Information from 717 police files of accidents involving motorcyclists in which there was a fatality have been examined to establish the main factors that caused them. A high proportion of the accidents where a motorcyclist was judged to be principally responsible involve loss of control, often linked with excessive speed, alcohol or careless behaviour. Where other road users were judged principally responsible, the most common factors were 'failed to give way' and 'poor turn or manoeuvre', often linked with failure to observe satisfactorily or failure to judge the rider's path or speed. The mean speed of motorcyclists in accidents for which they were judged to be principally responsible was 57 mph compared with 43 mph when the other party was mainly responsible. A high proportion of the drivers failing to give way or making a poor turn or manoeuvre, in those accidents in which road users other than the motorcyclists were principally responsible, were aged between 30 and 60. For accidents of lesser severity, excessive speed by motorcyclists is less often recorded, and 'looked but did not see' is more often recorded where drivers of cars or larger vehicles are mainly responsible. (A)

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