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The number of motorcyclists killed on Britain’s roads saw a 10% fall in 2011, although the number of serious injuries to motorcycles increased by the same percentage, statistics from the Department for Transport have revealed.

A total of 362 motorcycle users were killed in 2011, a 10% decrease on last year – a fall that is in line with trends for motorcycle fatalities. However the number of users reported as seriously injured increased by 10% to 5,247. Total reported motorcycle user casualties increased by 8% to 20,150 in 2011, whilst motorcycle traffic increased by 0.9 per cent over the same period.

In total, motorcycle fatalities accounted for a fifth of all total road fatalities in 2011, which increased for the first time since 2003.

The annual number of people killed in road accidents reported to the police increased by 3%, from 1,850 in 2010 to 1,901 in 2011. In addition, the number of people reported killed or seriously injured has also increased by 2% to 25,023 from 24,510 in 2010 – the first annual increase since 1994.

The figure for motorcycles represents a 33% reduction from the period 2005-2009, where an average of 544 bikers were killed each year, and a 12% reduction in all motorcycle casualties over the same period.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) welcomed the fall in motorcycle deaths but also expressed disappointment at the increase in biker casualties, as well as concern for overall increases in deaths and injuries.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at RoSPA, said: “After a long period of deaths falling year on year, we are very disturbed that they have risen, particularly among children and pedestrians. We are concerned that this may be the end of the downwards trend in people being killed on our roads because this is the first time that annual road deaths have risen since 2003 and follows three years where deaths reduced by several hundred per year.

“RoSPA is concerned that reduced public spending on road safety, especially cuts to local authority and road policing budgets, may be partly to blame. The Government and the road safety profession need to urgently get together to understand why road deaths have now started to rise.

“It is crucial that the Government demonstrates strong leadership by examining what more it can do to help local authorities, the police and other bodies involved in road safety to refocus and reinvigorate their services. One of the ways they could do this is through the changes to public health in England, which provide an opportunity to encourage local action. However, national leadership of this area is crucial because the experience of the last three decades shows how effective a strong, comprehensive national road safety strategy can be in saving lives and reducing injuries.”

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