Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 17th September 2014

The roads are safer when there are more motorcyclists, the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) said last week.

MCIA chief executive Steve Kenward told the National Safer Roads Partnerships’ Conference that “volume breeds safety” as far as motorcycles are concerned. He cited a European study which showed a correlation between greater use of powered two-wheelers and lower rates of serious accidents. The research found that where 10% or more of the vehicles on the road are motorcycles, mopeds or scooters there is a proportionate reduction in rider fatalities.

Statistics from other parts of the world seem to back that up: Japan has more motorcycles on the road compared to Europe and the United States but a lower proportion of fatal accidents involving riders.

Further benefits are gained when motorcycle use increases, the MCIA pointed out.

Traffic flows better for all road users when some drivers swap four wheels for two. A Belgian study found that an increased share of motorcycles in commuting traffic leads to a significant improvement in journey times and lower harmful emissions.

Based on a case study for a busy stretch of highway between Leuven and Brussels, the researchers found that when 10% of all private cars are replaced by motorcycles congestion is reduced for all vehicles by 40%. If 25% of drivers switch to motorcycles, congestion is eliminated completely.

There is also evidence that those who start their driving careers on a motorcycle make better car drivers.

With congestion on Britain’s roads set to get worse, Kenward argued that encouraging more people onto motorcycles would result in a “virtuous circle” leading to better road users.