Biker Down Conference Will Seek To Set Standards

The 2016 National Biker Down Conference will be held in Stevenage on the 7th of October and there are still places available for road safety professionals wishing to attend.

Originally developed by Kent Fire & Rescue Service, Biker Down provides bikers with advice about what to do if a fellow rider comes off their bike.

The free-to-attend course covers scene management, first aid and how bikers can make themselves more visible to other road users. Biker Down is currently being delivered by 24 fire & rescue teams across the UK.

In 2012 Biker Down gained a coveted Prince Michael International Road Safety Award and a year later it received a National ‘Alarm’ Award.

The 2016 Conference aims to help set standards for all Biker Down teams and fire & rescue services across the UK.

At present, 20 different fire services will be represented at the event along with a number of road safety partnerships and representatives from IAM RoadSmart.

For more information or to register interest in attending the conference, which is being held at the Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service Training Centre, contact Jim Sanderson on 01622 692121 or via email.

IAM RoadSmart stages its first ever female-only bike skills day next month

IAM RoadSmart stages its first ever female-only bike skills day next month

IAM RoadSmart is staging its first ever riding skills day for female bikers only, focusing on handling, skills development and getting the most from their riding. The day will focus on individuals’ own development goals and all levels of ability and experience are welcome.

The women only riding day takes place at Thruxton circuit in Hampshire on 19 September and you don’t need to be an IAM RoadSmart member to take part.

Amanda Smith, IAM RoadSmart, head of field service delivery, said: “Our members have been asking for a women-only skills day so they could learn skills at their own pace with like-minded follow bikers. We were more than happy to provide this.

“This day is for all female riders who want to improve their skills whilst also having some fun.”

Subjects covered on the day will include:

• Vanishing points, entry, apex and exit points, how they vary from road to circuit, why and how we use them, where we should position for view, progress and safety together with braking

• Where to brake, when and how much to brake, how it feels in an emergency and finishing on accelerator (throttle) application to set the balance of the bike for controlled smooth cornering

• Gear selection – how to decide which is the most appropriate gear for the circumstances and control

• How to use the accelerator/throttle to add stability to the bike when entering corners, blipping or constant accelerator techniques when changing down gears.

Place on this skills day are £135 each and can be booked by calling 0300 303 1134. Family and friends are also welcome as spectators. Please note this is not a racing day and attendees will be required to bring their own bike to take part.

2015 Collision Data Plotted On Online Map

A free web mapping service which shows details of road collisions and casualties across Britain now includes data for 2015 which was only released a month ago by DfT.

Developed by Buchanan Computing – a specialist supplier of software, training and web mapping for traffic professionals – can be used without the need for registration.

Buchanan Computing says that while collision data is made available to the public by the Government, it is presented in a format that is ‘difficult to visually interpret’. In contrast, it says that ‘provides everyone the ability to have free access to this important dataset in an understandable format’.

Whether it be the whole of Great Britain or an individual street, users can locate their chosen area and view data which goes back to 2011.

The map, which is colour coded, includes filters by date range and severity classification. Details available include type of collision, how many vehicles were involved and the number of casualties.

Published on 30 June, the new DfT figures show that 1,732 people were killed in reported road traffic accidents in Great Britain in 2015 – the second lowest number on record after 2013.

Although the 2015 figure represents a decrease of 43 fatalities (or 2.4%) from 2014, the DfT says this can be attributed to ‘natural variation’.

The DfT says in statistical terms the number of fatalities has remained unchanged since 2011. However, there were 45% fewer fatalities in 2015 than a decade earlier in 2006 and 4% fewer than the 2010-14 average.

Fleet experts learn hard truths about the bottom line impact of crashes

Transport industry fleet managers were gathered together recently by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart to learn more about the true costs of business-related road crashes – and were shocked to discover the impact these collisions could have on their profits.

Representatives from blue-chip companies including Cannon Hygiene and Pest Control, Belron UK and the National Service for Health Improvement (NHSI), attended the second gathering of the Business Customer Advisory Group (BCAG), hosted by IAM RoadSmart.

In 2013, 1,731 people lost their lives in Great Britain (reference 1) in road traffic crashes with one-third of all crashes involving people on a business-related journey (reference 2). Managers at the gathering felt that businesses are unaware of just how expensive a crash can be – and the ‘ripple’ effect of how that cost keeps increasing.

To appreciate just how expensive to a business those ripples can be, the group which meets regularly to identify issues and debate solutions, was addressed by a leading road risk management specialist who lifted the lid on the real bottom line costs of a business-related crash, which include lost productivity, late deliveries, brand damage and high staff turnover.

Lesley Upham, IAM RoadSmart commercial director, said: “The true cost of a crash was a revelation to everyone at the meeting. A crash is not just about vehicle damage – it can affect company reputation and at worst result in a fatality and a corporate manslaughter fine.

“The impact on profits is far greater than many businesses might imagine. As the roads get more crowded and the pressures on employees increase, the commercial sector knows it cannot afford to bury its head in the sand and is looking for targeted, preventative intercessions.”

To support this requirement and building on its new business portfolio “Driving for Work” IAM RoadSmart used the BCAG meeting to preview a new range of driver safety course modules including motorway driving and vehicle management.

Half-a-million drivers and riders can’t be wrong!

Half-a-million people have taken IAM RoadSmart’s advanced test for car or bike over the past six decades – that’s as the leading UK road safety charity reaches its 60th anniversary this week.

The advanced driving and riding courses are regarded as two of the most comprehensive post-test courses in the UK and have been definitively shown to improve driving and riding skills.

Current figures show that around 500,000 people have taken the charity’s advanced courses to date in the UK.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) as it was known until earlier this year was established in 1956, based on the police’s Roadcraft manual. At that point annual road death figures in the UK stood at 5,000 a year.

In 1962 the IAM introduced the first test for commercial vehicle drivers and 1986 saw it launch fleet training for businesses. In 1994 it enrolled its 250,000th member.

The advanced test assists drivers and riders in becoming more aware of other road users, how to adapt to different conditions, to read the road ahead, and enjoy driving and riding more.

Independent research revealed 70% of those who received driver coaching showed significantly better skills in key areas such as cornering, speeding and hazard anticipation.

Today slightly over 1,700 people are year are killed on UK roads – a figure IAM RoadSmart is determined to reduce further by helping to improve the road skills of private and commercial drivers and riders and by its lobbying work within government.

Nigel Mansell CBE, IAM RoadSmart president and 1992 Formula 1 World Champion said: “The real heroes of the road are those who show that skill, precision and flair on everyday roads while doing it for the safety of themselves and those around them.

“Taking the advanced driver or rider course turns good drivers into great drivers. Those who have chosen to take their skills to the next level show they have commitment and staying power. They are the real champions.”

Earlier in the year the Institute of Advanced Motorists rebranded to become IAM RoadSmart as it prepares for the next 60 years and to appeal to the next generation of drivers.

IAM RoadSmart recently appointed the Under 17 Car Club as an accredited course provider. Getting the good driving message should come long before a young person reaches their 17th birthday.

For more information about the advanced driver course click here:

Currently IAM RoadSmart is offering a 10% discount off the Advanced Driver Course simply by calling 0300 303 1134 and quoting the reference RACE10. All bookings made this way will also be entered into a prize draw to win an exciting session for two on a racing simulator at Base Performance Simulators in Banbury.

Subsidised Motorcycle Rider Skills Workshops at the British Motor Museum

Thanks to a grant from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, the British Motor Museum is able to offer subsidized places on its forth coming Motorcycles Rider Skills Workshops. The grant has enabled the Museum to subsidize each place by £40, so from £90 to £50 per rider, with the next workshops running on 30 July, 13 August and 27 August.

The workshops are designed to make motorcycle riding safer and more enjoyable. They are run by ex-police instructors and advanced police riders as well as senior observers from both RoSPA and IAM, all of whom were previously involved in the Warwickshire Polices BikeSafe initiative. The workshops explore the main riding hazards that bikers face, helping improve riders skills, knowledge and hazard awareness.

The workshops include both classroom and open road sessions, covering observations, hazard perception, anticipation and planning, cornering and overtaking. Riders will also have their riding assessed out on the open road. In addition to this, lunch and free entry to the British Motor Museum is also included within the £50 workshop fee.

Neil Colledge, Workshop Instructor from the British Motor Museum and former head of the Warwickshire BikeSafe initiative said “This grant shows how seriously the risk to bikers is taken. Each year hundreds of motorcyclists are killed or seriously injured on our roads. Our workshops are run by bikers, for bikers! They are about learning to assess your riding strengths and weakness, allowing you to improve your riding skills and enable you to get the most out of your machines in a safe and responsible way”.

For more information about the motorcycle rider skills workshops please visit or call 01926 645056.

Defensive riding

The following are the most common type of motorbike accidents:


A large number of motorbike accidents occur at junctions, where a vehicle pulls out from a side road. Remember that as a biker, the width of your motorbike is much less than a car, you are therefore significantly less visible to other road users.

Consider wearing reflective clothing and always ride with your lights on dipped headlight, it gives other motorists the best possible chance of seeing you. Always consider the line of sight that the motorist has and adopt a road position so the emerging vehicle will have the best visibility of you.

Remember a motorist may have a door pillar obscuring their view, so adopt your gear and speed early to anticipate their next move.


This distinction between overtaking and filtering can become clouded in litigation cases and is often open to interpretation based on the evidence available.

  • Filtering is best described as ‘passing slower moving traffic whilst occupying the same traffic lane as the vehicle in which you’re moving past’. Usually approaching a junction, roundabout or road works. It should always be done at a speed relative to that of the slower vehicle, allowing you to stop if the unexpected happens. If you are involved in a motorbike accident whilst filtering it is likely that you would be apportioned a % of the blame in the accident, the % is determined by your speed and actions at the time immediately prior to the accident.
  • Overtaking is best described as ‘moving out past the line of traffic, to accelerate past a vehicle before checking that it’s safe to rejoin the traffic lane’.
    Always look ahead as well as behind and around you (lifesaver look), indicate your intentions and adjust your speed by accelerating smoothly. Do not overtake at a junction or near a blind bend and look out for hazards which may cause another driver to change their behaviour or direction.


It should come as no surprise that this type of road traffic accident occur regularly in the countryside as a result of riders losing control of their motorcycle. Always negotiate a bend at a speed appropriate for your experience and in accordance with law.

Plan ahead and be aware of your surroundings. As well as chevrons, look at the positioning of trees and telegraph poles. Again, adopt the correct gear and ask yourself whether you would be able to stop safely on your side of the road if something unexpected happened?

Bike condition

Always ensure your motorcycle is well maintained and roadworthy, before riding always check the condition of your brakes, lights and indicators, tyre pressures and tread, chain tensioning, and suspension settings.

A poorly maintained bike can potentially be more serious and life threatening than a poorly maintained car.

Know Your Legal Rights – Driving Offences

Penalties Fixed penalty speeding is categorised by the courts as follows:

Driving Endorsement Codes

SP10 = Excess speed – Goods vehicles
SP20 = Excess speed – Non goods/ passenger vehicles
SP30 = Excess speed – Private cars and motorcycles
SP40 = Excess speed – Passenger service vehicles i.e. buses
SP50 = Excess Motorway speed limit
SP60 = Excess miscellaneous speeding offences i.e. exceeding temporary speed restriction

Note: These are the codes that appear as endorsements on driving licences in relation to speed. They are not the same as the police codes on your ‘ticket’, but they are the ones that appear on your licence. The two differing codes should not be confused.

The primary legislation imposing speed limits is the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Broadly this deals with the following:-

Section 14 – The powers of traffic authorities to make temporary speed limits by order where roadworks are proposed or being undertaken, where the road is dangerous or litter clearing or cleaning up operations are being undertaken.
Section 17 – Powers to impose speed limits on “special roads” – eg motorways
Section 81 – The speed limit on restricted roads is 30mph – ie a road with a street light every 200 yards, or that has been designated as a restricted road and fined as such. In the absence of signage where the road would otherwise, higher limit, the road is to be treated as a restricted road.
Section 88 – Secretary of State has power to impose temporary speed limits.
Section 89 – There is a general offence of contravening any speed limit made under any legislation – A number of prosecutions have been defended successfully on the basis that the imposition of speed limits was unlawful because the necessary orders were not in place

Fixed Penalties

Applies to the more minor offences. If you readily admit the offence without the need for the issue of a summons, then the penalty is less. However, penalty points (as well as fines) can still apply.

Drink/driving or a dangerous driving conviction will result in an automatic 12-month ban, for repeat offenders or high alcohol levels it may be longer. Two drink driving offences within 10 years could get you a three-year ban. Please be aware that Doctors can now take blood to test from unconscious or incapacitated drivers without their consent.

Totting up under the totting up scheme

Points generally last for three years; however, after disqualification, you cannot apply for a new licence until the end of the fourth year. In other circumstances, points can last longer: 11 years from date of conviction for offences relating to drink /drugs and driving, such as causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink/ drugs and causing death by careless driving then failing to provide a specimen for analysis 4 years from date of conviction for reckless/dangerous driving and offences resulting in disqualification.

If you are in any doubt in regard to a prosecution involving a driving offence then seek independant legal advice.

Motorcycling – The Facts

Motorcyclists are 57 times more likely to be injured in serious or fatal crashes than car drivers.

The Department for Transport has published statistics on road casualties in accidents reported to the police in Great Britain in 2009, according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Key results

  • There were 472 motorcycle user fatalities in 2009, 4% lower than 2008. The number reported as seriously injured fell by 4% to 5,350. Total reported motorcycle user casualties fell by 4% to 20,703 in 2008. Motorcycle traffic rose by 2% over the same period. The all motorcycle user casualties figure for 2009 of 20,703 is 4% lower than in 2008.
  • There were 163,554 road accidents reported to the police involving personal injury in 2009, 4 per cent fewer than in 2008.  Of these, 21,997 accidents involved serious injuries, 5 percent fewer than in 2008 (23,121).

Injuries to motorcyclists are far out of proportion to their presence on our roads. Motorcyclists are just 1% of total road traffic, but account for 19% of all road user deaths. (Source: Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2008).

Typically around three-quarters (75%) of motorcycle KSIs (killed or seriously injured) occur in collisions involving another vehicle (usually a car). In 2008, just over half (51%) occurred in collisions at junctions, with the remainder of KSIs occurring either in crashes with other vehicles away from junctions (24%) or in single vehicle incidents (25%) .

A report by the National Highway Traffic Administration states that between 1975 and 1999, motorcycle accidents claimed the lives of 38,000 motorcyclists. The Fatality Analysis Reporting System has analyzed possible reasons for the increasing accidents. Some causal factors include the following: rural roads, high percentage of alcohol content in blood, night driving (which accounts for 60% of fatalities), vision problems, and undivided roadways, among. Weather does not account for most accident cases.

Know Your Legal Rights – Helmets

Helmets are compulsory and must be marked BS 6658 1985 or UN/ECE 22-05. A sidecar driver and pillion passenger must wear a helmet but sidecar passengers do not require a helmet. Trike regulations are more complex. Trike riders or passengers may have to wear a helmet and some may even have to wear seat belts depending on vehicle licensing classification. Such variables such as weight and whether you sit astride or in a seat are factors that have to be considered. You should check with the DVLC to find the correct classification.


To be legal they must conform to BS 4110, which ensures a level of scratch resistance and permits up to 50% light transmittance. Any other visors are illegal but sunglasses, tear-offs and inner wrap-arounds are permitted.

Pillion Passengers

There is no age limit but must be able to place both feet on the pillion footrests.


Headlights must show a white light or yellow tint, any other colour is illegal. The headlight bulb must not be above 55 watts but there is no limit to the number of headlamps on bikes constructed or registered after 1984. Before 1985 there is no limit and there is no requirement for it to have an E-stamp marked on it.
Indicators are not a legal requirement but if fitted they must work.

Number Plates

Number plates must conform to BS AU 145a or from 1st September 2001, to BS AU 145d: They must have black characters on yellow background Only the authorised font, or something substantially similar is permitted.


Height: 64mm.

Width: 44mm.

Stroke width: 10mm.

Space between characters: 10mm.

Space between groups: 30mm.

Top, side and bottom margin: 11mm.

Symbols/Emblems: the Euro Stars with GB is the only permitted symbol on UK numberplates.

New plates from 1st September 2001 must carry the makers’ name/trademark or other means of ID of maker, plus name and postcode of supplying outlet. Black background plates with white or silver letters are only legal on pre 1st January 1973 machines.


Silencers All replacement silencers/exhausts must, for road use, be marked as follows: EU e mark or UNECE E mark e.g. e11 or E11 and an approval number e.g. 007 or BS AU 193/T2 or BS AU 193a:1990/T2 or BS AU 193a 1990/T3 or an international mark that is equivalent to BS or Pre 1985 MC Only. If marked NOT FOR ROAD USE it is not road-legal.


Speedometers must be marked in mph. A conversion sticker on the face of the speedometer for kph clocks is acceptable.

VED (Tax) Discs

It is not sufficient for your bike just to be taxed, the tax disc must also be displayed in front of the rider on the nearside.

VED (Tax) Exemption

All vehicles first registered on or before 1st January 1973 are exempt.


Must have tread depth of at least 1mm across three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and in a continuous band around the entire circumference.

Tyres are your only point of contact with the road surface. You cannot neglect the condition of your Tyres. If you do you could endanger not only yourself and your passengers, but also other road users. recommends that you check the condition of your Tyres regularly (at least weekly).

A Nationwide Survey (Tyre Industry Council, 2002) showed that almost 27% of vehicles had tyres with tread depths of less than 2mm. It is accepted that tyre performance and in particular braking in the wet, deteriorates dramatically below 2mm. Approximately 12% of vehicles actually had illegal tyres.

Why should you check your tyres?

Did you know that you are not insured when driving on illegal tyres? Worn tyres significantly impede the performance of your vehicle. Do not forget that a worn tyre reduces the effectiveness of braking, steering, and acceleration. What are a few minutes put aside now to check your tyres, when you compare it to your own safety?

What should you check?

The Tyre Industry Council have devised a five point tyre check:

  • Check overall condition of tyres, including inner and outer sidewalls.
  • Check tyre tread depth.
  • Check all tyre pressures.
  • Check signs of irregular wear, i.e. alignment.

Check and examine the spare tyre.