Guernsey – the jewel of the Channel Islands – sat in the channel between the English and the French coastlines, is 25 square miles of pure motorcycle riding delight, but of course I am going to say that as Guernsey is where I was born and where I call home, along with 63,124 others. What a beautiful place it is to live and work.
However it is not all as simple as it sounds, as along with those 63,124 people living here we also have 61,482 privately registered vehicles on the island with 12,500 motorbikes adding to that total, all of whom are using Guernsey’s mere 260 miles of road network.
One of the unique aspects of Guernsey roads is the islands 35 mph maximum speed limit, along with being able to start riding a 50 cc motorcycle at the age of 14.
Unfortunately on Guernsey we have had 981 reportable road traffic collisions in the last three years, 142 of which involved motorcycles and as a Police Motorcyclist with Guernsey Police, I am fully aware of the vulnerabilities we face when on two wheels and the injuries that can be sustained as a result of these crashes.
Fortunately the majority of these accidents are classified as minor but we do have serious accidents and fatalities on the islands roads. Thankfully these are a rare occurrence, but significant enough that they cannot be ignored and connected to this is the fact that most serious motorcycle accidents are the result of rider error. Causes include riding too fast, poor judgement regarding the conditions and other poor decisions, such as overtaking when unsafe to do so.
Some of these factors could be related to familiarity with the routes we take (on such a small road network) and because this familiarity can lead to rider complacency and poor observation of the changing dangers ahead.
By attending a Guernsey BikeSafe workshop, our motorcyclists can access a BikeSafe approved theory syllabus, plus an observed ride with a Guernsey Police motorcyclist. Along with BikeSafe eLearning, this process will lead to comprehensive feedback that highlights rider strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.
We hope that this post-test workshop and assessment will give more Guernsey motorcyclists the encouragement and confidence to take the next step to becoming an advanced motorcycle rider.
PC Andy Bell. Guernsey Police.