Survey hightlights motorbike dangers

IF you ride a motorcycle on Suffolk's roads you are 25 times more likely to be killed or injured in an accident than if you are behind the wheel of a car.

IF you ride a motorcycle on Suffolk's roads you are 25 times more likely to be killed or injured in an accident than if you are behind the wheel of a car.

That is the chilling finding of a new county council survey into roads in the county.

Motorcycles represent 5.2 per cent of the registered vehicles in Suffolk, but they are used much less than cars.

Only one per cent of vehicle miles on the county's roads were completed on two wheels during 2004, but a quarter of those killed or injured had been using motorcycles.

The government is encouraging more people to use motorcycles because they are more fuel efficient than cars and cause less congestion, but the safety statistics are a matter of concern for the county council.

And an extra 15,000 motorcycles are expected to be registered in the county within the next 20 years.

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Jeff Stone from the British Motorcycle Federation was not surprised to hear the statistics, but felt most of the danger came from other road users.

He said: “There are many dangers around for motorcyclists, and they don't have the protection that other road users have. They don't have air bags or crumple zones to protect them.

“As a motorcyclist you do have to have your wits about you and be able to anticipate dangers, especially cars pulling out in front of you.

“In urban environments between 65 and 70 pc of accidents involving motorcycles are caused by other vehicles, although that is no consolation if you've been injured.”

One factor that has been blamed for the increase in motorcycle accidents is the phenomenon of “born again bikers” who have not ridden motorcycles for several years and take up the hobby again in their 40s or 50s.

Mr Stone said: “There is the factor there that the brain has got slower but the bikes have got faster and these people do need to be aware of the dangers there are on today's roads.”

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