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‘Lowest figures on record’ for motorcycle fatalities

Published: 29 September 2017

Figures released by the Department for Transport have revealed that motorcycle deaths are down by 13%, with the number of fatal motorcycle accident reducing from 365 to 319 – all despite there being an overall increase in motorcycle traffic last year. 

It’s a promising message for motorcyclists. With an increase of 2% road use overall, last year saw motorcycles covering 2.8 billion miles. What it essentially means is that there are more of us bikers (good thing) and less fatalities (double good thing).

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These figures prelude an otherwise gloomy message from the DoT, as the overall number of road deaths is at its highest point since 2011 with the largest significant factor to this toll being vulnerable road users.

Nick Lloyd, RoSPA’s road safety manager said, “Britain traditionally has one of the best road safety records in the world, but we must focus our efforts through effective education, engineering and enforcement if we are to make our roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”

The data shows that 1,792 people were killed in 2016 – an increase of 4% overall. Pedestrian deaths are up by 10%, with 448 deaths recorded last year and cycling deaths up by 2% to 102.

Though the figures show an unwanted rise in the number of road fatalities, the DoT report suggests that this “is not statistically significant and it is likely that natural variation in these figures explains the change.”

Overall, the past decade has seen a massive 44% reduction in roadside deaths. In 2006, there were 3,172 fatalities in reported road accidents to the 1,792 that were recorded last year – despite a continued increase in road traffic.

Department for Transport graph

The DoT report explains, “Previously, and particularly between 2006 and 2010, the general trend was for fatalities to fall. Since that point though, most of the year-on-year changes are either explained by one-off causes (for instance, the snow in 2010) or natural variation. The evidence points towards Britain being in a period when the fatality numbers are fairly stable and most of the changes relate to random variation.”

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