Think Bike! this bank holiday weekend

With many bikers expected on the road this bank holiday weekend, the road safety team at Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service are reminding drivers and motorcyclists of steps both parties can take to avoid crashes.

Motorcyclists are just 1% of total road traffic, but account for 21% of all road user deaths in Oxfordshire. Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable road users because there have no seatbelts, airbags or side impact bars to protect them.

Mick Clarke, Road Safety Manager for Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service said: “We expect to see an influx of bikers returning to the roads this bank holiday weekend so we’re urging new and experienced motorcyclists to take all the necessary precautions to ensure their bike is safe and ready for the journey ahead.

“If you are dusting off your bike after keeping it in storage over winter, of even if you’re an all-weather rider, Spring is the perfect time to give your bike a basic safety health check to make sure it’s in tip top condition. It’s also the ideal time to consider contacting an advanced training provider to brush up on road riding skills, so you are in as good a condition as your bike. You’re never too good or experienced to learn something new. Refreshing riding skills can help you get more from riding, stay safe and can even reduce insurance costs.

“All of us who ride motorcycles, including myself, have an obligation to brush up and refresh our road riding skills on a regular basis as a momentarily lapse in concentration, anticipation, observation and ride planning can have serious, if not fatal consequences and which in turn effects the lives of many.”

Expect the unexpected

Oxfordshire County Council’s road safety team are asking motorcyclists to expect the unexpected and adjust their speed to give themselves time to react and to take extra care when filtering through traffic as car drivers may not always be aware of them.

Road Safety Manager, Mick Clarke added: “I would also like to encourage drivers to regularly check their mirrors for motorcyclists, to always check and check again for bikes at junctions to ensure that they are not taken by surprise by a motorcycle. As road users sharing a space for commuting or for pleasure, we all have a duty of care to look out for one another to ensure we arrive at our destinations safely. Please remember to look longer for motorcyclists.”

Advice for drivers

  • Take longer to look for bikes: look carefully for motorbikes when you pull out at a junction. If you're approaching a junction, look out for motorcyclists pulling out too
  • Keep your distance: driving too close can intimidate a less experienced motorcyclist
  • Check for bikes when changing lanes: a motorcyclist may be in the space you want to move into, or moving into it fast. Remember your blind spot
  • Check for bikes when turning: parked cars or large vehicles can obstruct your view of a motorcyclist
  • Motorcyclists might pass you on either side: double-check for motorcyclists, whether you're turning left or right

Advice for motorcyclists

  • Make sure you anticipate the actions of others and are alert
  • Position yourself in the safest and best place to maximise your visibility of potential hazards
  • Make sure you can slow down and stop if the unexpected happens
  • Take a 'lifesaver' glance over your shoulder before carrying out manoeuvres, so you know where others are and what they’re doing
  • Consider further skills training to improve your performance and safety on the road
  • Wear the right gear: fall off your bike and tarmac will shred through your jeans in seconds. Wearing the right gear is just as important to your safety as servicing your motorcycle and knowing how to ride it
  • Wear bright or florescent gear during the day and reflective gear at night
  • Wear a protective jacket, gloves, boots and trousers
  • Choosing the right helmet could help save your life

For more road and fire safety advice, visit www.365alive.co.uk