MAG expresses deep disappointment with the DfT 2019 Road Safety Statement

The Department for Transport (DfT) published its 2019 Road Safety Statement and 2-year action plan on 19th July. The Motorcycle Action Group has been critical of what it sees as a lack of substance and ambition for motorcyclists’ safety.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling described the action plan as “a key milestone in our road safety work”. Including seventy four action points, the DfT describe the document as a major package of measures to reduce the number of people killed and injured on roads. In the foreword to the report, Road Safety Minister Michael Ellis states that the majority of their work for the next two years and respective actions are focused on the Department’s four priority road user groups – Young Road Users, Rural Road Users, Motorcyclists and Older Vulnerable Road Users.

The eight specific action points for motorcyclists are:

  • Continue to promote the importance of helmets and their correct usage through the DfT SHARP programme.
  • In response to a consultation, DVSA will explore the possibility of developing a package of measures to improve the motorcycle training regime once Parliamentary time allows.
  • Promote DVSA’s Enhanced Rider Scheme and increase the uptake of post-test motorcycle training.
  • Develop a training framework/syllabus to encourage riders who complete CBT but do not go on to take full test training to undertake further training.
  • Work with the motorcycle industry to explore how to encourage the use of protective equipment, and furthermore explore the scope for new protective equipment for vulnerable road users that can reduce post-crash collision severity.
  • Commission a review of the behaviour of drivers and riders in The Gig Economy.
  • Highways England to deliver safety advice to leisure riders.
  • Funding RoSPA to deliver an online guide on how to organise and conduct group motorcycle ride-outs.

Commenting on the report MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, commented: “I have not had time to fully digest the report, but on the surface this appears to be yet another disappointing demonstration of the absence of real passion when it comes to motorcycling. The action points are simply more of the same or, worse still, promises to take action ‘when parliamentary time allows’. This is simply not good enough. Where are the fresh ideas? Where is the urgency? If the safety of motorcyclists really is a priority, make parliamentary time.”

Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik, said “Honestly, I think a bunch of bikers spending an evening in the pub could have come up with an action plan that would have greater impact than this so-called package. We need the road safety community to take a step back and agree to really commit to motorcycle safety rather than just issuing a few more advice leaflets.”

Colin Brown pointed out: “Just the other day the DVSA revealed the top ten reasons for car drivers to fail their test. The top two were drivers failing to look properly at junctions and not using mirrors when changing lanes. The same release admitted that 39% of accidents are the result of a driver failing to look properly. As vulnerable road users we need to see real action to raise the standards of driving; simply focusing on training and safety gear for the victim is not going to cut it.”

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