Safer Bikers: Information for Motorists and Bikers

Information for Motorists


video courtesy THINK!
Biker’s leathers and powerful bikes can lead some car drivers to believe the stereotype that all motorcyclists are speed freaks, taking risks and riding dangerously.  This could not be further from the truth. Most motorcyclists are safe and considerate road users whatever their reason for riding, and want to get home safely to their families as much as the next person.


Motorcyclists represent only 3% of traffic on our roads with an increase during rush hours, periods of fine weather and holiday weekends, but as a car driver you should always be alert to motorbikes, and the hazards their riders may face.


  • Expect the unexpected
  • Check your mirrors and your blind spots before turning
  • Also check for motorcyclists when getting out of your car
  • Oncoming motorcycles can easily be hidden by other vehicles and obstructions such as lamp posts and road signs so stay alert and always THINK BIKE!
  • A motorcycle is not driven in the same way as a car. Its size, manoeuvrability and ability to accelerate quickly allow the rider to take advantage of spaces which other traffic would not consider
  • It is difficult to judge the speed at which a motorcyclist is travelling so don’t make assumptions, especially at junctions
  • They can also decelerate quickly, and this reduction in speed may not always be accompanied by a brake light.  Be alert to a motorbike overtaking you at speed, and rejoining the traffic ahead at a lesser speed
  • Leave plenty of space when overtaking motorcyclists. They may need to move out unexpectedly to avoid an obstruction in the road.


Information for Bikers


Many road users fail to fully understand motorcycling and little more what motivates a rider to do so.


Motorcyclists, especially those who are advanced trained, will need to use road space for safety, stability and further observations but this can be a mystery to other road users and may even be perceived as aggressive. Couple this with stereotyping based on common, but mostly incorrect, beliefs and it can lead to friction between those concerned.


Attempts are being made to educate drivers but it is clear that they might not always expect the sudden appearance of a motorcycle. It is therefore necessary for a rider to ride defensively in order to be safe.


We are encouraging car drivers to show consideration to bikers and, in return, we are asking that bikers continue to use the road safely and with awareness for other users.


For your own safety

  • Never be influenced by the exhilaration of excessive speed or irresponsible group riding.

  • Expect the unexpected; never trust that someone has noticed you even if they are looking in your direction.  Your speed and position, coupled with drivers multi-tasking and obstructions to view, may mean that you are not as visible as you think.
  • In urban areas – take particular care at junctions and when filtering.
  • In rural areas – take particular care on bends, at junctions and when overtaking
  • Never commit to an overtake without complete confidence that you are able to complete the manoeuvre safely and without inconvenience to others.
  • You are for more vulnerable on a bike than in a car so you need to take full advantage of anything to reduce the risk. Any impact of speed in excess of just 20mph is medically proven likely to cause significant injury. You can reduce that risk by being properly kitted up.
  • Always purchase the best kit you can afford. Your insurance company may reduce any claim if they consider there has been wilful negligence with regard to clothing.
    • Particular attention should be given to the head and spine.
    • Helmets do not have to be the most expensive to be of the required standard.
    • Ensure your helmet and strap are fitted correctly. A helmet can come off due to sudden forces if not properly fitting or secured by a poorly adjusted strap.
    • Always be sure that you have clear and unobstructed vision. Visors should be of EU standard, to ensure they are not of poor quality and likely to shatter easily.
    • Hands instinctively reach out if you are thrown off a bike, and could sustain a serious injury if not protected with quality motorcycle gloves.
    • Feet and ankles need to be protected with strong boots. Even a stone thrown up could cause a problem if the wrong footwear is used.
    • It is easy for a driver to fail to notice an approaching motorcycle, so make sure you are clearly visible. This may involve wearing bright clothing, along with consideration of your road position, and the use of your lights or horn when appropriate.


Motorcycle riding requires a high level of skill and concentration if the rider is going to ensure full control associated with stability, acceleration and external influences when cornering.


Want to know more?
bike safe logoBikeSafe workshops offer vital information on how to realise your potential, whilst increasing your skill, as well as an on road demonstration and assessment. The workshops are fully subsidised for any rider with a full motorcycle licence, regardless of residency.


Whether you passed your bike test six months ago, six years ago or, indeed, twenty-six years ago, you can always improve your level of skill to make your riding not only safer but also more enjoyable.
Click here to find out more about BikeSafe