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Charles Musselwhite, Erel Avineri, Yusak Octavius Susilo Centre for Transport & Society University of the West of England, Bristol An in-depth Exploration.

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Presentation on theme: "Charles Musselwhite, Erel Avineri, Yusak Octavius Susilo Centre for Transport & Society University of the West of England, Bristol An in-depth Exploration."— Presentation transcript:

1 Charles Musselwhite, Erel Avineri, Yusak Octavius Susilo Centre for Transport & Society University of the West of England, Bristol An in-depth Exploration into Public Attitudes towards Motorcyclists’ Safety Risks in the UK 1

2 Background At 2009 an in-depth deliberative study of attitudes of road users to road user safety was commissioned by the DfT in order to inform it on the new road user safety strategy being developed for 2010 and beyond. As part of this larger study, this paper reports on the attitudes of and towards motorcyclists. To date there has been a diverse range of knowledge about motorist attitudes towards safety from a variety of perspectives but little understanding of how road users conceptualise motorcycle riding in terms of road user safety. 2

3 Introduction Public Attitudes attitude-behaviour link social side of road user safety acceptability of legislation and interventions inform policy makers Motorcyclists as VRU The majority of the public (70%) state that motorcyclists are the least safe mode of transport (DfT, 2008) Highly represented in accident statistics: –1% of road users –19% of fatalities –21% of total serious injuries –8% of slight injuries (DfT, 2008) 3

4 Literature Review (1) Motorcyclists tend to have positive attitudes to road safety and riding safely is held in high regard among dedicated motorcyclists (Fuller, et al., 2008). the enjoyment of taking risks and the enjoyment of speed, in particular, are higher for motorcyclists than they are for car drivers (Fuller et al. 2008). The most negative attitudes towards motorcyclists on the road tend to come from the least experienced drivers. Men have greater empathy for motorcyclists on the whole, but actually show less empathy in their behaviour (Crundall et al., 2008). 4

5 Literature Review (2) Greatest empathy comes from those who are motorcyclists themselves or know motorcyclists (Crundall et al., 2008) Drivers who have family members or close friends who ride motorcycles are less likely to collide with motorcycles, and showed better observation of motorcycles than drivers who did not (Brooks & Guppy, 1990) ‘Mental preparation’ for motorcyclists and understand the norms better; attitude through preparation is therefore important (Fylan et al., 2006) Motorcyclists seem quite alien to drivers. Awareness of motorcyclists can be increased by making drivers think more about the person riding the motorcycle 5

6 Think! “Named Riders” Campaign “The campaign’s message is that motorcyclists are a wide range of people, with names, personalities and families just like car drivers” “New TV adverts will show bikers with flashing neon signs attached to their bikes. The signs show the rider's name and describe personality traits” 6

7 Research Objectives Seeking to improve understanding of: Attitudes of and towards motorcyclists (by motorcyclists themselves and by other road users) could strongly influence the rider behaviour, and driver and rider interactions. Perception of motorcycling safety among different road users Link between attitudes, empathy and skill in motorcycle safety behaviour Attitudes of motorcyclists and non-motorcyclists towards interventions aimed at improving motorcycle rider safety 7

8 Methodology (1) 240 participants were recruited in groups of ten participants, of which 228 eventually took part. Four locations in the UK: London, Bradford, Glasgow and North-West Wales. The areas were chosen to reflect a range of socio-economic variables and well as a mix of urban and rural environments. Within each area an attempt was made to recruit 60 participants into one of six groups, with ten participants in each group, selected in response to include different road user groups, life-stages and attitudes to risk. 8

9 Methodology (2) In each of the locations, groups were comprised as follows: –Group 1: Young male drivers –Group 2: Those who drive for work aged –Group 3: Those with children under the age of 16 –Group 4: Older people (55+) –Group 5: Younger working people with no children yet –Group 6: Individuals with different attitudes to risk. Assigned based on a screening questionnaire (Musselwhite, 2006) continuous risk takers (Bradford) unintentional risk takers (North-West Wales) reactive risk takers (London) calculated risk takers (Glasgow) 9

10 Methodology (3) Participants were reconvened in three different workshops, each in turn exploring views on risk; the relationships between different road users; and policy interventions to promote road safety, in terms of perceived effectiveness and fairness. Within each group, participants were also recruited to comprise a mix of car drivers, motorcycle riders, cyclists and non drivers. The project investigated a wide set of road user topics, but this paper concentrates on findings that relate to motorcyclists. 10

11 Findings (1): Perception of motorcycle safety: Motorcyclists were perceived as a group more likely to be at risk of accidents on the road. This was due to perceived behavioural characteristics of motorcyclists (‘thrill seekers’) coupled with the physical vulnerability and excessive speeds. Broad agreement - motorcycling is dangerous as a whole, but not all motorcyclists are necessarily risky riders. 11

12 Findings (2): Perception of motorcycle safety: The road as a competitive rather than a shared space Roads were seen as a space for cars viewed as competitive, particular in urban areas Car drivers did tend to recognise that there were at least two types of motorcycle rider, those who ride regularly and those who ride for leisure. The issue of ‘competitive space’ emerged between car drivers and motorcyclists Lack of mutual awareness and considerations between the two groups. 12

13 Findings (3): Motorcyclists themselves The motorcyclists themselves tended to admit that motorcycling was a risky activity. There was not much admittance of taking risks in other parts of life (were not more likely to smoke, engage in drug taking, drive cars fast or take part in risky sports). Definitions of safe riding largely centred on being able to skillfully handle the bike, and in addition, showing that they like to take risks, but that they feel in control of the risk, perhaps displaying calculated risk taking behavior “OK, yes, I do ride fairly fast and aggressively at times, but I know my limits and that of the bike. I don’t want to die!” (male, Bradford, group 5, motorcycle rider) 13

14 Findings (4): Empathy towards motorcyclists The calculated risk taking group showed considerable empathy towards motorcycle riders. Other groups emphasised their dangerous behaviour, citing over confidence in taking risks There was more empathy from those that had previously ridden, and from those with family or friends who rode, “My mate rides a 500cc (motorbike). He’s very careful but he still rides fast and gets ahead of the traffic. But he’s dead safe” (male, Bradford, group 5, non-motorcyclist) Least empathy came especially from females, especially those who had never ridden a motorcycle. 14

15 Findings (5): Reducing motorcycle fatalities interventions suggested by participants for improving motorcycle safety focused on engineering solutions Road conditions (maintenance of road surfaces, the potential use of high friction surfaces in areas where accidents were more likely to occur) Performance (limiting the top speed of bikes through manufacturing restrictions, increasing the protection that bikes could afford in an accident) Space: demarking a clear space for motorbikes on dangerous roads, such as a dedicated lane Concern that they may be potentially unpopular with other bike riders as it would tend to reduce the speed of bikes and the thrill of riding on the road. 15

16 Findings (6): Reducing motorcycle fatalities Education and enforcement Campaigns to increase awareness of motorbikes had been memorable, but there were still concerns as to the visibility of bikes on the road. It should be compulsory for cyclists to drive with their lights on and wear reflectors on helmets or other luminous clothing Urban speed limits to reduce collisions Greater penalties for perceived dangerous driving on bikes – such as weaving in and out of vehicles and switching lanes. speed cameras to enforce vehicle speeds at junctions - particularly if money raised was hypothecated for other engineering solutions such as road surfacing. 16

17 Discussion Investigate how to reduce competitive nature of road space between drivers and riders of motorcycles and a need to increase empathy and understanding. This can largely be done through training and perhaps shared training and education between drivers and riders. The importance of the social nature of traffic and transport Perceptions of road user safety do not sit within a vacuum. The findings are based in four areas of the GB and it is not really known how transferable they are Further international research must take place to address the perceptions of motorcycling and road user risk 17

18 Charles Musselwhite, Erel Avineri, Yusak Octavius Susilo Centre for Transport & Society University of the West of England, Bristol An in-depth Exploration into Public Attitudes towards Motorcyclists’ Safety Risks in the UK

19 Findings (7): Reducing motorcycle fatalities Proposed new measure – Risk Mapping Publish annual risk maps for main roads, showing different rates of serious and fatal accidents - for the public to see and local authorities to act on potentially effective for motorcyclists – particular as certain motorcyclists highlighted that they changed their driving behaviours and increased speed and took greater risks on these roads. concerns as to whether general publication of high risk routes would be effective - some road users and motorcyclists in particular would actively seek out the most dangerous roads to drive on. It was stated that the majority of people would not alter their route or change their driver or rider behaviour if they knew they were on a risky road. This was especially true for motorcycle riders who again felt they were able to control the risk, “Won’t make any difference to me. I’m well aware – if not hyper aware – of the risks when I’m riding. So statistics won’t help. I know what roads are safe and what I can do on them” (male, group 5, Glasgow, motorcyclist). greater impact would result if specific roads were highlighted when driving or riding through the location itself. information could also be fed into satellite navigation systems to mediate actual behaviour. 19


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