England’s Department of Transport has released figures showing that motorcycle deaths are down by 13 percent from last year despite an overall increase in motorcycle traffic.

According to a report on motorcyclenews.com, the number of fatal accidents dropped from 365 to 319 throughout the UK.

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With an overall increase of two percent in motorcycle road use, and riders covering a total of 2.8 billion miles per year, the report comes as welcome news. However, the news report puts the total figure for fatalities at its highest point since 2011 with the largest significant factor to this toll being vulnerable road users. (Although this seems to contradict the previous figures.)

“Britain traditionally has one of the best road safety records in the world,” said Nick Lloyd, road safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). “But we must focus our efforts through effective education, engineering and enforcement if we are to make our roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”

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The statistics shows that road accidents killed 1,792 people in 2016, which is an overall increase of four percent. Pedestrian deaths rose by 10 percent, with 448 deaths recorded last year, and cycling deaths rose by two percent to 102. MCN reports that although the figures show an unwanted rise in the number of road fatalities, the DoT report suggests that this “is not statistically significant and it is likely that natural variation in these figures explains the change.”

In the last decade, the UK has seen a massive 44 percent reduction in roadside deaths. In 2006, there were 3,172 fatalities in reported road accidents, and despite the continued rise in road traffic, only 1,792 were recorded last year. This latest drop in motorcycle fatalities seems to coincide with more stringent testing and licensing practices implemented throughout the UK in 2013.

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The Department of Transport report included this explanation: “Previously, and particularly between 2006 and 2010, the general trend was for fatalities to fall. Since that point though, most of the year-on-year changes are either explained by one-off causes (for instance, the snow in 2010) or natural variation. The evidence points towards Britain being in a period when the fatality numbers are fairly stable and most of the changes relate to random variation.”

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