Headlines: June 6th, 2005

Special website pages have been developed to improve the safety of Britain’s motorcyclists. The ‘Handle It or Lose It’ site also allows bikers to report problems they experience on the road and to plan their routes. Information provided by the riders will be passed to local authorities.The pages have been created by the Highways Agency and will allow riders to see where, and learn why, most motorbike accidents happen. The site features an electronic reporting facility where bikers themselves can highlight where they have come off their bikes. The new features have been launched as part of a nationwide effort to cut the number of motorcyclists who are killed or seriously injured in accidents.

The first development is `Your route to a better ride’, a system using Multi Map technology to overlay motorbike crash data on to detailed maps. It uses symbols to represent fatal or serious injuries. A third symbol displays information relating to bends or junctions where riders have had difficulties or collided with other vehicles.

The ‘Where did you go down?’ feature invites riders to share their experiences of problem roads online as a warning to others. This information is then passed on to the relevant local highway authorities. The aim is to encourage the authorities to consider engineering or maintenance work for the specific routes that cause riders problems.The new website features will be promoted by using a special trailer, which will be taken to a series of bike events. At the same time leaflets encouraging bikers to use the site will also be available through local motorcycle dealers.

Stuart Lovatt, Road Safety Action Plan Co-ordinator for the Highways Agency, said the object was to reach the more mature, leisure bikers who seemed to be involved in an unusually high number of accidents. Mike Robinson, Head of Engineering and Transportation at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, who has been a sports bike rider for ten years, said he had been impressed by the methods used in the ‘Handle It or Lose It’ campaign as they showed a clear understanding of the target audience.