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Improve rider and bike visibility says Uni

high visibility motorcycle clothing panic remove

Visibility of riders and their motorcycles should be increased and high-speed limits in rural areas reduced, a new Monash University’s Accident Research Centre report suggests.

This is despite the report acknowledging that motorcycle crash rates have decreased as a proportion of the number of riders. (In NSW and Victoria alone, rider numbers have increased as much as 74% in a decade.)

Suggestion box

The uni report also suggests:

  • Licence refresher courses for older and returned riders;
  • Promote high-visibility motorcycle clothing and research into its effects;
  • Increase motorcycle visibility technology such as modulating headlights;
  • Support national standards for motorcycle protective clothing;
  • Reduced speed limits in high-speed zones, rural areas and intersection;MCCNSW Steve Pearce submission to Ombudsman over Oxley highway speed
  • Increase speed limit enforcement;
  • Increase rider licensing requirements;
  • Promote technologies to mitigate multi-vehicle crashes;
  • Improve the quality of rural roads;
  • Evaluate roads for their specific motorcycle safety; and
  • Reconsider the learner-approved motorcycle scheme (LAMS) to also consider bike type, not just power-to-weight ratio.

Visibility fearhi-vis vest visibility

While some of the recommendations have merit, there is a fear among riders that authorities will twist words such as “promote” and “support” into “mandatory”.

This could lead to mandatory high visibility clothing, mandatory protective clothing minimums and mandatory technology such as emergency braking, traction control and crash sensors.

The Monash Uni report is quaintly called “Current Trends in Motorcycle-Related Crash and Injury Risk in Australia by Motorcycle Type and Attributes”. It is sponsored by Australian state government bodies, state automobile clubs and the New Zealand Automobile Association.

It has been compiled using 2005-2014 data from police crash reports in several states, vehicle registrations in Victoria and NSW, and Redbook motorcycle specifications.

Click here to read how critics suggest police crash reports are flawed.


The Monash Uni report reflects previous studies with findings such as older rider numbers and associated crashes are increasing.

However, it also found some new and interesting characteristics such as the fact that the number of riders choosing more powerful motorcycles has doubled.

It also claims to show that the crash and injury severity risks on high power-to-weight-ratio bikes are higher.

Honda Blackbird killer visibility
(Pic from need4speed)

Here is a summary of the crash stat findings:

  • Fatal and serious injury motorcycle crashes increased 20%;
  • Rural areas are more dangerous for riders;
  • Most popular motorcycle types — sport, off-road and cruisers — also have the highest incidence of severe injury crashes;
  • Unlicensed and novice riders are more likely to crash older motorcycles;
  • Severe injury risk in motorcycle crashes is higher at intersections and in multi-vehicle collisions; and
  • Risk is lower in 50km/h zones.

What do you think of the Monash University report? Leave your comments below.

  1. The data is 4-5 years old. Changes have been made in many of the areas they comment upon. In the intervening period there have been a number of targeted rider safety programs and there have been improvements in clothing.

  2. Your study completely ignores the prevalence of motorists using their phones, not checking the way is clear before pulling out in front of motorcycles and other traffic. Bad driving in general. Overly cautions slow drivers drivers who think they are good drivers but in fact are hazards on the road. Any amount of hi vis wear cannot help then.. There might be a case for such stringent safety measures actually dulling the senses of drivers and motorcyclists.

    1. Agree Anthony, almost looks like they were just dumbing it down to what they can blame riders for. Shame when so many people can see through this rubbish.

  3. Why do we waste money on universities? All their studies ever prove is that the “researchers” like tax-payer funding.

  4. I have some more suggestions:
    Enforce bright coloured cars (no silver or dark colours)
    Ban mobile phones being turned on in car cabins with mandatory loss of license if caught using a phone

  5. When all cars, bikes, trucks, bus’s, pedestrians, cyclists etc are all hi-vis, black might be the new hi-vis to make you stand out! (not that black is actually a colour). When you follow to obvious thinking here, maybe all trees, power poles and other roadside hazards should all be painted in hi-vis colours too, so that motorists don’t hit them.

    Their summary is the most worrying as the points they make there are what they want to concentrate on to do us all a favour

    Fatal and serious injury motorcycle crashes increased 20%; – from what?
    Rural areas are more dangerous for riders; – obviously, as speeds are higher that built up areas? Interesting to see how they got this.
    Most popular motorcycle types — sport, off-road and cruisers — also have the highest incidence of severe injury crashes; – probably because there is more of them than most other bike types.
    Unlicensed and novice riders are more likely to crash older motorcycles; probably cause unlicenced riders are not likely to be riding new bikes, same as novices.
    Severe injury risk in motorcycle crashes is higher at intersections and in multi-vehicle collisions; – so you’re less likely to hurt yourself badly in a single vehicle accident, of which I thought motorcyclist were over-represented
    Risk is lower in 50km/h zones. – really? Lower still in 40km/h zones?

    All this is just adding to the push for mandatory hi-vis, higher insurances costs for popular motorcycle styles, regulation of off-road motorcycles, learners to only ride newer bikes with ABS etc, and a whole heap of other stuff they want to put on us.

    Bottom line is they want to make us responsible for all accidents that we are involved in, regardless of fault.

  6. There should be a study done on if anything coming out of Monash University is a real study or just a pre written manifesto from some vested interest published by Monash for the money.
    Idiots will drive into fire engines with lights and sirens on what good is hiviz and heatstroke from going too slow?

  7. If motorcyclists need to be made more visible then legislate to make all motorcycles standard with Police livery 😛

    1. Folks in cars fail to see a police bike, until the tap on the window, when the driver quickly tries to hide the mobile phone they were using.

  8. Buried within the report:

    Intelligent Speed Adaption as a penalty for recidivist speeders (Oxley 2011, NSW Centre for Road Safety 2010) and for general use to help road users maintain speeds within limits may be useful. This requires further evaluation.
    Road infrastructure


    7. Improvement of road infrastructure for motorcyclists in high-speed zones, on open roads in rural locations, and at intersections (40% of injury crashes), including addressing turn-in-front-of (20% of injury crashes) injury crashes. The road environment, (mostly in the form of design and maintenance issues), has been identified as a secondary contributor to motorcycle crashes in 78% of cases and has been identified as a primary contributor in a higher proportion of single vehicle than multi-vehicle crashes (Allen et al. 2017).

    No prises for guessing which part governments will pay attention to.

  9. You could have your bike preceded by a brass band and fireworks coming out of your helmet, but if drivers are not looking then you are still dead. Hi-Vis is a myth, and a complete cop out when the real problem is drivers doing everything behind the wheel except driving with due attention.

  10. Sounds to me like a tax payer funded PHd program based on outdated stats and poor research. However it meets the requirements of most Gov agencies by being cheap and agreeable to their agender’s .

  11. Comment – Yeah, I will COMMENT ALRIGHT – NFW – “NO F’ING WAY” – NFW
    This sort of shit has been tired before and it WILL NOT be Happening this time either –
    IT is UP to the RIDERS out there to Put a STOP to these fools even trying to Legislate it.
    PLEASE – RIDERS BEWARE, as this could be the start of another CAMPAIGN to LEGISLATE US OFF THE ROADS.

    WE, The RIDERS need to be kept informed of just WHAT is GOING ON with this crap.

    IT Should be a RIDERS CHOICE WHAT THEY WEAR – DON’T FORCE Unnecessary Legislation onto the Riders.


    WE, Should NOT have to pay the price for a Driver’s Incompetence …

    IF You Think I am Pissed Off, WELL YOU ARE 100% CORRECT …

    This sort of crap has been going on for Decades and IT IS About TIME it STOPPED – These BOZO’S Haven’t got a CLUE … It Does NOT Matter How MUCH DAYGLOW I am Wearing – NOTHING will Stop Old Farts in CARS from crashing into riders like me, because they ARE JUST IN THEIR OWN LITTLE DRUG ADDLED WORLD and don’t give a toss about other road users – like the old fart that Slammed Me & My Motorcycle Into the Car Park that SHE WANTED …. I Was level with the front wheel of her Subaru Imprezza Wagon, and there IS NO WAY SHE DIDN’T SEE ME – AND SHE STILL SLAMMED ME INTO HER CAR PARK with Her …

    I WILL NEVER WEAR DAYGLOW CLOTHING on My Motorcycle – THAT SORT of Narrow Minded Attitude by these University Fools WILL NOT STOP OLD FOOLS CAUSING ROAD SMASHES WITH OTHER ROAD USERS, Motorcyclists in Particular – IT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST INSULT TO ME to HAVE to WEAR DAYGLOW AND STILL BE SLAMMED INTO BY some over medicated Old Fool of a Car Driver …


    Yeah, I know I am Fired UP about this sort of shite, but I have had ENOUGH of this sort of Diatribe from these bloody FOOLS and IDIOTS and I OBJECT to being treated like a 5 year old ….


    1. Your comments are spot on. We need to be enraged by the mindlessly easy route of laying all blame on riders. I’ve been in meetings with some of these so called authorities who think on such a simplistic level it is scary, and their public concern for riders is soon stripped away once notes are not being taken. Well said.

      1. Hey frostbite i am an “old fart” and I do not hit bike riders or anyone else, i have been riding for 40 years and driving my tin top a bit longer.

        I find that those that almost hit me are of all ages with one thing in common, they are not looking !

  12. We can all just dismiss this as ridiculous, – which it is. But that does not help our case.

    The average age of riders is getting older, so its simple mathematics that more older riders are crashing. Next time you watch a group of riders dismount, count the guys with hair, there won’t be many.

    As regards speed limits and enforcements, I wonder why our universities do not research outside Australia to see how it works in other countries. The definition of stupidity is doing more of the same thing (lower limits and heavy enforcement) and expecting a different result.

    Eg. the new 40kmh rule at red & blue lights, simply means that attention is now on the speedo rather than the hazard. Bright one that…..
    The fact is that most people are sensible and slow to a safe speed based on their perception of the hazard.

  13. I cannot help but wonder why these idiots did not suggest that every motorcycle rider should be accompanied by a pedestrian carrying a red flag,one can study numerous subjects at universities these days unfortunately COMMON SENSE is not included

  14. I would suggest the lack of manners and intolerance from drivers is the cause of most vehicle accidents I witness every day cars closing the space, blocking others from merging etc. No amount of dayglo, flouro or speed reduction will remedy the situation. I wonder what is different between our society and for instance the UK where I have been impressed by the courtesy of drivers and sensible approach to speed by authorities?

  15. This is just alot of crap. How about picking on car and truck drivers that are to busy on their phones or putting on their makeup, eating breakfast while driving or trying to cut motorcycle riders off while lane filtering. This is just andother way of resticing our right to ride motorcycles.
    Exemple: being rear ended by a mum in people mover while sitting stationery, in lane traffic on a bright yellow R6 yamaha, It does not matter how bright your bike and riding gear is, if they are not paying attention while driving, accidents will happen.
    Just another way to justify why they want to get rid of motorcyclist rights to ride. Without saying so.
    Look at the funding of this report and it will tell you who is pushing the report.

  16. Pedestrians should be made to wear hi viz as well they get hit by cars…. Anyone who wants to pass laws that effect motorcyclists needs to ride for a month or two before voting.

  17. Trucks, busses and L/P plate drivers have reduced speed limits in NSW because of the perceived risk. Using the same logic, motorcycles should have greater speed limits. We are at greatest risk when travelling at the same speed or lower than the rest of the traffic. When moving faster than the prevailing traffic, any hazards behind us are not a threat, so we can concentrate 100% on what is happening in front of us.

    1. more_speed, you are 100% correct. I wonder if Monash (or any other so called experts have ever considered this)

  18. & how does monash uni gain any credibility on the subject? None of them have long term experience on the road in/on any vehicle.Figures,percentages or numbers are not a true indication of any story.& to look at m/cycle riders & blame them for ‘not being visible,not wearing armour or riding at the speed limit’ is ludicrous…. apply this to car drivers & see what rediculous suggestions come up..’helmets in cars,no children in cars,drive only white or brightly coloured cars,no phones or anything on the dash that needs focus off the roads etc etc….. there will never be zero accidents..

  19. Just another example of higher learning with no real world learning. The death and injury rate in Australia has decreased by number of registered bike. In a comparison death or injury by cars etc has increased.
    So who needs the lower speed and better training?
    Cars kill bikers. Distractions in cars and poor skills of drivers is a greater concern.

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