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There is a group of road users with much higher casualty rates than others. These road users are typically referred to as ‘vulnerable road users’ (VRUs) and include pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.  Vulnerable road users have much higher fatality rates per mile travelled compared to other road users.  In 2020 they accounted for over half of fatalities – pedestrians 24%, motorcyclists 20% and pedal cyclists 10% – and also had the highest road user casualty rates (Gov.uk statistics on road casualties).

People cycling and walking had a death rate in 2021 nearly nine times higher than car occupants. People on motorbikes however had a death rate almost 40 times higher than car occupants (Brake).

Most vulnerable road user fatalities are killed in collisions with cars, which is perhaps unsurprising given that cars account for the majority of traffic.

Motorcyclists are the most vulnerable vehicle users

Motorcyclists are the most vulnerable transport user group with the highest accident and injury rates per mile of all vehicle users.  In fact, government statistics show that motorcyclists are 50 times more likely to die in an accident than car drivers even though the percentage of injuries and fatalities has fallen significantly since 2004 – from 585 in 2004 to 310 in 2021 Gov.uk statistics on motorcycle casualties).

In 2021, 310 motorcyclists were killed in Great Britain, 5,264 were reported to be seriously injured and over 10,000 slightly injured (Gov.uk statistics on motorcycle casualties).  Common injuries include head and brain injuries, spinal injuries, broken and fractured bones, skin burns and muscle damage.

One of the reasons for a motorcyclist’s vulnerability is the lack of protection from a vehicle body.  When a motorbike collides with another vehicle, most of the force is absorbed by the bike and the rider. Whilst crash helmets offer a way to mitigate some of the potential injuries suffered, they aren’t always enough, and head injuries are the most common cause of death in a motorcycle accident.

Motorcyclists also tend to be harder for drivers to see on the road.

Car occupants have highest fatality rates

Cars account for the majority of the traffic on Britain’s roads, so it is unsurprising therefore that car occupants accounted for 42% of road users killed in Great Britain in 2020, more than any other road user group.  Cars were the vehicle type most often involved in fatal collisions where other road users were killed in 2020, followed by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and then motorcyclists.

Main findings of reported motorcycle casualties gov.uk 2021

Between 2004 and 2021:

  • fatalities decreased from 585 to 310 (47%)
  • serious injuries fell by 40%
  • motorcycle traffic fell by 20%
  • an average of 6 motorcyclists died and 111 were seriously injured per week in reported road casualties
  • a majority of motorcycle fatalities (59%) do not occur at or within 20m of a junction compared to 40% of all seriously injured casualties
  • almost half (39%) of motorcycle fatalities were in 2 vehicle collisions between a motorcycle and a car
  • 67% of motorcycle fatalities occurred on rural roads compared to 40% of traffic
  • 92% of motorcycle killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties were male
  • the most common contributory factor allocated to motorcyclists in fatal or serious collisions (FSC) with another vehicle was ‘Driver or rider failed to look properly’.
  • ‘Driver or rider failed to look properly’ was also the most common factor allocated to the other vehicles involved

Support following a motorbike accident

Clearly having an accident on your motorbike often means that there is a chance of a more severe injury, so with a team of bike specialist we can act promptly to help secure the treatment you need to assist you in your recovery.  We appreciate that for most bikers, biking is a way of life, rather than just a mode of transport, which is why your recovery is our main priority.

Information sources