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Are motorcyclists really speed demons?

speed demons monash contradiction

Motorcyclists are frequently the target of police and media hype about speeding, yet the figures show we are not necessarily the speed demons were are made out to be.

Car drivers represent about 97% of all speeding offence notices, according to an average of figures obtained from the three eastern states.

By comparison, motorcyclists represent only 1.6% of all speeders. That is about a third of our proportional representation on Australia’s roads (about 4%), while cars represent about 55% of all traffic.

However, riders do represent a higher proportion of high-speed offenders and uninsured and unregistered speeders.

Accidental speeders and speed demonsScotland introduces 1mph speeding tolerance demons

It seems the majority of car drivers caught speeding were “accidental” or “calculated risk” speeders who only drifted slightly over the speed limit or judged that a small amount of speeding was acceptable.

The percentage of car drivers who exceeded the posted limit by less than 10km/h was about 97% of all motorists.

That percentage declined 2-3% for every 10km/h over, dropping to 89% for exceeding the speed by 45km/h or more.

Motorcyclists seem to watch their speedos to avoid drifting over the limit, but are more intent on high-speed riding.

The number of “accidental” motorcycle speeders was actually 1.3% of all >10km/h speeding motorists. That is less than their average speeding offence proportion and a third of their proportional representation on the road.

But instead of our proportion decreasing with higher speeds like car drivers, it increases.

For 10-20km/h over, riders were 1.7% of the total speeders for that speed range.

It then almost doubled to 3.2% from 20-30km/h over, although that is still below our 4% traffic representation.

However, riders represented a substantial 10% of all speeders who exceeded the limit by 45km/h or more. That’s more than twice our traffic representation.

Uninsured and unregistered

Another interesting statistics is the number of uninsured or unregistered motorists who speed.

They represent about 12.9% of speeding car drivers and 14.7% for riders.

The other worrying trend is that car drivers seem to be getting the message about speeding enforcement.

The number of speeding car drivers has dropped as much as 15% in NSW in the past three years.

Meanwhile, the number of speeding motorcyclists has remained the same.

Although it should be remember that NSW rider numbers have increased 17.5% from 2010 to 2017.

ConclusionLow speed threshold a danger hidden demons

What this all means for enforcement is that police should spend less time and effort trapping accidental speeders.

Instead, they should be using number plate identification to trap uninsured and unregistered motorists and should be patrolling the roads for dangerous speed demons.

So why don’t they?

Because the dollar value of low-grade speeding makes up about 70% of speed revenue!

  1. I really dislike exceeding the speed limit being called speeding.
    Exceeding the speed limit is just that and only that until it becomes speeding by virtue of other circumstances and those circumstances are the same ones that can make doing less than the limit speeding.
    It is this deliberate mis information that allows the revenue junkies to keep ripping us off while claiming it’s a safety campaign. No it’s just a taxation campaign and it is costing lives!
    This assault on drivers, riders wallets educates people to think that the speed limit is safe regardless of the circumstances and this is why ninety eight percent of fatalities occur at or below the limit.
    Exceeding the speed limit should be called revenue donation.

  2. This report reinforces an idea that I have had bubbling around in head for a long time.

    That we should establish a known tolerance for exceeding the speed limit (say 8km/hr at 60 moving up to 15km/hr at 100km), so accidental ‘speeders’ aren’t caught and increase the fines for those past this point, what the article classes as ‘intentional’ speeders.

    One thing I really liked when riding in the US, if everyone was doing 10mph over the speed limit on the Freeway no one cared, but if you were faster than the rest of the traffic you would get pulled over.

  3. There is a key statistic missing, or at least missed by me. What is the proportion of people exceeding the speed limit by 45kph or more, as a percentage of all speeders. The fact that riders make up 10% of this group is not good, but if the pool is only 1% of the total speeders, it will be a tiny number. As a follow-up to the previous comment, exceeding the speed limit by 45kph has a far lower component of “speeding” than the equivalent for a car, by both time and distance. A zx10r will comfortably do that in first gear, from a standing start, and be back at the speed limit before most cars can go from 100 to 145, and in much less distance. A 400kw club sport (about as much as you can stuff in a standard saloon) can just hit 145 in 1/8th mile, in nearly 9 seconds, compared to the zx10r, which takes nearly 3 seconds less, and is doing around 200kph by then. Looked at another way, a stock sports bike could be very well on its way back to 0 before one of the craziest cars built in Aus even gets to 145, and possibly all inside the 1/8 mile. My very long point is that rider Ron can squirt to 145, and be on the side of the road being ticketed by plod, while bogan Bruce in his evil-handling sv6 Ute is using kilometres still spooling up. They aren’t particularly comparative..

    1. Hi Tui,
      It is a small number, only 2.3% of all motorcycle speeders.
      However, this is still a significant and dangerous group! And, as usual, the media concentrates on the minority to give the majority a bad name.

  4. This lunatic “every K over is a killer” garbage reminds me of England about 500 years ago when a pitched battle was fought over whether a church would have altar rails. Half the lunatics thought altar rails were the work of the devil, other half went to war to prove them wrong.
    Fanatics just like the “speed was a factor” safety loons.

  5. Majority of accidents happen close to or below the speed limit.
    Hardly any happen 30kph or more over .
    Applies worldwide.

    1. Some people think road rules should apply to everyone else on the planet, but not to them.
      Most accidents happen close to speed limit because that’s where the incompetent drivers cluster
      & being an incompetent driver is no justification for evading speeding fines for travelling 5-10 kph over the limit.
      They fervently believe “Every K Over is a Killer” when it applies to everyone else
      but they don’t think it applies to them.
      Chew on it.

      1. The vast majority of drivers fall in the incompetent section and should not be on highways.
        And this “every K over is a killer” is a down right lie.
        As you mentioned, incompetence, distraction, fatique are the real killers, but are difficult to measure in simple methods.

  6. If you can not safely travel at 45kmh over the speed limit, on a highway, one is incompetent to travel at a 100kmh for prolonged periods!
    Of course doing 95kmh on a suburban street with a limit is pure insanity.
    Most folks would be needing a change of underwear if they tried 150kmh . Many would start to freak out at 120-130 kmh and loose their nerves, so even a 100kmh is raising their stress levels to above what can be considered, safe?

  7. What is often missed with these arguments is that speed limit is also for heavy vehicles as well as for a margin for night and rain.
    Once driverless vehicles become the norm, their computer brains linked by wi fi will raise and lower the speed limit minute by minute and never have an accident.
    The Cop with the laser gun will not be needed.
    But how long will it before that, in the interim period, will the ECU be fitted to transmit to embedded road sensors at the traffic lights, all your speed logs and you get a ticket that way?

    1. Not until we have decent internet infrastructure in Australia at least – cars will need to be able to communicate with a centralised unit – that unit will control cars, traffic lights, transmit traffic conditions and any accidents that may have occurred. I’m excited about the technology, however, I’m not sure I’ll get to see that in my lifetime here in Australia.
      It’s faster to use a tin can with string in Australia

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