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Motorcycle working group advises National Highways

National Highways has outlined a whole raft of measures to make the strategic road network safer for motorcyclists, thanks to the diligence of the Motorcycle Working Group, which was set up by the then Highways England in 2015.

The specialist subgroup provided briefings on what motorcyclists needed from infrastructure and National Highways has delivered.

National Highways ‘Guide to Designing for Motorcyclists,’ published in April 2021, is a document of best practice aimed at highways engineers, reminding them of the issues faced by motorcyclists, how to maximise their safety and to highlight several changes that have been made to the DMRB (Design Manual for Roads and Bridges), the National Highways ‘bible’ on road design that take into accounts the needs of motorcyclists.

These include not positioning new manhole covers on the road, or applying a skid-resistant cover to them; removing old road markings before applying new ones and laying skid-resistant road surfaces where a motorcyclist might lose grip.

It also recommends that roadside features such as trees, posts and barriers take riders into account. Designers are asked not to place road furniture on the outside of bends, and minimise its use in general. There are specific measurements for tree size and their distance from the edge of the road.

Other recommendations cover bends, junctions and roundabouts, all seeking to reduce risk to motorcyclists.

BMF Director Anna Zee, who participated in these discussions, says: National Highways listened, took note and have updated their standards as a result. It’s not going to be a quick process but we can look forward to roads better suited to motorcycle use. I am pleased to see additions have been made to the road safety audit checks with motorcyclists in mind. Thanks are due to the National Highways staff and the representatives of MAG, MCIA, NABD, South Gloucestershire who took part in the talks.

Written by Peter Henshaw 

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