Motorcyclists

Title: Public attitudes towards motorcyclists' safety: A qualitative study from the United Kingdom

Organisation: Centre for Transport & Society, University of West England
Date uploaded: 2nd August 2011
Date published/launched: July 2011

The aim of this research was to examine the perceptions of road user safety amongst different road users and examine the link between attitudes, empathy and skill in motorcycle safety behaviour.

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The aim of this research was to examine the perceptions of road user safety amongst different road users and examine the link between attitudes, empathy and skill in motorcycle safety behaviour.

Motorcyclists were perceived by the study participants, members of the public at four different locations at the UK (including motorcyclists and non-motorcyclists), as a group be at a high risk of accidents on the road. This was due to perceived behavioural characteristics of motorcyclists – who were viewed as ‘thrill seekers’ – as well as observed behaviours on the road. This, coupled with the physical vulnerability and excessive speeds, meant that motorbike driving was considered by the study participants as the least safe form of road use. There was broad agreement that motorcycling was dangerous as a whole, but not all motorcyclists were necessarily risky riders.

The issue of ‘competitive space’ emerged between car drivers and motorcyclists in particular and it was suggested that there was a lack of mutual awareness and considerations between the two groups. Generally, greatest empathy comes from drivers who are motorcyclists themselves.

Engineering, education, enforcement interventions were investigated. These were aimed at two main areas: normalising safer driving behaviours for motorcyclists and increasing awareness of bikes for motorists—particularly in relation to reducing speed limits at urban junctions.

Finally, the idea of risk mapping and reduced speed limits on rural roads was seen as potentially effective—particularly as certain motorcyclists highlighted that they changed their riding behaviours by increasing speed and taking greater risks on these roads.

For more information contact:
Charles Musselwhite
T: +44 (0)117 32 83010

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