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Police operation targets speeding riders

2016 Indian Springfield convertible hard bagger
MBW on the Putty Rd

Operation Silverstone and Operation Safe Hills have been launched for the spring/summer riding season to specifically target speeding riders, one with air support.

Silverstone is based in the Central Hunter, Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie regions of NSW and Safe Hills in the Adelaide hills. There are also ongoing motorcycle-oriented operations in other states.

The NSW operation will specifically target favourite motorcycle routes such as the Putty and Wollombi roads with police helicopters and unmarked cars. Nine riders have died on Hunter roads this year.

Riders will be monitored until March 1 by Polair helicopters which will pass on information to ground crews in marked, unmarked, and “covert” highway patrol vehicles. These covert vehicles will include a “variety of vehicles” nor normally associated with highway patrol.

Regional highway patrol commander Superintendent Bob Ryan says Operation Silverstone is aimed at “keeping riders and drivers safe and alive on our roads during the peak motorcycle riding season”.

He says officers will also speak with riders at popular rest areas, encouraging them to take responsibility and obey the rules.

Operation Safe Hills

In South Australia, Operation Safe Hills will start again this weekend targeting riders after gathering six months’ worth of data from last year’s operation.

Operation Safe Hills Riders in the Adelaide hills
Riders in the Adelaide hills

However, motorcyclist, road safety campaigner and Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party candidate Judith Kuerschner believes “they’re out to get us”.

She says the same police campaign last year found only 3% of total vehicles that were speeding were bikes. There were no fatalities involving motorcyclists, but there were 82 crashes with five fatalities and 87 seriously injured.

“Yet this is a ‘motorbike operation’?” she asks.

“That clearly shows that motorcyclists, and particularly speeding ones, were very much in the minority.

“Yet they love to tout this ‘We’re out to get you’ line to stir up resentment from motorcyclists and complacency from car drivers. After all, it’s not like they are being targeted.

“If they can’t fine us into extinction, they’re going take so much of the fun out of riding that many just won’t bother.

Operations in other states

Police in other states are also expected to step up vigilance of riders in the popular warmer months.

For example, in Queensland, ongoing motorcycle specific educational campaigns include Operation North Upright in the Logan area and Mount Zero on Mts Nebo, Glorious and Mee.

“During the campaigns, motorcyclists enjoying the hinterland area and mountain roads are invited to stop for a chat about road safety with experienced motorcycle officers from the Road Policing Command. Safe riding techniques are explained through displays, demonstrations and discussion,” a QPD statement says. Further operations are planned, it says.

In Victoria, the ongoing Operation Modus indiscriminately stops riders for rigorous police checks. VicPol says they are warning riders, engaging with them, educating them and having “a conversation’’.

It follows recent motorcycle operations such as Operation Regal in the Otways area and Operation Motosafe throughout the state during the MotoGP.