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Part of the thrill of riding a motorcycle is the danger that accompanies it. Despite only making up 1% of traffic on the roads, 20% of road deaths are motorbike riders. In 2012, 1,754 people were killed on roads in Britain. It’s a common belief that motorways are the most dangerous roads because of their multiple lanes and high speed limits. However, the results of a study, conducted in 2013, shows otherwise. It seems single carriage ‘A’ roads are actually the most dangerous as the majority of them have a number of blind spots and are coupled with a national speed limit and, as a result, they were the point of 62% of fatal or serious road accidents in 2012.
As a comparison, 99% of motorways feature in a low risk danger category whereas 97% of single carriage A-roads are considered too dangerous to be included in this classification. The Road Safety Foundation (RSF) published a report at the end of last year which revealed the ten most dangerous roads in Britain and, interestingly, all of the roads are in England with the A537, between Macclesfield and Buxton, topping the list.
The A537 – known to users as the ‘Cat and Fiddle road’ – that links Cheshire and Derbyshire, is a seven mile road connecting the town of Macclesfield with the Peak District town of Buxton which, between 2007 and 2011, saw 44 serious or fatal accidents.
While on the majority of British roads the number of serious injuries and fatalities has reduced, on the A537 numbers have risen from 35 serious injuries and fatal injuries between 2002 and 2006, to 44 from 2007 to 2011; this means that the road is becoming more dangerous year on year.
The other tops spots include roads from all over England, although the majority are in and around the Peak Distract.
10. A588 Skippool (Lancashire) to Lancaster (Lancashire)
9. A5004 Whaley Bridge (Derbyshire) to Buxton (Derbyshire)
8. A54 Congleton (Cheshire) to Buxton (Derbyshire)
7. A6075 New Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) to Tuxford (Nottinghamshire)
6. A285 Chichester (West Sussex) to Petworth (West Sussex)
5. A530 Whitchurch (Shropshire) to Nantwich (Cheshire)
4. A621 Baslow (Derbyshire) to Totley (Sheffield)
3. A682 Nelson (Lancashire) to Long Preston (Yorkshire)
2. A5012 Pikehall (Derbyshire) to Matlock (Derbyshire)
1. A537 Buxton (Derbyshire) to Macclesfield (Cheshire)
The study shows that the area of the UK where the roads have been most improved is the east of England, where there has been a 30% fall in risk.
President of the AA Edmund King said:
“Most drivers assume that motorways or dual carriageways are the most dangerous roads due to the higher speed of traffic.
This report clearly dispels that myth as the risk to road users is now seven times greater on single carriageway A-roads than motorways. Drivers need to be aware of the added risks and adapt their driving accordingly.”
Danger is a huge part of the thrill for motorcyclists; the fact that they’re so close to the ground, so exposed and putting their safety in the hands of nothing more than their driving ability, thick clothing and a helmet, is what makes riders want to go out again and again. However, on these roads it’s really important to put safety first. The A537 therefore, is a road that motorcyclists love because it’s a trail of frequent and severe bends.
So, despite the dangers, it seems that some of the most dangerous roads in Britain are some of a motorcyclist’s favourites.