Motorcycle road deaths increased in 2022, government report shows

A new Department for Transport report showed that UK road deaths in 2022 were up compared to 2021, but remain below pre-Covid levels

Motorcycle accident, collision, car

Government reports on road casualties always make for sobering reading for bikers, particularly when a disproportionate number of motorcyclists die on our highways. 

Sure enough, the newly published 2022 Department for Transport (DfT) road casualties report, which follows an earlier report based on estimates, shows that there were 350 fatal accidents involving motorcyclists. That's not far off half the number of fatal crashes involving cars (788), despite motorbikes making up a far smaller proportion of the vehicles on UK roads. 

That first number is up from 310 in 2021, while road deaths as a whole have risen by 10 per cent to 1,711. The fatalities "per billion passenger miles" travelled was 114 for motorcyclists (up from 113 in 2021), compared to just two for car occupants. For pedestrians, it was 27, and 23 for cyclists.

The particularly worrying bit concerns the number of deaths caused by distracted or impaired drivers. RAC road safety spokesperson Rod Dennis had this to say of the report:

“The data shows there were more fatal collisions last year than at any point over the last decade caused by drivers or riders being distracted, impaired (458 lives lost) or breaking the speed limit (303 lives lost).

“It’s time the Government turned the dial up on tackling these issues which, while complex, result in hundreds of people losing their lives every year.

“We also continue to urge the Government to treat this issue with the utmost seriousness by reintroducing casualty reduction targets which were scrapped in 2010.”

It is worth pointing out, though, that the year before 2022 involved various Covid-19 restrictions, so a rise in deaths isn’t surprising given the increase in overall traffic. When compared to 2019, road deaths as a whole decreased slightly in 2022, although the number of bikers killed has gone up from the 336 who lost their lives in 2019. 

“Motorcyclist fatalities have fluctuated between 319 and 365 over 2011 to 2019 with no clear trend,” the DFT noted in its 2019 report.