Managing risks for employees on two wheels can be particularly challenging. Considered “vulnerable” road users, motorcycle and moped riders face different risks on the road to road users in other vehicles; mainly due to their size, speed and positioning on the road. Two-wheeler riders are also more vulnerable than car occupants as they have less protection in a collision.
Yet, in many countries, two-wheelers are the primary means of transport. For fleets that include drivers and riders of two-wheel vehicles, that means developing a safety policy specific to these vehicles. What to include? eDriving Executive Vice President – Fleet Ed Dubens suggests the following:
Clarify the reasons that riding a two-wheeler is riskier than using a car including they’re less visible, have less protection and their speed is often misjudged by other road users. “Two-wheeler riders might also take risks on the road that car drivers wouldn’t – or couldn’t – such as overtaking in riskier places and weaving in and out of traffic,” says Dubens. “There are also risk factors such as speed, other traffic and impaired riding that it’s helpful to raise awareness of.”
Don’t assume that employees will automatically be aware of the laws of the road or that they’ll obey them. Make it clear what’s expected in terms of license and abiding by local and national regulations. It’s also helpful to define any riding restrictions, such as riding during specific hours.
Prohibit riders from traveling while impaired by alcohol, drugs, medication or other forms of impairment such as fatigue and illness.
Specify company requirements for helmet wearing including disciplinary action that will be taken for failing to comply. “The importance of wearing a helmet cannot be overstated,” says Dubens. “Many of the organizations we work with require helmets to meet relevant safety standards and they specifically set out additional requirements to employees such as the helmet having a reflective strip or chin guard. Making disciplinary action clear – and most importantly, enforcing it – is a key recommendation.”
In the event of a collision, safety clothing is the only thing that can protect riders from injury. That’s why it’s crucial to establish company rules that require appropriate clothing to be worn at all times.
Require riders to produce proof of servicing for their two-wheeler at least twice every year. “Fleet managers need to know employees are heading out on the road on vehicles that are safe to ride,” says Dubens. “The safest fleets I know perform unannounced vehicle checks to verify that two-wheelers are in working order.”
Conduct risk assessments for two-wheeler riders, just as you would for any employee traveling for work purposes. Providing appropriate training on commencement of employment, periodically and on a prescribed basis can particularly help to lower risk.
Introduce a policy banning mobile phone use while riding. “Phone distraction is fast becoming one of the biggest problems facing all road users,” concludes Dubens. “Even if the law doesn’t prohibit employees from doing it, riding requires full concentration at all times.”