Killer Pillars – are safer cars actually causing more accidents?

Joint PR with BIKE Magazine

Safe Speed Press information

 release date: 4th August 2004 number: PR134

Killer Pillars – are safer cars actually causing more accidents?

News: Strict Embargo 12:01am Wednesday 4th August 2004

An article published today in the September issue of BIKE magazine has shown that windscreen pillars obstructing a driver’s vision are likely to be a major factor in road accidents.

Paul Smith, founder of the Safe Speed road safety campaign, has joined forces with the editorial team of Britain’s best selling motorcycling monthly magazine to highlight this serious, but largely unrecognised safety problem.

Road safety guru Paul comments:-

“This problem came to my attention way back in the early 80s.  I was driving a car in London, turning right from a side road into a one way system.  As I started to turn a motorbike literally appeared from nowhere.  I managed to stop, but was intrigued and drove around the block again….it was instantly obvious that motorbikes were being completely obscured from view by my nearside windscreen pillar”. 
Rich Beach, News Editor of Bike magazine comments:-
“When Paul Smith raised the screen pillar issue with us, we were astonished by how little research has been done on the subject, but in the course of investigating and writing the Bike magazine feature, it became clear that it is a huge problem, and one that we need to draw attention to.

The research we have accessed indicates that a huge number of motorcycle accidents (almost 70%) involve a car, truck or bus, and that over 70% of these accidents were caused by “perception error” – all too often bikes are just not being seen”.

The last official research in the UK into obstruction by windscreen pillars was carried out over 40 years ago in 1963.  More recently, the Department of Transport studied “look but failed to see” (LBFtS) accidents, LBFtS being a contributory factor in 20% of all road accidents, however the possibility of windscreen pillar obscuration wasn’t even considered.

Adam Duckworth, publisher of Bike feels that this is a massive safety problem, that has simply been overlooked:

“Passenger protection is a obviously a priority for car manufacturers, but having looked at all the facts, we believe that accidents could be avoided in the first place if windscreen pillars were designed to allow optimum vision.
This is an issue that the entire motorcycling industry needs to get behind, as bikers are all too often the innocent victims.  Indeed, the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), and the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), are already taking our findings on board and have agreed to join forces with us to lobby the government and car manufacturers”.


Notes to editors

Story must reference Bike magazine and Safe Speed

PDF of Bike magazine article:

Covershot of Bike Magazine September issue:
Medium res:
High res:

SMIDSY.ORG.UK is a web site within Safe Speed set up some time ago to highlight this specific problem.

For more information contact:

Paul Smith, of Safe Speed is available for interview, telephone 01862 832000/07799 045553 email
For more information on Safe Speed log on to

Genevieve Potter, PR Manager, emap Automotive 01733 468524/07703 128108 email

Adam Duckworth, publisher for Bike magazine is available for interview, telephone 01733 468862 mobile 07881 500506  mobile email

About Bike magazine:

Bike magazine is the UK’s biggest selling motorcycle monthly magazine with a circulation of 100,093 (abc Jan-Dec 2003)

Bike magazine is published by emap Automotive 

emap Automotive is the UK’s leading car and bike media company and aspires to be the world’s biggest and best. The business encompasses magazines, websites, major shows and conferences, across consumer and business to business markets.

emap Consumer Media comprises the majority of the company's consumer magazine portfolio in the UK and overseas, with the exception of France. Over 70 titles in the UK, many with market leading positions serve the motoring (emap Automotive), special interest (emap Active), women's and youth (emap Elan), women’s weeklies (emap Entertainment) and men’s lifestyle and style (emap East) markets. FHM and all its businesses - UK and International - is now a division in its own right within eCM and publishes editions in 20 countries, including the UK, France, Australia and the US.

emap plc is one of the UK’s leading media companies.  emap plc leads the marketplace with a strong portfolio of over 400 products including FHM, Kiss, Heat, Nursing Times, Health Service Journal, Spring Fair, MaxPower, Kerrang! and Smash Hits!.  It owns and develops leading edge brands in radio, TV, consumer magazines and B2B (magazines, conferences and exhibitions) in the UK, France and around the world.

If you want more information about emap log onto

About Safe Speed

The Safe Speed road safety campaign is primarily the work of engineer-turned road safety analyst Paul Smith. 

Since setting up Safe Speed in 2001, Paul Smith, 49, an advanced motorist and road safety enthusiast, and a professional engineer of 25 years UK experience, has carried out about 5,000 hours of research into the overall effects of speed camera policy on UK road safety. We believe that this is more work in more detail than anything carried out by any other organisation. Paul's surprising conclusion is that overall speed cameras make our roads more dangerous. Paul has identified and reported a number of major flaws and false assumptions in the claims made for speed cameras, and the whole "speed kills" system of road safety. 

The inescapable conclusion is that we should urgently return to the excellent road safety policies that gave us in the UK the safest roads in the World in the first place. 

Safe Speed does not campaign against speed limits or appropriate enforcement of motoring laws, but argues vigorously that automated speed enforcement is neither safe nor appropriate.

This PR originally sent as a Word 97 document. (click here)

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Created 3/08/2004. Last update 4/08/2004