No Surprise? No Accident!

The aim of the ‘No Surprise: No Accident’ campaign is to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes by shifting the way we think about road safety.

Whilst there has been a steady downward trend in road casualties, motorcyclists remain over-represented in those figures and we continue to crash in the same ways and in the same places. This argues that we need new and original thinking to tackle old problems, a new paradigm for motorcycle safety.

The current system is based on outdated and unscientific ideas. In the ‘Old View’, it’s assumed that by applying the right skills and conforming to a strict set of rules, motorcyclists would not crash. Crashing must therefore be a result of lack of skill or the consequences of breaking the rules. ‘Lack’ of skills has been addressed by making it tougher to get a license or by encouraging post-test training. Punishment of those getting it wrong is used enforce this ideal, ‘normative’, behaviour, with fines, endorsements and even criminal convictions being used as a deterrent.

The problem with this hindsight-based blame culture is that the crash has already happened, and with post-test training only taken by a small minority, neither approach does anything to equip other motorcyclists to avoid the same crashes.

The ‘No Surprise: No Accident’ initiative proposes to change the current road safety thinking by adopting a ‘New View’ of safety based on lessons already learned in other safety-conscious industries, in particular by recognising the limitations of human beings in the way they think, act and react on the roads.

“All accidents are the result of prediction failure.
Surprise is Nature’s way of telling us we have experienced such a failure.
If there is no surprise there can be no accident”

Duncan MacKillop

The ‘No Surprise: No Accident’ initiative offers a concept that:

  • fits with scientific principles
  • incorporates key knowledge from the fields of human factors, neuroscience, psychology and perception
  • borrows from established safety practice, particularly from the aviation industry
  • offers a workable framework within which available data can be analysed, incorporated, disseminated, and the basic concept improved

We intend to create a community of like-minded people who will ‘spread the word’ and support this new way of thinking. This critical mass of voices will put a constant and increasing pressure on decision makers to rethink and change the current approach to road safety, and will win the support of other various road safety campaigns and educate them about the benefits of the ‘New View’ of road safety.

To achieve direct results with road users generally and motorcyclists in particular, we intend to roll out a series of campaigns targeting the biking population convincing them to the benefits of the thinking behind ‘No Surprise: No Accident’ .

To find out more, read about our background and aims.

To find out more about our tips for motorcycles, go here to see an example.