Biker News - Regularly updated

Welcome to our News section, where articles are listed below and if relevant within the categories on the right, just to make it easier for you to find what you wish to read...

Please note that the content within our News section (text and images), follows the same copyright laws/notice as all other content on the website - ie not to be reproduced (including slightly amending) without prior consent. 

 RSS Feed

Category: IAM RoadSmart

  1. Driving in the rain: tips from IAM RoadSmart

    Posted on

    With heavy rain forecasted for tomorrow, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, has put together some crucial advice to help you drive safely in the rain.

    Heavy rain:

    • Heavy rain will affect your visibility, so take it slow. Rule 126 of the Highway Code states that the braking distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you should be at least two seconds when driving on a dry road, and at least four seconds in the wet. It is even longer on icy surfaces. IAM RoadSmart recommends up to 10 times the braking distance when driving on ice.

    • Your windscreen should be clean, wipers effective and the jets positioned correctly and aimed at the screen. It is sensible to clean the windscreen, make any necessary adjustments and remove anything from the main area before you start your journey.

    • A good rule of thumb is that if you need windscreen wipers, then you need your headlights. Automatic light settings will not always activate in bad weather conditions, so it is up to you to make a sensible decision as to whether these need to be turned on.

    Aquaplaning:

    • If the water is standing in puddles on the road surface, your car is at risk of aquaplaning. Aquaplaning is where a wedge of water forms in front of the tyre and lifts it up off the road surface. This is caused by the tread not being able to displace the amount of water present. To recover from aquaplaning, ease gently off your accelerator, have a firm grip of the steering wheel and be sure not to make any sudden steering actions. The car will eventually regain its grip as the water clears.

    Floods:

    • First, ask yourself - can I take another route? If not, then you need to identify how deep the flood is. If the standing water is more than six inches deep, avoid driving through it. If you are familiar with the road, you can judge the flood in relation to the kerb.

    • If heavy rain was not the cause of the flood, then what was? And what impact on the road does it have? For example, if it is a burst water main, the standing water may look like a normal flood but the road surface beneath the water may be completely broken up. If you are unsure how the flood has formed, then avoid it altogether.

    • Are there other vehicles similar to yours that are safely driving through? From this, make a judgement call as to whether it is safe to travel through or not.

    • If the water is fast flowing, do not attempt to drive through it, as there is a real danger of your car being swept off the road.

    • If you have taken everything into consideration and decide to drive through the flood, be sure to do so slowly. The best approach is to press lightly on your clutch and add gentle pressure on your accelerator to increase your engine revs. Do so without increasing your speed, in a similar way to how you would undertake a hill start. This will prevent water from entering your exhaust. If you are in an automatic car, accelerate slightly but control the speed with your brakes. When you have passed the flood, test your brakes to make sure they are dry and working properly.

    • If you are in the slightest doubt, then turn around and don’t go through the flood. Often modern saloon cars have the air intake in the wheel arch, which may be below the water level. If your engine should take in water, it will immediately hydro lock and the engine will stop.

    • Remember to stay alert and avoid splashing pedestrians. If this is done accidentally - even when causing splashes when driving through puddles at the side of the road - you could receive a fixed penalty and three points on your license for driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users. If deliberately done, it could be a public order offence, a court appearance and a fine.

    Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards, said: “With the British weather the way it is, we should all be well practised at driving in the rain. Keeping your car maintained and the rubber (wipers and tyres) in good condition will help you stay safe. In the recent extremes, we have seen that standing water and floods are becoming more commonplace, so take extra care and if possible, avoid driving through standing water. If you’re in any doubt about the depth or surface underneath a flood, then it’s best not to take any chances.”

  2. AM RoadSmart concerned that government disruption has forced road safety down the political agenda...

    Posted on

    as new report show practically no change in casualty figures.

    IAM RoadSmart is increasingly concerned that disruption to government, in part caused by Brexit, has forced road deaths down the political agenda, as the latest road crash statistics issued today (26 September) show no real change in recent years.

    IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, has expressed disappointment that there has been practically no headway made in six years in the levels of those killed in road crashes on our roads.

    This morning the Department of Transport announced there were 1,784 reported road deaths in 2018, compared to 1,793 reported in 2017 – which, although being 1% down over the previous period, is in real terms only a disappointingly marginal reduction.

    There were 25,511 people seriously injured in reported road traffic accidents in 2018, compared to 24,831 in 2017 – a very discouraging 3% increase over 12 months.

    There were 160,597 people seriously injured in reported road traffic accidents in 2018, compared to 170,993 casualties of all severities a year ago.

    Although IAM RoadSmart welcomes this 6% reduction in overall casualties the charity feels it is not good enough.

    Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has swallowed up the attention of the decision makers for too long now, which means people are still dying on our roads at the same level as six years ago – as a developed nation, that is pretty disgraceful.

    “It is really time the government renews its commitment to this issue which is affecting all communities in society, young and old, and make sure we don’t continue to kill and injure people in ways that could so easily be prevented.”

    Neil added: “Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and it is clear that working in partnership to promote it is the key to returning to critical, long term downward trends. More incentives for post-test training, consistent enforcement of new motoring laws, accelerating the uptake of AEB (autonomous emergency braking) equipped cars and promoting best practice in driving for work are just a few examples of the quick gains that could be achieved.”

  3. Young driver and passenger deaths ‘swept under the carpet’ compared to knife crime and drugs, says IAM RoadSmart

    Posted on

    Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has called for the issue of deaths of young people in car crashes to be given equal attention to knife crime and drugs in government plans.

    The charity reiterated its call for tighter restrictions on young new drivers in response to the government’s research into how the number of serious and fatal crashes can be reduced.

    Friday saw IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest road safety charity, make its submission to a road safety inquiry by the House of Commons Transport Committee, which recently launched an investigation into ways of cutting the number of crashes involving those under 25.

    In its submission, Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “The risk factors are well known; lack of experience in all traffic conditions including rural roads, darkness and poor weather, distraction by peer passengers or mobile phone use and alcohol. 

    “Choosing restrictions to limit these risk factors should be the key objective of the government in creating a new graduated licensing system that is practical, affordable and effective in reducing young driver road deaths and injuries.”

    IAM RoadSmart is calling for a number of measures to be introduced which would tackle this tragic issue and ensure young drivers are less at risk when they take to the road for the first time:

    •        Road safety education should be part of the National Curriculum and theory and hazard perception training and testing should take place within the education system

    •        IAM RoadSmart supports a 12-month minimum learning period with an online learning log for learner drivers to complete prior to taking the practical test

    •        The practical driving test should include driving on high speed and rural roads

    •        IAM RoadSmart strongly supports the development of a post-test phase to the licensing system. After passing the practical test, refresher and eco-driving lessons must be taken before full license status is granted

    •        Alongside these interventions IAM RoadSmart supports graduated licence controls in the first months of driving to allow only one peer passenger (but no limit on older passengers) and a zero blood-alcohol limit

    •        IAM RoadSmart does not support night-time curfews on young drivers as they reduce opportunities to gain experience, impact on the economy and job prospects and raise problems of enforcement

    •        IAM RoadSmart is ready to provide its knowledge and expertise in developing the content of the minimum learning period and post-test interventions

    Neil added: “Successive governments have brushed this issue under the carpet which is disgraceful as road crashes are the biggest killer of young people today, yet it gets scant attention in terms of time and effort at the top level of government and in the media compared to knife crime or drugs.

    “It is time that the government took this seriously at last and show that it cares for the young people of the UK by supporting fundamental changes to save these valuable young lives.”

  4. IAM RoadSmart says control of hands-free mobile phone ‘long overdue'...

    Posted on

    but enforcement will be near impossible without new tech and more police.

    IAM RoadSmart says it’s time to bust the myth of multi-tasking behind the wheel, to ensure drivers are fully aware of how dangerous a hands-free mobile phone can be.

    With the report Road Safety: Driving While Using a Mobile Phone issued today (13 August) stating that “using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, with potentially catastrophic consequences,” IAM RoadSmart says there needs to be much stricter controls on the use of hands-free mobile phones in cars – and they remain a major distraction to the task of driving.

    However, the charity said that it cannot see how any ban can be enforced, with a lack of police numbers meaning drivers feel they won’t get caught.

    Today saw the House of Commons Transport Committee issue its report on the use of hands-free mobile phones with MPs calling for tougher restrictions, enforcement and education on the issue.

    Official statistics show that in 2017 there were 773 casualties; including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries, in collisions where a driver using a mobile phone was a contributory factor.

    The figures show that the number of people killed or seriously injured has risen steadily since 2011, however alarmingly the rate of enforcement has dropped by more than two-thirds since then.

    Two years ago, motorists caught using a hand-held phone have faced a punishment of six points on their licence and a £200 fine – a doubling of the previous penalty.

    Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “IAM RoadSmart strongly welcomed the House of Commons Transport Committee report as it fully confirms what we have known for some time – multi tasking is a myth and any form of smartphone use at the wheel is distracting.

    “Clarifying the law so that any use of a phone that involves holding it or placing in the driver’s lap is made illegal should be a top government priority. It doesn’t matter if it’s for music selection or social media updates, it all increases risk behind the wheel particularly for new drivers.

    “New laws and tougher penalties are welcome but will only work if the fear of being caught is increased. This can be done through more high-profile policing but could also given an immediate boost by issuing clear guidelines for the use of mobile speed cameras to prosecute any driver they spot with a phone to their ear. 

    “The final piece in the jigsaw for IAM RoadSmart would be a revamping of the mobile phone awareness course with every first offender being sent on one to see and feel the real impact of their behaviour.”

    He added: “Technology is changing however, and with the introduction of call blocking while in motion and other such measures, we would support the legislative change to ban hands-free to match hand-held.”

    IAM RoadSmart also called for the greater use of education campaigns to ensure drivers are aware of the risks of a hands-free call.

  5. Government’s Road Safety Action Plan ‘a disappointing mixed bag’ which doesn’t go far enough, say IAM RoadSmart

    Posted on

    IAM RoadSmart has called the government’s Road Safety Statement announced today (19 July) ‘a mixed bag’ with welcome news on road policing, pedestrian distraction and seatbelts, but a worrying lack of detail on younger and older drivers or motorcyclists.

    Today the government, as part of the statement, also confirmed a review of roads policing and traffic enforcement will be launched later this year.

    The two-year review will involve looking at how roads policing currently works and its effectiveness, where improvements could be made or any gaps that could be filled, plus how the police and different agencies work together and share information.

    IAM RoadSmart welcomes the focus on road policing. Mike Quinton, IAM RoadSmart Chief Executive Officer, said: “This is fantastic news as the lack of traffic officers is our members’ most common complaint. Creating new road safety laws and increasing penalties has little impact on safety unless they can be fully and rigorously implemented.”

    The commitment to some form of Graduated Driving Licence is welcome (with extra restrictions on young drivers and a lower blood alcohol limit) but the lack of any timetable for implementation is worrying.

    Mike said: “With young men under 25 being the biggest at-risk group when it comes to serious and fatal crashes and drink-driving, the promise of ‘more research’ is simply not enough.”

    One-fifth of new drivers are involved in a crash during their first year behind the wheel.

    Older drivers were also largely ignored in the review, with no concrete new proposals for the UK’s mature drivers. DVLA figures state that over 1 million drivers in the UK over 80 now hold a valid driving licence, and the number of drivers over 90 with a driving licence has now topped 100,000.

    Mike added: “There is a policy and action vacuum here while the demographic time bomb ticks away. There really needs to be a consultation on raising the license renewal age to 75 and adding an eye test – these are absolute essentials.

    “There also has to be a national debate on how we keep older drivers safe and independently mobile. For example, we would like to see voluntary assessments being promoted and prescribed by GPs.”

    IAM RoadSmart is pleased to see that a Rural Road Users’ Advisory Panel is to be set up.  This must make improving driver and rider behaviour on rural roads a top priority. IAM RoadSmart has called for the inclusion of rural roads as part of the driving test, along with support for refreshing rural driving and riding skills.  

    The continuation of THINK! education campaigns is also potentially good news for drivers and riders, but this promise must come with the funding to ensure these top-quality campaigns can be delivered effectively to the right audience.

    Mike said: “What is totally missing is any reference to motorcycling despite this being one of the four key areas that the statement was supposed to address.  As a minimum we had hoped that the unique road design needs of bikers, access to all bus lanes for motorbikes and encouragement of skill refresher schemes such as those produced by IAM RoadSmart and BikeSafe, would have been announced.” 

    He added with the rise in popularity of e-scooters, in-spite of their use being illegal on UK roads, there needs to be early action on regulation for training, and clarification and enforcement of the law.

    Mike said: “While this review is very welcome and has at least tackled the need for a visible police presence to deter bad road behaviour, there are many areas that have not been fully addressed. It really is a disappointingly mixed bag that will struggle to put our crash statistics back on a downward track.”

    He concluded: “We will keep pushing hard to make a difference for road safety in the UK and will not give up in campaigning for the initiatives that we believe will save lives on the road.”