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Motorbike safety focus of new study

By Kyle Ritchie

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Motorcyclists will be needed for a new study looking at how effective road safety campaigns are.

As one of the most vulnerable groups of road users, safety campaigns often target motorcyclists, hoping to reduce death and serious injury levels.

Now Robert Gordon University (RGU) is working with Road Safety North East Scotland (RSNES) to look at the impact they have actually had on bikers' attitude and behaviour.

A new study will look at how effective road safety campaigns are for motorcyclists.
A new study will look at how effective road safety campaigns are for motorcyclists.

As a group of road users, motorcyclists are over-represented in accident and fatality statistics in Scotland.

Classed as vulnerable road users by the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and road safety partners, they are key targets in safety campaigns.

Initiatives such as Operation Zenith, Bike Safe and the more recent Rider Refinement North, along with engineering approaches including targeted road signage, have all tried to increase skill and safety awareness amongst bikers.

They have also tried to encourage them to recognise their vulnerability and understand what can be done to reduce that.

It is hoped research into the effectiveness of past projects will lead to increasingly effective use of limited funds for future road safety initiatives.

It is also hoped that it will help make the case for further investment in motorbike casualty reduction strategies.

Outlining the new research, Caroline Hood of RGU, said: "This new study will bring together existing data, policy and background information held by a range of local road safety partners in the north east on targeted motorbike safety initiatives.

"We want to try to assess their effectiveness and subsequent to this we aim to carry out further research which will influence the development of future initiatives.

"Some of us are motorcyclists ourselves and are very aware of our vulnerability – we want to help other bikers, their friends and families avoid the potentially terrible consequences which can follow on from a road traffic collision.”

The personal impact of a serious motorcycle accident can be life-changing for those affected, as well as their family and friends, but there is also a significant economic impact for society.

Local and national policy seeks to improve the safety of motorcycling, reducing accidents on the roads and overall casualty numbers.

Ewan Wallace, chairman of RSNES and head of transportation at Aberdeenshire Council, said: "One of the most important elements of this study will be getting the views of bikers, to find out what they think of targeted safety initiatives and the approaches taken to engage with them up to this point.

"We need to try to learn how bikers, those who have taken part in safety initiatives and the wider biking community, perceive attempts to improve their safety.

"Clearly, just because a biker sees or understands a road safety message relevant to them, doesn't necessarily mean that translates to how they ride their machine, and we want to know how best to engage and reduce death and injury among motorcyclists.”

As well as the chance to take part in a survey, north east bikers will also be invited to participate in focus groups, where their views will be sought.

Further information on how to take part will be available in due course.

People can follow RSNES on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/roadsafetynes

Road Safety North East Scotland is a partnership consisting of Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Moray Council, NESTRANS, NHS Grampian, North Safety Camera Unit, Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, which seeks to promote road safety and road casualty reduction across the north-east of Scotland.

These organisations work together with the strategic vision of "a future where no one is killed on North East roads and the injury rate is much reduced".

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