Know the risks

What are the common types of motorcycle accidents?

Although the number of reported motorcycle accidents in the UK has been falling since 2008, numbers are still quite high, suggesting more could be done to prevent these situations.

Sometimes, a gentle reminder to stay safe is all one needs to avoid an accident, which could be minor, major or even fatal. We urge all motorcyclists to travel with care, and remember to avoid taking risks and higher speeds.

Motorbike accident statistics

According to RoSPA Road Safety Research, there was a total of 19,297 bikers injured in reported motorbike accidents in 2016; 319 of these were tragically killed and 5,553 seriously injured.

And although motorcyclists account for just 1% of total road traffic in the UK, they account for approximately 18% of deaths and are 38% more likely to be killed in a road accident when compared with car occupants.

What are the most common causes for motorcycle accidents?

There are some more prominent causes of motorcycle accidents in the UK that we can highlight. These reasons for accidents in UK often result in injury and even death. They include:

1. Failure to negotiate bends

The circumstances of this vary and may include the motorcyclist taking the bend too wide and therefore entering into oncoming traffic, travelling too fast or another vehicle cutting the bend and colliding with the motorcyclist. It may also be that road hazards such as loose gravel or debris have played a part in the accident.

When we or others are distracted, it can be easy to forget we don't know what's around the corner. It's always best to tread carefully and keep an eye out for any drivers that may not be paying complete attention while behind the wheel.

2. Collisions at junctions

Junctions pose a threat to all road users, not just motorcyclists (although they are more common for bikers). Research suggests that the majority of biker accidents happen at junctions, with UK Police reporting that 64% of motorbike accidents occurred at a junction in 2016.

The riskiest scenario to be wary of is drivers turning right at junctions, into the path of oncoming motorcyclists. Unfortunately, drivers do not always look properly at junctions and proceed without noticing all traffic. The smaller nature of motorcycles mean they can be more vulnerable to these errors.

3. Overtaking and filtering

Overtaking manoeuvres are far more risky for bikers compared to other motorists; in part due to bikes being more difficult to see and also the ease with which motorbikes can overtake can sometimes make it more tempting for riders to take risks.

When overtaking on a main road, particularly to go in the oppositie direction to the overtaking motorcyclist, drivers turning on to the main road may lose sight of the biker.

Filtering is a form of overtaking in stopped or slow-moving traffic, where the biker filters through other vehicles to move towards the front. This is completely legal and common, as motorcyclists are able to acceerate faster than standard vehicles. However, other drivers commonly attempt to switch lanes in these situations and do not always look for bikers moving through at this time, possibly assuming all surrounding vehicles are larger in nature.

4. Speed

Although more motorcycle accidents occur when the bike is traveling at slower speeds where there is more traffic and infrastructure, accidents leading to serious injury and fatality is more commonly seen at high speeds.

Naturally, motorcyclists travelling at higher speeds will be more difficult to spot, require more time to stop or slow down, and risk impact at a higher speed.

To avoid being involved in an accident on your bike (and save on fines), it's important to stick to the speed limits and ride cautiously, especially when you’re in a higher-risk situation like taking on a bend, moving through junctions and overtaking.

For tips on staying safe on the road, take a look at our page on motorcyclist safety.

To learn more about specific motorbike injuries and how the OYB crew can help you overcome a recent accident by claiming compensation, visit any of the below.