gear conversion course.

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A number of locations offer advanced rider training and enhanced rider training. Both of these give you as a rider the best knowledge and skills to be safe out on the roads. The instructor can accompany you on your daily commute and will ride behind you and train you to be aware of potential hazards. Get in touch with RideTo to find out more about further training.

Top Tips to Motorcycle Safety

Riding in the day and in dry conditions is the safest option for any rider. This removes a lot of the dangers surrounding night and wet riding. If you are riding at night then ensure that you wear reflective gear at all times. Our top 4 tips are as follows:

Always assume that other road users haven’t seen you and check your blindspots before changing road position.

Wear the best protective clothing that covers you from head to toe, strong botos and a helmet that fits properly.

Don’t push your limits. Take regular breaks to stop, stretch and keep hydrated.

They are there to keep you and other road users safe. Saving 1 minute isn’t worth risking a life.

*Department for Transport. (2015). Facts on Motorcyclist Casualties. Available: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447673/motorcyclist-casualties-2013-data.pdf. Last accessed 23rd October 2019.

This information is given to you as a guide to support you in your choice of licence and RideTo has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided about motorcycle licence and training requirements. However, RideTo cannot guarantee the information is up to date, correct and complete and is therefore provided on an “as is” basis only. RideTo accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage howsoever arising. We recommend that you verify the current licence and training requirements by checking the DVSA website.

How Dangerous Is Skydiving?

The danger associated with skydiving has decreased steadily over the last decade, but skydiving is not a danger-free activity. Because you are exiting an aircraft in flight from roughly two miles above the ground and freefalling at speeds of around 120mph to the ground, there is, naturally, some danger involved. As an extreme sport, skydiving contains certain risks, but the majority of these risks have been mitigated by significant technological improvements to equipment and the implementation of advanced training programs.

Instructor and student skydiving with black and white plane behind them.

So, how dangerous is skydiving?

Let’s Take A Look At Some Skydiving Statistics

Numbers don’t lie, and the most recent skydiving statistics from 2019 paint a picture of skydiving that is not as dangerous as people imagine.

How likely is it to die from skydiving? According to the United States Parachute Association, in 2019, approximately 3.3 million jumps were completed. Out of these 3.3 million jumps, 15 resulted in a skydiving death. That is one skydiving death per 220,301 jumps.

How many people die a year from tandem skydiving? The safety record for tandem skydiving is even better: there has been only one student fatality per 500,000 tandem jumps over the past decade.

Skydiver giving thumbs up while preparing his parachute at Skydive St Louis

Activities That Are More Dangerous Than Skydiving

Is skydiving high risk? Yes, but you may be surprised how it compares to a few other activities. While skydiving contains some inherent danger, there are plenty of seemingly benign activities that are actually far more dangerous.

Driving Or Riding In A Car

A weekly trip to the grocery store doesn’t cause many to bat an eye, but without a doubt, driving is far more dangerous than skydiving. In 2019, the total number of driving fatalities in the US was 36,096. This averages out to 99 fatalities per day.

A Walk In The Woods in Summer

During the summer months, bees and hornets are increasingly active. This increased activity means an increased rate of stings. Startlingly, each year around 58 people are killed by bee or hornet stings. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, you’re more likely to be killed by a bee sting than you are to die from skydiving.

Scuba Diving

As a niche sport, data surrounding scuba diving fatalities is difficult to come by. The most recently reported data comes from 2016. According to the Diver alert Network, in 2016, there were a total of 169 deaths involving recreational scuba diving around the world. Occurring within the US, there were 27 total fatalities.

Girl jumping out of a plane at Skydive St Louis near Chicago

Skydiving Safety Is Our Top Priority

So, how dangerous is skydiving? Because there’s no universal danger scale of 1-10, it’s hard to say exactly. Though, most agree, based on the skydiving incident data, the level of risk associated with skydiving is an acceptable one.

At Skydive STL, we are committed to adhering to recommended training policies and programs and strict safety standards set forth by the United States Parachute Association and maintain our fleet of aircraft and skydiving equipment to the standards and specifications of the Federal Aviation Administration. While skydiving has certain dangers associated with it, Skydive STL takes every precaution to make skydiving safe for you and your loved ones.

At Skydive STL, we’ve seen skydiving used for all kinds of momentous occasions: birthdays, marriage proposals, gender reveals, and even a skydiving wedding! At Skydive STL, we help people build beautiful memories through the experience of skydiving.

Skydiving Can Be Life Giving

Skydiving can be a life-changing experience and we don’t know anyone who wishes they hadn’t done it.

Do you have any questions about the skydiving safety measures and precautions taken at Skydive STL? Don’t hesitate, give us a call or fill out our contact form today!

Are Motorcycles Dangerous? A Comparison Guide You’ll Want To See

The hobby of riding a motorcycle is seen to be a leisurely, pleasant experience according to a large population. Some view it as completely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. There will be differences in opinion the more people you talk to about it.

The biggest debate is whether or not motorcycles are actually dangerous. You hear of horror stories involving motorcycles which in turn makes most people believe that they are, in fact, dangerous vehicles.

Are motorcycles dangerous? The answer to whether or not motorcycles are dangerous depends a lot on the rider and their driving abilities. The word dangerous means it is likely to cause harm or injury. In this case, motorcycles can be considered dangerous. On the flip side, any other vehicle can be considered dangerous too as they also holds risks.

Throughout this article, you’ll be able to see the reasons why a motorcycle can be dangerous and the statistics that go along with it. You’ll also be able to read how to decrease risks while riding with numbers and statistics that may indicate that motorcycles might not be as dangerous as you think. This article isn’t here to convince you whether or not motorcycles are dangerous, rather this is a helpful guide to show you the points and help you decide for yourself.

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Danger Risk: Lack of Protection

It’s important to understand that a motorcycle itself is not dangerous. It’s the possibilities of what can happen while you’re riding that increases a rider’s risk.

Compared to other vehicles, motorcycles have a lot less protection against anything they could collide with. And this doesn’t just mean roll bars, it also includes the lack of seat belts as well as airbags. However, motorcycle manufacturers are working on developing technology to somehow implement airbags on motorcycles.

Because there is a lack of protection, the motorcycle rider is more susceptible to colliding with the hard objects around them such as the road, car, tree, etc. It’s these collisions that create the injury and is what can cause a motorcycle to be more dangerous.

Danger Risk: Other Drivers

Perhaps the biggest danger outside of the motorcycle itself that puts a motorcyclist at risk is the other drivers around them. Not everyone rides a motorcycle and therefore a good chunk of the driving population are completely unaware of them because they don’t really know what to look for. This is probably something they could improve on in driver’s education in school.

In fact, other motorists are so unaware of motorcycles that out of all motorcycle accidents and crashes, other vehicles are at fault 40% of the time. And about half of all accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle are done by another vehicle making a left hand turn and intercepting with the motorcycle somehow.

Most of these types of accidents happen in intersections. This is likely due to the fact that since motorcycles are smaller, vehicle drivers don’t see them as clearly as they can for other cars. That’s why it’s important for the motorcyclist to be especially aware when approaching a cross roads like this.

Danger Risk: 2 Wheels Instead Of 4

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the difference in physics between a car that has four wheels and a motorcycle that has two wheels. One possible big reasons a lot of people end up getting a motorcycle in the first place is because it only has two wheels. Those two wheels sometimes enable motorcyclists to special rules such as lane splitting (though it’s not legal everywhere).

A car with four wheels will have more traction on the road and therefore have more control. Only having two wheels on the road means less traction which also means you could possibly lose control a little easier.

Motorcycles are also susceptible to hydroplaning, fishtailing, and sliding on ice, sand, or gravel. But then again so are most other vehicles. A skilled motorcyclist will be able to maneuver through these obstacles with enough practice.

Danger Risk: Age

Age has a large impact on the statistics of vehicle crashes altogether. And that isn’t necessarily pointed just directly towards the young people though they are a contributing factor as to why motorcycles can be dangerous.

In 2008, there were about 96,000 motorcycle accidents in the United States. Of those 96,000 accidents, about 8,000 of them were done by teenagers (ages 15-20). Studies have shown that teenagers believe that they are a lot better driver than they actually are and therefore get into a state of complacency. You mix a young teenager with complacency on a motorcycle and your chances of an accident increase.

On the flip side, older generations are also accounted for in motorcycle accidents. They also become victims of complacency because they have “ridden for 20 years without an accident” and they sometimes get into a mindset of invincibility. That relaxed state of mind is what can make a motorcycle dangerous. So in this sense, the danger comes from the rider.

Danger Risk: Driving Skills

Not just anyone can get on a motorcycle and take it for a spin around the neighborhood. It takes training and skill to operate such a vehicle which is why individuals are required to get a separate license in order to ride a motorcycle.

Staying alert and being a defensive driver is especially important while riding a motorcycle because the consequences are worse. These extra skills acquired need to be implemented every second you’re on that bike. A lot of motorcycle accidents that happen could have been prevented by the rider.

Let’s take a specific example. According to the NHTSA, “In 2013, there were 4,399 motorcycle riders killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, 1,232 (28%) were alcohol-impaired (BAC of .08 or higher). In addition, there were 305 (7%) fatally injured motorcycle riders who had lower alcohol levels (BACs of .01 to .07 g/dL).”

The NHTSA also goes on to say that of all fatal crashes that happened in 2013 due to alcohol impairment, motorcyclists made up 27% of those fatalities which was the highest percentage out of all other types of vehicles (cars being 23%). This indicates that a large chunk of motorcycle fatalities could have been prevented had these motorcyclists not driven drunk or impaired.

In addition, the NHTSA also goes on to describe some further interesting statistics. Of all types of vehicles involved in fatal crashes, motorcyclists had the highest percentage of speeding convictions as well as previous license suspensions or revocations. In other words, motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents were more likely to have some sort negative previous driving record compared to other vehicle drivers.

Danger Risk: Lack Of Maintenance

Like any other motorized vehicle, motorcycles require their fair share of maintenance and check-ups. Motorcycles can break down off the side of the road leaving the rider frustrated, but there are a few basic components of motorcycle maintenance that can lead to catastrophic consequences if they’re left unattended to.

Running out of gas or having some exhaust backfire doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get bucked off the motorcycle during the middle of a ride. But if your chain breaks or your engine seizes during a ride, you could find yourself in a dangerous situation (because you can get thrown of the motorcycle if it’s bad enough). See my article here for more information about what happens when a motorcycle chain breaks.

That’s why motorcycle maintenance is so important and it is completely up to the rider to keep up with it. Any accident or injury that happens because the motorcycle malfunctions due to lack of maintenance is pretty much all on the owner and could have been completely preventable.

How To Make Riding Safer: Wearing The Right Gear

Now that we’ve covered that biggest reasons a motorcycle can be considered dangerous, let’s cover grounds as to how riders can decrease their chances and risks of harm while out for a ride.

The biggest and most obvious way to make a ride on a motorcycle safe is by wearing the right gear. Motorcyclists should always wear protective gloves, boots, pants, jacket, and most importantly wear a helmet. While wearing the right jacket doesn’t necessarily prevent spinal injury, protective gear can greatly decrease your chances of major skin burns and lacerations.

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Wearing a helmet while riding could certainly mean a matter of life or death. As it was mentioned before, motorcycles provide much less protection compared to other vehicles, so wearing a helmet is vital. The NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,630 people in 2013 in the U.S. Had all those who were involved in fatal motorcycle accidents been wearing a helmet, an estimated 715 more lives could have been saved.

All motorcycle helmets that are sold in the United States require to meet safety standards that are monitored by laws and organizations. Though a helmet may not save a life 100% of the time, it greatly increases the chances of survival.

How To Make Riding Safer: Take A Riding Safety Class

In order to get a motorcycle license in most places, you’ll need to obtain your learner’s permit, practice riding, take a written and riding test, and voila. You have a motorcycle license.

While this is a good way to ensure that people have the appropriate skills to ride a motorcycle on city roads, most places do not require riders to take a riding safety class. This is usually an optional thing to help riders feel more comfortable on the road and not everyone takes a course like this.

The California Motorcyclist Safety Program reported that taking a safety riding course while you’re learning how to ride a motorcycle can decrease your chances of a fatal accident by almost 61%. That is statistically significant and it should be considered by every rider to take a safety course whether they’re learning how to ride or have already been riding for years.

How To Make Riding Safer: Regular Maintenance

As it was mentioned earlier, routine maintenance on a motorcycle is not only vital to the health of the motorcycle itself, but it’s also vital for your safety. Bigger mechanical problems can potentially be dangerous.

Issues with the chain, tires, and engine can put a rider at the biggest risk of injury. So while they can be annoying, getting regular oil changes are also important for your safety. Lack of oil or old oil inside the engine risks the pistons to seize into place. If an engine seizes during a ride, you could potential be abruptly stopped and/or thrown off the bike. The oil on a motorcycle should be changed every 4,000-5,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first.

Chain maintenance is also vital. In most cases when a chain breaks, it usually just means your motorcycle doesn’t have power any more. But if it gets jammed, that also means your motorcycle could come to an abrupt stop and throw you off the bike. You should lube the motorcycle chain and check the tension of it every 4,000 miles or every six months, which ever comes first.

Tires are one of the most important parts of a motorcycle yet they seem to be the most neglected. It can be extremely dangerous if a motorcycle tire blows while you’re riding it and usually blows are completely preventable. See my other article here to learn more about how often you should get your motorcycle serviced.

These are all dangers that can happen on a motorcycle, but they’re also completely preventable with a little scheduling and paying attention on the owner’s part.

How To Make Riding Safer: Being A Defensive Rider

Being a defensive rider while owning a motorcycle is one of those obvious points that goes without saying. But people say they try to do it but don’t actually abide by it.

The risk of injury on a motorcycle is higher, so that’s why you need to be completely aware of your surroundings. As it was mentioned earlier, a large part of motorcycle accidents are caused by other vehicles and their lack of paying attention. You have to assume you’re making up for the attention they’re not giving.

First and foremost, assume that every driver around you on the road has no idea you are there. Don’t assume that because you have loud exhaust or that you flashed your lights at them they know you’re in their blind spot. Assuming no one knows you’re there will help you become a much better defensive driver and therefore keep you a little safer while riding.

Also make sure that you keep a safe distance between cars. Motorcyclists assume they can brake faster than cars can, but that’s not necessarily true. A lot of that depends on your motorcycle and the car that’s slamming on their brakes in front of you.

Other Activities That Are More Dangerous Than Riding A Motorcycle

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2007 there were 5,174 motorcycle related fatalities in the U.S. In comparison with the same year, there were 22,856 fatal crashes that involved passenger cars. So while riding a motorcycle does hold it dangers, so do other activities. Let’s look at some other statistics:

  • According to the CDC, 480,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are caused by smoking. On that same note, 41,000 deaths result from second-hand smoke.
  • There’s an estimated 1,700 injuries per year in the U.S. because of vending machines.
  • There are about 13,000 people per year in the U.S. who die because of falls.
  • Just under 13,000 people die per year in the U.S. from accidental poisoning.
  • About 598,000 people die per year from obesity related heart disease in the U.S.

So while riding a motorcycle does hold it’s risks and dangers, so do plenty of other common activities performed throughout the U.S. each day (and a lot of them are significantly more likely to happen than being involved in a fatal motorcycle accident).

Conclusion

Motorcycles do have the potential of being dangerous while being used. Any life lost while riding a motorcycle is one life too many. But as you can see throughout this article, a lot of motorcycle injuries are preventable by the rider.

Riding a motorcycle is much different than riding in a car, so anyone who desires to ride a motorcycle needs to understand their responsibilities; if they do so, they can dramatically decrease their chances of harm. Click here to see my pros and cons list of riding a motorcycle.

However, not every motorcycle injury or death is the rider’s fault. There are plenty of circumstances where the motorcycle rider had zero part in the accident, but they still happen. At the same time, accidents happen no matter where you go or where you’re at. The choice is up to you whether riding that motorcycle is really that dangerous or not.

Source https://www.rideto.com/blog/is-motorcycling-in-the-UK-dangerous

Source https://skydivingstl.com/blog/how-dangerous-is-skydiving/

Source https://motorcyclehabit.com/are-motorcycles-dangerous-a-comparison-guide-youll-want-to-see/

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