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Riding a motorbike requires constant thought to safety, both for yourself and those surrounding you, especially as the risk of injury is sky high compared to other vehicles.
Different countries have varying statistics when it comes to motorcycle registrations, many of which are seeing a sharp decline. But which country is objectively the safest to ride a motorcycle in? We took a look into four fundamental factors that affect motorcyclists more than regular motorists out on the roads; road quality, accidents, speed and weather conditions and gave each a score out of 35.
Potholes, raised drain covers, loose gravel or sitting water, can all be the cause of a potentially fatal accident all too easily. Looking at road safety scores from the World Economic Forum, we found that Switzerland and the Netherlands had the best kept roads in the whole of Europe.
We also took a look at the number of road accidents per 10,000 people in each country. A motorcyclist is 28 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than any other kind of vehicle occupant per mile travelled. Denmark has incredibly low accident statistics per 10,000, while both Germany and Austria are alarmingly high.
While motorcycles are incredibly good at handling higher speeds, other vehicles are dangerous for motorcyclists. In a head-on traffic collision, higher speeds result in higher chances of a fatal accident.
(Rural, non-town speed limits were noted.)
The weather can greatly affect riding conditions and while most experienced motorcyclists remain relaxed; water on the road, a different driving style, reduced vision and less traction all increase the risk of injury. Looking at the capital cities’ annual precipitation for each country, we found that Greece, Spain and Poland had superb weather conditions.
With a good balance across the board, the top five countries often have top scores in one or more categories.
The UK placed 14th out of 35 after scoring fairly mediocre rankings against other European countries. The country placed particularly badly for speed and accidents, issues which were highlighted on rural roads in particular.
Although the lowest scorers typically didn’t have the worst road quality, the weather and accident frequency let them down.
And here's how the rankings of Europe's safest countries to be a motorcyclist looks overall:
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