According to the Annual Report of the European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO, 2017), more than 26,000 people were killed on the EU roads in 2015 as a result of road accidents.

Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable group of road users. Research shows that it is 16 to 30 times more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a road accident than the car occupants.

Motorcyclists’ deaths account, on average, for 18% of total deaths in the EU. However, this percentage varies among countries, from 5% in Romania to 34% in Greece, as expected due to the different usage rate of PTW.

The majority of deaths involve male PTW drivers, aged 15-24 years. Moreover, the fatality rates of motorcyclists aged over 50 years have increased.

Less than 1/4 of fatal road accidents that involve motorcyclists occur at intersections, but this is twice as high as that of vehicles. Finally, seasonality is particularly intense with most fatal accidents occurring in summer session (April – October).

Greece has the highest fatality rate of motorcyclists with regard to its population in the EU, with 24.8 deaths per million inhabitants in 2015. The corresponding EU average is 9.2. It also has the highest fatality rate of motorcycles passengers.

It should be also noticed that Greece ranks first in terms of the number of motorcyclists in relation to its population (160.1 two-wheelers/1,000 inhabitants while the corresponding average in the EU is 66.9).

It is clear that the popularity and increased use of motorcycles, combined with other important factors related to road infrastructure safety and driving behaviour, has resulted in a particularly high participation of motorcyclists in the road deaths and serious injuries. The expected exacerbation of the problem in the forthcoming years, is partly justified by the expected increase of international tourists’ arrivals to the country during the summer periods and the increased use of PTW in a condition that negatively affects road safety (e.g. reduced familiarity of foreign tourists with local road environment, fatigue, alcohol use, etc.).

Within this framework, the issue of Power Two Wheelers road safety in Greece is becoming a top priority and needs urgent and special attention.

Research in PTWs accidents shows that a significant proportion of PTW road accidents do not involve other vehicles. Wrong handling of motorcycle contributes to 20.5% of road crashes for motorcycles over 500 c.c. Even for smaller motorcycles, 9% concerns single-vehicle accidents.

MAIDS study showed that in 91.4% of Powered Two-Wheelers (PTWs) accidents in Europe only the drivers were involved in 12.6% of then a passenger was also present.

  • 64% of them were moving in a straight line before the accident, while 40% were on a slope, at a road bend. In 75% of accidents and 20% of fatal cases speed was found to be less than 50km/h.
  • In 99% the condition of the motorcycle was sufficient.
  • In 61.4% the road condition was found to be good.

These facts show that the driver’s contribution to a PTW accident is important.

The Annual Report of the European Road Safety Observatory (ERSO, 2017) summarises the results of an important project that investigated the main causes of motorcyclists’ road accidents.

The most common wrong decision/choice of motorcyclists (critical accident parameter) was speeding.

Common road accident causes include also incorrect assessment of road and traffic condition, inadequate reaction plan and reduction of the ability to observe.

Πηγή: SafetyNet Accident Causation Database 2005 to 2008 / EC

Wearing a helmet is critical

In 2009, a survey in the EU showed the following helmet use rates (%):

Three years later, in 2012, a similar survey in Greece showed that 75% of motorcyclists systematically used helmets when riding. More specifically, 80% of the drivers of larger capacity and more powerful motorcycles used a helmet systematically, while lower percentages occurred among young women aged 16-24, with a usage rate of 44%.

Recent data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority for the year 2018 show that:

  • Among the PTW riders (drivers and passengers) who were involved in an accident, 75% were wearing a helmet
  • Out of a total of 464 fatalities and serious injuries, 61% did not wear a helmet.

It is clear that the use of helmet is a critical factor in reducing the deaths and serious injuries of motorcyclists.

Directions for improvement

  • 1

    Development of motorcyclists' training programs

    Make Roads Safe Hellas works closely with Thanasis Chountras and the Riding School to develop motorcyclists training programs, based on the most up-to-date scientific concepts to improve their ability to recognize and manage risks. See how we can help you with a specialized training program for you or your staff.

  • 2

    Actions to promote the use of helmets and seat belts

    Make Roads Safe Hellas implements awareness raising activities about the use of helmets and seat belts, especially in areas and time periods with intense problem, such as the popular touristic destinations in summer periods. See indicative actions.