A funding pot of £510,000 has been made available for the development of innovative technologies that will help to cut motorcycle casualties in Wales.

Funded by the Welsh Government and Innovate UK, and jointly run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Wales, the Innovation in Reducing Motorcyclist Casualties in Wales project is a new national competition.

It aims to identify projects that can help the Welsh Government to reduce the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on the country’s roads, in particular accidents occurring at junctions. Organisations are invited to compete for a share of the £510,000 in funding for prototype development and demonstration of innovative technologies.

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The challenge will be to develop an effective intervention or technological feature that provides demonstrable improvements in the safety of motorcyclists, either by reducing the likelihood of a collision occurring, or by lessening the impact of a collision. The project provides an exciting opportunity to play a part in helping the Welsh Government to reduce the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads.

Michelle Harrington, road safety manager for RoSPA Wales, said: “RoSPA is happy to support the Welsh Government and Innovate UK in this exciting opportunity. Reducing motorcycle casualties remains a priority across Wales and the competition is an innovative approach to tackling this very important issue.”

In 2013 motorcyclists made up only 0.2 per cent of the road traffic in Wales (by distance travelled), but accounted for 31 per cent of those killed or seriously injured. 17 motorcyclists died on Welsh roads in 2013 and 229 were seriously injured. Many of those injuries will be life changing. Allowing for year-on-year fluctuations, this figure has changed little in the past 10 years.

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Wales is not alone in trying to tackle this issue but the attractiveness of the Welsh countryside to motorcyclists does mean that, in addition to its own motorcyclists, the country also attracts a large number of visiting motorcyclists. The Welsh Government wants to continue to welcome them to Wales, while ensuring they go home safely.

The reasons motorcyclists are involved in collisions vary, but while the riders are not necessarily at fault they are physically more vulnerable than car users. If they are involved in a collision they are more likely to be killed or seriously injured than other road users, and they are particularly vulnerable at junctions. Between 2009 to 2013, 49 per cent of incidents which killed or seriously injured motorcyclists occurred at junctions, with 48 per cent of these being at T-Junctions.

To find out more, visit Sell2Wales.

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Tony Carter

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