Motorcyclists say they are to blame for 71% of their accidents: Survey

A motorcyclist weaves through the traffic along the BKE. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
A motorcyclist weaves through the traffic along the BKE. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Poor judgment calls cited as top reason why riders here lose control

Nearly three in four motorcyclists here have had an accident before, and most admit that the accidents were of their own doing.

Poor judgment calls, from tailgating to cutting off other vehicles, were the leading reason why they lost control of their motorbikes, a recent survey has found.

But in accidents involving external factors, other vehicles were blamed as the leading culprit, the findings revealed.

Many riders also say that they have experienced aggressive behaviour from other motorists.

The survey on motorcycle safety, commissioned by local automaker Alife Air Automobiles, was conducted between July and last month, and polled 472 riders through online and face-to-face interviews.

Among the respondents who said they had been in an accident before, 30 per cent cited decision-making errors as the reason, 18 per cent said it was because they violated road rules such as speeding, and another 13 per cent attributed it to fatigue.

In total, reasons related to the motorcyclist's own actions accounted for 71 per cent of accidents, the study indicated.

Mr Gerard Pereira, operations manager at the Singapore Safety Driving Centre (SSDC), said it was good that motorcyclists were aware of their actions in causing the accidents.

Still, he often sees on the road riders squeezing in between other vehicles and going too fast.

The way some motorcyclists negotiate turnings at traffic lights can be problematic too. Mr Sulaiman Ahmad, an SSDC instructor with 13 years of teaching experience, said: "The bikes often do not form up (to turn), like the cars do. Some come from the left and heavy vehicles will not be able to see them - it's quite dangerous."

While the riders polled were keen to admit their shortcomings, the study also found that 29 per cent of the accidents were caused by external factors, including other vehicles (15 per cent), motorcycle defects (6 per cent) and weather conditions (5 per cent).

Close to half of all respondents said they have, in the past year, experienced "hostile actions" by other motorists, defined in the study as verbal, visual and physical abuse, or from motorists using their vehicles in an aggressive fashion towards the riders.

Mr Tan Zong Ren, 29, a broker who rides to work daily, said drivers need to "start treating motorcycles like cars". He said: "Many a time, drivers do not move fully into the next lane to overtake. They will move just enough past the motorcyclists who risk being sideswiped by drivers."

Mr Devan Nair, chairman and group chief executive officer of Alife Air Automobiles, feels that motorcyclists could do with a better understanding of how their bikes perform in different circumstances: "Sometimes, riders don't understand the aerodynamic design of the bike and when they take a corner, they lose control."

In April, his firm launched the A-Service Centre, now located at the Enterprise Hub, which offers professional diagnostic advice and servicing for bikes. Through this facility, he hopes to better educate riders about their machines.

adrianl@sph.com.sg