National statistics show that a disproportionate number of fatal and serious road traffic collisions involve motorcycles.
Those in Cheshire tend to occur on a small number of strategic roads – the well known motorcycle routes that traditionally carry motorcycling traffic into North Wales and the Peak District.
Historically and statistically, Cheshire Police experiences a seasonal increase in the number of collisions involving motorcycles during the spring and summer period. Evidence shows that riders on machines over 500cc, and aged between 18 and 25 years, are more likely to become involved in a riding incident; although in recent years there has been a rise in older rider incidents.
Data from 2019-2021 indicate a higher volume of motorcycle traffic at the weekends when midweek workers have spare time, often using social media and linking up for ‘Breakfast Runs’. Thursday evenings also saw a significant increase in motorcycle traffic with peak times between 6.00pm and 9.00pm.
Officers from Cheshire Police’s Motorbike Unit are as determined as ever to raise awareness of motorcycling safety and target problematic riding. Their work involves specific operations tackling those behaviours that have proved to contribute to collisions, bringing offenders to justice and reducing anti-social behaviour on the roads. They deter and detect riding offences happening through enforcement, education and engagement, giving out information and promoting the BikeSafe* scheme.
The officers’ ongoing efforts across Cheshire have resulted in fewer fatal and serious road traffic collisions involving motorbikes compared to many other areas; but there have been a number of serious riding incidents, including one fatal collision, in recent weeks.
Sadly, the single most contributory factor is rider error. That’s why remembering the basics is so important.
Helpful reminders for safe and enjoyable riding:
Before your journey, give your bike a thorough inspection by checking:
Tyres – including both tyre pressure and depth
Brakes - both hand and foot brakes
Lights - headlights, indicator lights and brake lights
Horn and mirrors
Controls, look for kinking or stiffness of the cables
Oil and fuel and, if relevant, the coolant level
Signs of oil and petrol leaks
That the chain is lubricated, at the correct tension and clean
If the bike hasn’t been ridden for a while, add fresh fuel
Wear the correct clothing
Wearing the right clothing can increase your comfort, enjoyment and safety
Wear a helmet that fits and is in good condition. A helmet is designed to absorb the impact of a blow, if it’s been dropped or received a blow, it’s time to get a new one.
Protect your eyes. Use proper eye protection with a high quality visor on your helmet, protective goggles or shatterproof glasses.
Wear leather or heavy denim and bright coloured clothing with high visibility
Arms and legs should be completely covered
Gloves for motorcycling help with grip and protect hands
Footwear should cover the ankles and have a robust rubber tread sole
Share the road responsibly by respecting other road users’ space and stay alert
Leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles
Give way to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, and other vehicles as appropriate
Make sure you’re visible, keep headlights on even during the day
Be seen, don’t put yourself behind a large truck or in the blind spot of a vehicle near you
Keep your bike in top condition
Always ride sober – free of drink and drugs
Wear the proper riding clothes
Motorcycles vary in handling and responsiveness so get to know your bike very well
Respect the power of your bike
Safe motorcycling takes balance, coordination and good judgment along with anticipation
Get to know how to handle your bike in various conditions – road surfaces, potholes, the weather
Traffic and weather can change quickly so remain constantly alert and aware
Always signal your intentions, signal before changing lane
Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings
Riding requires more heightened awareness, strength and coordination than driving a car. As a rider, you are more vulnerable with less protection and more manoeuverability.
BikeSafe is a nationwide scheme which aims to reduce casualties among bikers by passing on tips and knowledge giving insights to safer, smoother riding and a heightened awareness of potential hazards.
The scheme invites motorcyclists to participate in an assessment of their present riding skills and gives advice to help making their riding safer and more enjoyable.