Motorcycles

Cherry Allan's picture
Cyclist and motorcyclist
Cyclists and motorcyclists share common ground, but...
Headline Messages: 
  • As vulnerable road users, cyclists and motorcyclists share much common ground.
  • However, Cycling UK is concerned that cyclists and pedestrians are more at risk from motorcycles than they are from cars, so we object to moves to allow motorcycles to share cycle facilities such as Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs) at junctions
  • We are also concerned about the impact that more motorcycling could have on the environment.
  • We therefore support policies to improve motorcyclists’ safety but, given the need to restrain motor traffic in general, we do not support actions intended to increase the use of motorcycles, or actions that might have this effect.
Key facts: 
  • In 2013 (GB), motorcyclists were 60 times more likely to be killed per billion miles than car occupants, and 3.5 times more likely than cyclists.
  • For every mile they travel, PTWs are more likely than a car to kill a cyclist. From 2009-13, cars accounted for 78% of GB traffic on average per year, and were involved in 58% of cyclist deaths, whereas PTWs accounted for 1% of traffic, but were involved in 2% of cyclist deaths.
  • In 2013, on 30 mph roads in built up areas, nearly half of all motorcycles exceeded the speed limit, 21% by 5 mph or more.
  • Many pollutants from Britain’s PTW fleet are worse (some considerably worse) than they are for cars.
  • In 2013, larger licenced PTWs (over 600cc) made up 41.6% of Great Britain’s PTW fleet, up from 35.7% in 2004.
  • In urban areas, less than 10% of motorcyclist casualties (killed and serious) in urban areas happen at  signalised junctions – in fact, motorcyclists are more likely to killed on rural than on urban roads.
Cycling UK View (formal statement of Cycling UK's policy): 
  • Cycling UK recognises that motorcyclists and cyclists share a number of road safety problems, but is concerned that cyclists and pedestrians are more at risk from PTWs than they are from cars. 
  • National and local motorcycling policies should be informed by a comprehensive, Government-led assessment of the effects that a greater take-up of motorcycling might have. This should look at its impact on:
    • the safety (both actual and perceived) of (would-be) pedestrians and cyclists
    • the promotion and attractiveness of the cleaner, healthier, quieter and more sustainable alternatives of walking and cycling
    • the environment (pollutants and noise)
    • congestion 
  • PTWs should not be allowed in bus lanes, advanced stop lines (ASLs), vehicle-restricted areas or locations where pedal cycles enjoy exemptions from vehicle restrictions. This must necessarily apply to all PTWs, as larger, faster and more polluting machines make up the majority of the PTW fleet and it is not practical to provide traffic regulation benefits for the safest and cleanest machines alone.
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Publication Date: 
January 2015

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