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Education reduces motorcycle crashes

MRAQ president Chris Mearns - learner riders
MRAQ president Chris Mearns

Despite media beat-ups that proclaim a massive surge in motorcycle crashes in Queensland, an education program has been credited with actually reducing the toll.

Motorcycle Riders’ Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns says most of the deaths were in a few incidents early in the year which triggered an effective MRAQ rider education campaign.

“We are pleased in the belief that it was a considerable part of the reason for the reduction in the rate of fatalities in the second half,” he says.

MRAQ president Chris Mearns - learner riders education
MRAQ president Chris Mearns

He was responding to police and government claims in mainstream media that almost one quarter of the 242 Queenslanders who died in crashes in 2015 were linked to motorcycles, despite making up less than 4% of the 4.9 million registered vehicles.

However, Chris says the 2014 rider toll was the lowest on record making comparisons “problematic” and that after the safety campaign the fatality rate was similar to 2014.

“The number was not the highest within the last five years and is only marginally over the average of that period with the second six-months period much more in line with last year’s rate,” he says.

The concern when police, government and media trot out sensational statistics is that it will be followed by government restrictions, police crackdowns and the mainstream media turning riders into pariahs.

“As always we are very wary of using raw numbers with no further investigation as a basis for knee-jerk reactions because it is highly likely the ill-targeted reactions will not have the desired result,” Chris says.

In response to the media beat-up Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey mentioned the upcoming review of motorcycle licensing which was reported in July 2015.

RACQ spokesman Steve Spalding, Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey and MRAQ president Chris Mearns - learner riders education
RACQ spokesman Steve Spalding, Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey and MRAQ president Chris Mearns at the July launch of the review process

Chris says the license review still has “some way to go to finalisation” and promises the QTMR will continue to consult with the MRAQ, QiRde trainers, RACQ and the Queensland Police.

He says the QTMR has revised its proposal to a model closer to the MRAQ which is to:

  • Add Pre-learner component through QRide;
  • Add a three-month minimum learner period after the pre-learner phase before doing further QRide engagement and testing to RE (LAMS)’
  • Keep existing minimum one- year LAMS-only riding;
  • Keep existing QRide engagement for the step up to unlimited capacity; and
  • Revise the QRide curriculum at all levels to better engage with participants on the issues of understanding individual ability and riding attitude.

Chris says the review will not be completed for a “number of months”.