Since 2005 Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, has seen an alarming 57% increase in the number of bodily injury claims made against motorcyclists. The insurer has also seen motorcycle claims costs increase by 51% in the same period, with the insurer’s statistics indicating that this is a consequence of more riders carrying pillion passengers.
Motorcycle accidents remain a major concern for road safety groups. Motorcyclists account for 34% of fatalities on our nation’s roads while only accounting for 1% of the overall traffic.
Nigel Bartram, Aviva motoring expert, said: “These are certainly sobering statistics. We believe that the upturn in bike claims, particularly bodily injury claims, is a consequence of more riders opting to carry pillion passengers. Congestion and fuel costs are certainly issues of concern for all motorists, so taking the bike out rather than the car can save on time and money. However, carrying a passenger can affect the way a bike handles in relation to stopping distance, cornering and steering, so we are advising riders to take extra care, and to seek expert help if not completely confident.”
Iain Temperton, team manager for Casualty Reduction at Norfolk County Council, said: “It is a sad fact that a large proportion of rider fatalities in Norfolk are caused by rider error. Carrying a passenger can make the challenge of riding a bike more difficult and I would urge all riders to take any opportunity to enhance their skills. Courses are available via local Constabularies or local authority Road Safety teams.”
Before taking a pillion passenger out on a bike, Aviva is advising riders:
It’s essential that the passenger has a British standards approved crash helmet and they should be wearing the correct attire.
Their bike is adjusted to accommodate a passenger with regards to suspension, tyre pressure and mirrors
Their passenger takes up the correct position on the bike, acting as a neutral load, not compromising the balance of the rider.
Nigel Bartram continued: “Now that summer is here more bikers will be taking to the roads. We are trying to raise awareness that, whilst biking can be a liberating and extremely enjoyable experience, it is still a vulnerable activity that requires acute awareness of risks and hazards that are associated with travelling on two wheels.”