Survival guide

There are two simple aims that all bikers want to see. These are:

Reduce the number of motorcycle casualties on our roads.

Create a road environment that encourages the use of motorcycles.

It sounds straight forward enough, but motorcycle crashes in Devon are still too high despite reductions in recent years. We need to change this. There are a number of simple precautions you can be taken to reduce the chances of crashing.


1. Know your routes:

Serious motorcycle crashes in Devon are more likely to occur on A-roads, particularly outside speed limits. Some routes in the county tend to see higher rates of bike crashes. Knowing your routes can help you avoid all sorts of problems. The ibiker app for mobile phones was designed to keep riders up to date with some of these issues and there are a number of Devon's routes represented on this app, which highlights the high crash areas. Click here for more info.

Some routes have also been signed to make riders aware of where they could be particularly vulnerable, such as the A380 from Newton Abbot to Torquay, where there is a history of motorcyclists being hit. Here are a couple examples of the signs. Remember, where there are these types of sign; there have been bike crashes:

Think Bike!    Biker in your blindspot?

2. Assume you haven't been seen:

We all know the problem of SMIDSY drivers; click here to see what we mean. Drivers pulling out of junctions are an identified problem with a large proportion of motorcycle crashes. Unfortunately, it's often the rider that has to compensate for the bad driving of others. To see how you can avoid these crashes, click here.

3. Report road defects:

We all moan about road defects like potholes, diesel spills and slippery manhole covers, but how often do you report them? Getting defects reported will get them treated quicker and help you (and other bikers) the next time you ride the route. Click here to see how you can get these reported quickly and easily.

4. Don't overcook the bends:

Crashes on bends are also a common crash scenario for motorcyclists in Devon. The collision figures show particular problems with left hand bends. Click here for some thoughts on better cornering.

5. Group riding is a different story:

Riding with your friends brings up new factors that you don't come across when you're out on your own. There's a history of crashes in the county of motorcyclists who are out in groups. There are a number of simple precautions that can be taken to improve this, click here for more details.

6. Get your overtaking right:

Along with failing to make bends, poor overtaking is a common crash problem in Devon where motorcyclists can often be at fault. Although we all know that appropriate overtaking is a relatively safe manoeuvre that can help pass slower vehicles, it needs to be done correctly. Click here to see how to get the most from your machine when overtaking.

7. Don't get hidden when riding in town:

As well as approaching junctions, general urban riding, particularly heavy in traffic, is a situation where bikers are vulnerable to being hit by another vehicle. This is often down to a scenario where there is so much going on around them a biker is often the last thing on a car driver's mind. Again, like at junctions, motorcyclists are in the unfortunate position of having to compensate for the poor driving of others. Good examples of how to do this can be found by clicking here.

8. Keep on top of your skills:

There are a lot of options out there for developing your riding skills. Max Rider allows you to take a day with a top instructor and concentrate on areas of your riding you want to take to the next level. These are available at any time of the year.

Bikesafe is a Police run initiative that gives you the opportunity to get your riding skill assessed by a member of the Motorcycle Wing. There are selected dates available over the summer months.

There are also a number of excellent advanced bike groups throughout Devon who provide ongoing rider development courses. These are available in North Devon, Plymouth or Exeter and the rest of the county.

9. Get involved:

There are a number of local motorcycle groups who are interested in promoting better conditions for biker. The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) are a good example and are active in Devon. Click here to find your local group and see what you can do to campaign for better motorcycling.

Alternatively, if you have thoughts on what Devon County Council can do to promote biking and encourage the safe and sensible use of motorcycles email us and let us know what you think.

10. Keep riding:

It may be better weather now, but start thinking about staying on the roads during the winter months. Nobody's suggesting riding in really poor conditions like storms, snow, ice or high winds, but even when autumn and winter come there will be days when you can get the bike out for a couple of hours so you can keep on top of your skills. Don't hibernate the bike and don't let your skills go rusty.