Thursday 8th August 2013 – 1.40pm – Murray MacGregor.
With the weather forecast looking good for the weekend, thousands of motorcyclists will be heading out onto the roads of the West Midlands this weekend.
Whether you are on a sports bike, a tourer or a scooter, there is one thing all riders have in common – they don’t plan to crash. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have to be your fault to hurt!
* In 2011, 362 people were killed in motorcycle crashes in the UK, with a further 5,200 suffering serious injuries. One in five people killed on our roads is a motorcyclist.
* On average, in the West Midlands, between March and October every year, around 240 motorcycle accidents occur every month, that’s around eight every single day.
* Those aged 16 – 21 on small capacity machines make up the majority of rider casualties in urban areas so don’t think it can’t happen to you.
Think about what happens if you do come off your bike. What’s the first thing you put out if you fall? Your hands. It’s the same in a crash whether on a scooter or a ‘big’ bike. Without protection on (like proper riding gloves) your hands will take the full force of the impact leaving you with severe grazing and bruising at best.
The next points to touch down are the bony, sticky out bits – knees, elbows, shoulders etc. They’re bits worth protecting. Tarmac isn’t designed to be slippery. At 30 mph it only takes 3 seconds to wear through flesh to bone. Tarmac is designed to grip and give friction to tyres so keep it away from your skin.
Good kit can make all the difference in the event of a crash. The difference between a bruise or a break; a graze or a painful and ugly skin graft. Good kit not only protects you in the event of a crash, it keeps you warm and dry too. Frozen fingers don’t make for good bike control.
West Midlands Ambulance Service motorcycle paramedic, Mark Hayes, said: “A significant percentage of motorcycle accidents, particularly fatal motorcycle crashes, occur at relatively high speeds. Unfortunately, even a relatively low speed crash can lead to serious injury, especially if the rider is not wearing appropriate safety clothing.
“A good set of leathers, safety helmet and high visibility clothing go a long way to minimising injury. Secondly, it is really important for people to concentrate on arriving at their destination safely, rather than as quickly as possible. Preventing the accident is the ideal as opposed to relying on safety equipment to save lives.
“I have been riding for over 20 years and have dealt with many accidents involving riders. All motorists, whether on two, three or four wheels are responsible for respecting the rights of all other drivers no matter the size or type of their vehicle.”
If you are out and about this weekend, have a great time, but please do everything you can to make sure you don’t meet Mark or any of his colleagues.
For more information about road safety, log onto http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk