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Simple Signs Improve Motorcycle Safety

A simple, low-cost safety aid for motorcyclists has just won the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award. The full name of Project PRIME (that’s Perceptual Rider Information for Maximising Expertise and Enjoyment) is far more complicated than the actual measure in practice. It consists of three chevrons painted on the road, leaving a gap which encourages bikers into the centre of the lane as they approach a corner, keeping them away from the nearside or the white line.

The results so far have been impressive. Trialled at 22 sites in West Scotland over the last three years, video footage of over 32,000 riders has showed that the PRIME chevrons reduce speed and improve road positioning, both on the approach to the corner and in mid-bend. There have been no motorcycle injury collisions at the selected trial sites.

Although PRIME looks like a simple measure on the road it is the result of intensive research in applied psychology, led by Professor Ian Stedmon of Nottingham University. “As a psychologist and motorcyclist, I am very proud to have led the research on this work,” he said. “While the solution might appear simple, the science behind it is complex. It would not have been possible without the support and commitment of the Road Safety Trust, Transport Scotland, BEAR Scotland and Open Road Simulation.”

BMF Chair Jim Freeman welcomed the success of what looks like a simple and relatively cheap means of improving motorcycle safety: “There has been much discussion within the BMF about PRIME, with advanced trainers questioning the effectiveness of the system. One of the criticisms has been that not enough publicity was aimed at the key user groups, with many riders wondering what the chevrons were supposed to do. Hopefully this Award will help with that awareness. The advanced trainers and their graduates have pointed out that riders should be positioning themselves correctly anyway, the PRIME system was aimed at those who weren’t ‘expert’ level ability riders, which is where most of the cornering problems are concentrated.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Transport Scotland