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Bikers’ plea to drivers ahead of new motorcycling season

Many will struggle to see biker, Graham Butcher, in the above image despite the presence of his motorcycle at a junction – it’s a stark reminder of what happens regularly on the roads. The photograph has been released by Minster Law, to coincide with the start of the new motorcycling season, to remind drivers to stay vigilant of bikers on UK roads despite the lighter nights.

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Despite a reduction in two-wheeled accidents and fatalities since the Think! Campaign first launched its biker awareness campaign 15 years ago, visibility is still believed to be one of the leading causes of motorcycle road traffic accidents. According to statistics from the Department for Transport, the most common reason for accidents caused by car drivers is by failing to look properly (24%), and 30 motorcyclists are killed or injured every day at junctions.*

Graham was himself affected by a driver failing to see him. The resulting accident, in which a large agricultural machine turned into the path of his motorcycle, impacted his life significantly and led to his retirement as a police officer. He’s now spearheading the awareness campaign on behalf of Minster Law, who handles 20% of all motorcycle personal injury claims in the UK.

The image of an everyday traffic scene was recreated using a specifically shot picture of a road in Lincolnshire. Graham then underwent six hours of studio-based painting by Melanie Hancock at ViZard to create the illusion of invisibility for the high impact image. It’s hoped that the picture and campaign will serve as a reminder to motorists to pay extra attention to trying to see bikers as the summer riding season begins.

Graham commented: “I was delighted to be asked to front this campaign and I hope its impact ensures that something positive comes out of my accident and the difficult recovery period that followed. I believe that campaigns like this are vital in making the roads safer for all motorists – especially vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists.

“Minster Law were a great support throughout the whole process and helped to ensure that I received the help I needed to get my life back on track as quickly as possible. Their experience with biking accidents was important in sourcing the right support and campaigns such as this are further evidence of their commitment to making UK roads safer for bikers.

Minster Law Managing Director, Michael Warren, said: “As a keen biker myself, I think this is a really important campaign to highlight the vulnerability of bikers on UK roads. Over the past 10 years, we have supported more than 23,000 riders who have been injured in road traffic incidents. Many of those cases appear to have taken place at junctions or in another situation where a motorist failed to see the biker. We understand it’s not always because the driver didn’t look; sometimes the narrower profile of the vehicle or one headlight instead of two can unwittingly fool drivers.”

Artist Melanie added: “As a mum to two boys who ride motocross, I’m conscious that my kids may want to ride motorcycles on the road when they’re older, that’s why I was passionate about supporting this important campaign. I hope it helps to have an impact on driver behaviour and bikers’ visibility.”

Read more about the impact on Graham Butcher’s life and other motorcyclists injured in accidents where drivers didn’t see them. Freddy Lindup, Mr. Hughes and Jean Kelly all have stories to tell to help ensure more drivers remain vigilant of bikers on the road.

* SOURCES: Department for Transport, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2012.
http://think.direct.gov.uk/motorcycles.html