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Motorcycle safety strategies in North East Scotland.

Hood, Caroline



Although representing less than 1% of all road users, motorcyclists accounted for 7% of all casualties on Scotland's roads in 2019. Moreover, data from 2019 shows that across Scotland there has been little reduction in fatal or all serious motorcycle casualties compared to the 2004-08 average. As a consequence of their over representation in Scottish road collisions and fatalities, motorcyclists are rightly acknowledged as being vulnerable road users and key targets in ongoing road safety campaigns. The distinct characteristics of motorcycling and motorcycles, and their inherent difference from cars and driving, are cited as potential contributors to this risk of being involved in a serious collision or fatal accident. Reductions in road safety resources and activity, particularly in the fields of educational inputs and data analysis, mean longer-term evaluation can make an important contribution to the underlying policy for continued investment in motorcycle-specific casualty reduction strategies, and will inform, develop, and improve existing policy. Furthermore, successful casualty reduction strategies can contribute to wider public health goals of preventing premature death and injury among vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists. The initiatives evaluated during this research project are those motorcycle-specific road safety initiatives operated by Police Scotland, the former Grampian Police, and Aberdeenshire Council across North East Scotland. The various approaches taken by these initiatives have sought to: (a) positively influence the road-using behaviour of motorcyclists; (b) raise awareness of their road-based vulnerabilities; (c) highlight specific road-based motorcycle risks; (d) increase skill levels - with the goal of changing behaviours and leading to reductions in both the number of motorcycle-involved road traffic collisions and related fatal and serious injuries. This aim of the research is to evaluate motorcycle-specific road safety initiatives in the North East of Scotland. The research has three objectives. Objective 1 was to bring together existing data, policy and background information held by Police Scotland and agencies involved with the North East Scotland Road Casualty Reduction Strategy on targeted motorcycle safety initiatives deployed by Grampian Police/Police Scotland in the North East of Scotland, specifically Operation Zenith/Bike Safe and Rider Refinement North and engineering approaches including targeted road signage. Objective 2 was to apply this data to an analysis of the effectiveness of targeted road safety campaigns on motorcycle safety in the North East of Scotland. Based on this initial analysis, Objective 3 was to propose research-based objectives capable of influencing the development of road safety initiatives in the North East of Scotland and identify future areas of research. The research has established that several key themes were influential in the effectiveness of road safety initiatives designed to reduce motorcyclists' involvement in serious and fatal collisions: 1) Motorcycling, self, and identity; 2) Stigma and being an 'out-group'; 3) The role of other road users; 4) Approach to risk; 5) External factors – road surface conditions; 6) Structure of future initiatives.


HOOD, C. 2021. Motorcycle safety strategies in North East Scotland. Aberdeen: Robert Gordon University [online]. Available from:

Report Type Project Report
Publication Date Oct 19, 2021
Deposit Date Oct 19, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 19, 2021
Publisher Robert Gordon University
Keywords Road safety; Motorcycle safety; Motorcycling; Scotland
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