Detailed analysis of over 1600 motorcycle insurance claims by Groupama Insurances, one of the UK’s largest motorcycle insurers, has proved categorically that other road users are the main cause of motorcycle accidents. Refuting the suggestion that loss of control on bends is the main cause of motorcycle deaths, as claimed on the BBC programme ‘How Safe are Britain’s Roads?, last year, Groupama has found that 4 out of 5 motorcycle accidents are actually caused by other road users. Of all the claims analysed, none was caused by loss of control on a bend.
The findings will be welcomed by the many motorcyclists who expressed outrage at being unjustly accused of poor driving skills shortly after the programme aired. Many were frustrated at the missed opportunity to communicate the danger other road users pose to those driving and riding pillion on motorcycles, and more importantly, what motorists can do to reduce the risk of accidents.
Groupama conducted in-depth analysis of 1679 motorcycle insurance claims made during July and September 2012 – the peak time of year for claims. They found that the main cause of accidents on motorcycles is other road users either changing direction or emerging from a junction, inducing a collision. Rather than motorcyclists being their own worst enemy, as portrayed by the programme, it is other road users who are their biggest hazard. Of all the claims reviewed, 11 resulted in the death of the policyholder. Of this number, loss of control was the cause of the accident for 3 policyholders. None had lost control on a bend.
Darren Wills, Claims Director for Groupama Insurances said: “ ‘How Safe are Britain’s Roads?’ prompted heated discussion on online motorcyclist forums. As a leading motorcycle insurer with a specialist motorcycle claims team dealing with the unhappy consequences of accidents day in day out, we were immediately sceptical about the statements made on the programme. They claimed that the majority of deaths happen on rural roads with loss of control on bends being the most common cause. This simply didn’t correlate with the claims we receive and as one of the largest insurers of motorcyclists in the UK, we have a very accurate picture of the real causes of motorcycle claims. We therefore launched a project to analyse the cause of every claim we received during the peak summer period.”
Of the 1679 claims analysed 81% included a third party/liability aspect – that is, where the accident involved another vehicle. Just 19% were single vehicle accidents. Of those that included a third party/liability aspect, 44% resulted in the policyholder pursuing a claim against the third party for personal injury.