On 10th March the Department for Transport and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency announced and launched a consultation into improving motorcycling training and with a focus particularly on the compulsory basic training (CBT).
The CBT has been in place since 1990 and is the training which all new learner motorcycle and moped riders must take before going out onto the roads and this training hasn’t changed very much in the years since then, despite things on the roads changing massively.
The new plans being considered by the consultation include a closer look at the structure and content of the CBT course as well as the qualification process for the instructors giving the test and standards checks for the instructors to ensure they have the ability to teach the pupils adequately for the roads.
The consultation has come about after the DVSA and DfT commissioned research into the views of both learner drivers and the instructors on the current status of the CBT and how changes may affect new riders.
The proposals for the consultation are being considered with support and guidance from motorcycle organisations as well as representatives from the training industry and are designed to ensure, in the long run, that less motorcyclists are injured and dying on the road.
Motorcycle Safety Risks
The latest statistics suggest that motorcyclists make up one in five of all deaths on roads in the UK and this is particularly shocking when we consider that motorcyclists only make up 1% of the driving population. It’s equally worrying that 19% of all accidents with casualties involving motorcyclists involve riders under the age of 19 and therefore, improving the initial training may have a real impact on these figures.
Research also suggests that motorcyclists are up to 40 times more likely to die in an accident on the road than standard car drivers and therefore anything that can be done to improve safety is an absolute must.
The most common types of injury caused in motorcycle accidents are to the limbs, most regularly the legs. American research suggests that 27% of injuries in accidents are in bone fractures, just over 16% are contusions and nearly 14% are sprains. The most dangerous injuries are almost always head injuries which are much more likely to be fatal and is why helmets are required by law to meet certain standards and must be worn on the roads.
Of course much of the danger of riding a motorcycle comes is down to the awareness of other drivers and how many car and other vehicle drivers simply don’t have motorcyclists on their mind when they get into their car. Most of the accidents involving motorcyclists, like regular cyclists, are at junctions and are down to vehicle drivers simply ‘not seeing’ the motorcyclist, although a more likely story in many cases is that they weren’t looking.
Changing the compulsory training for motorcyclists will hopefully ensure that they have the awareness they need to take to the roads and if other road users learn to be more aware of their surroundings too we should see the number of accidents and fatalities on the road fall.