Despite tragic crash, ‘track days’ still have a big role to play in promoting safer motorcycling

Gary Lightwood – Managing Partner of our Bristol office – is a personal injury expert who heads the firm’s specialist motorcycle claims unit. In the light of a recent and very rare ‘track day’ accident at Oulton Park, he’s keen to emphasise the major safety benefits such riding opportunities offer motorcyclists, and anxious that neither organisers nor insurers overreact…   

Gary Lightwood

I was very saddened to see a news report of the five-bike collision at a ‘track day’ at Oulton Park last week, resulting in the death of one rider and serious injuries to two others. As a rider myself, I can only imagine how horrifying that would have been for everyone at the track, and my deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of the riders involved.

We don’t expect these things – they shouldn’t occur – but, in any extreme sport, accidents do happen. The commonly held view is that track days are actually safer than riding on a road, and it’s almost unheard of that anyone is ever seriously hurt.

The cause of injury on a bike is usually not the speed you’re travelling, but the sudden stopping or impact with another object. This is why riders who might lose control and come off at a track generally slide out, get up and walk away.

Indeed, as a member of IAM and Somerset Advanced Motorcyclists, I am aware that track days are recommended as effective training in exploring not only your bike’s capabilities, but also your own. The result is increased confidence and level of skill in riding.

I know that the Police and the Health & Safety Executive are investigating, and I only hope that this incident does not bring about a negative reaction in terms of regulation of track days, and insurance implications generally.

Accidents and Disease, Gary Lightwood,
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