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Motorcycle crash statistics flawed

Indian Roadmaster Classic on the Oxley highway

Motorcycle crash statistics cited to reduce speed on the Oxley Highway are flawed, leaving riders wondering how many other  crash statistics are also flawed.

NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey this week announced that speed on 44km of the highway’s mountain section would be reduced from 100km/h to 80km/h from December 13, 2017.

It follows a Roads and Maritime Services safety review that found speed caused 45 of 67 vehicle crashes on the highway since 2011 and four of the six motorcycle fatalities.

However, local riders say the fatality figure is flawed.

They claim that in one case in March 2017 a female rider died of a brain aneurism, yet it is recorded as a motorcycle fatality.

Gingers Creek Bush Resort owner and Ducati Hypermotard rider Gary Hartas says he is aware of “just about every accident” on the mountain.

Gingers Creek Bush Resort oxley highway statistics flawedHe confirms that the husband of the crashed rider said the ambulance officers told him she died of a brain aneurism.

Gary claims only two fatalities were speed related.

He also says that in one low-speed crash a rider hit a road sign and broke his neck and in another the rider hit a car driving on the wrong side of the road.

Vehicles crossing double white lines has been pointed out as  major concern on this and other winding roads.

Flawed statistics

Riders, rider groups and even then RACV have previously questioned crash statistics as flawed. Yet they are often relied on for “road safety initiatives” such as increased speed cameras, fines and policing.

In one example of flawed crash statistics, VicRoads said speed was a factor in 152 of 199 crashes on a particular street. However, the RACV says 30% of the crashes hadn’t even occurred on that street. Read our report here.

Similarly, Save the Oxley founder Ken Healey says the RMS is relying on flawed Oxley Highway crash statistics.

Save the Oxley organiser Ken Healey on his BMW K 1300 R - Motorcycle Friendly Town (Photo: Keoghs Vision Photography) siege flawed
Save the Oxley organiser Ken Healey on his BMW K 1300 R (Photo: Keoghs Vision Photography)

“I’ve been reading their bullshit for over a year now,” he says.

“They are experts at justifying what they do.”

He says that all six deaths occurred on just three low-speed corners.

“Doesn’t that tell you something must be wrong with those corner?” he asks.

“All corners were speed advised as 45km/h, so they couldn’t have been going fast by the time they left the road.

Minister announces speed changes

The Minister announced the speed changes at a meeting she called on Monday with local stakeholders.

Gary says he can’t see the point of the meeting “as they had already decided”.

Ken says the Minister left after making her announcement and didn’t stay for any of the discussion. He referred to it as a “dictatorship”.

“She wasn’t interested in the slightest to what we all had to say,” he says.

Flawed statistics - Melinda Pavey NSW Roads Minister Oxley highway
Melinda Pavey talks to media (File photo from Facebook)

Tourism affected

Ken says the Minister “couldn’t give a rat’s arse about the businesses that will go broke”.

“It’s the curtain call for Gingers Creek Roadhouse and Mt Seaview Resort,” he says.

“It also came about one week after we had the Wauchope Moto Fest set up under the umbrella of the Chamber of Commerce.

Wauchope motorcycle friendly town Moto Fest speed battle Oxley highway flawed
Spectators at the Moto Fest

“So here we are as a community trying to improve motorcycle tourism and she and the RMS do that.

“Guys on the Save the Oxley Facebook page are already saying they won’t be coming back. They won’t be ridding 600km to ride an 80km/h road.” 

Gary says he is concerned about the effect on his business.

“I rely on motorbikes for most of my business, especially the accommodation. They are my main customers,” he says.

“People come from a long way to ride this road.”

Gary and Ken claim police have not patrolled the mountain section because it is too narrow and dangerous for them to do u-turns and set up radar traps.

Ken says he expects police will find a way to patrol the new speed limits.

However, Gary says police have told him they “can’t do much on the road”.