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Political views on bikers

As we head to the polls with the verdict at unbackable odds, it’s interesting for riders to check out the parties‘ views on motorcycles.

Labor’s Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, has been an advocate of two wheels as a solution, not a problem ever since he travelled through Europe and noticed the “cities are thronged with motorbikes and scooters as people take advantage of this low-cost, low-energy and space-efficient form of transport”.

“However in the Australian policy context, they tend only to be mentioned in discussions about safety,” he says.

“This can obscure the fact that they are an important and growing component of the urban transport mix at a time when congestion drags like an anchor on our time and productivity. “

At the Australian Motorcycle Council 4th Annual Federal Members and Senators Motorcycle Ride he acknowledged that modern bikes and riders are safer and that while safety is still an issue it shouldn’t stand in the way of exploring their “massive potential in moving people around”.

He even recognised the benefits of lane-splitting and filtering: “Depending on the local laws covering lane splitting or filtering, motorcycles and scooters take up a lot less space in slow moving or stationary traffic. Some recent European studies suggest truly extraordinary improvements in congestion through a greater reliance on motorcycles.”

He announced four policy commitments by the Labor Party:

“First, we will make sure we understand much more than we do now about the effects of motorcycle use on the whole transport system in Australian cities, and how to maximise the benefits. If we do this we can put issues like the costs of lane splitting or filtering and parking into perspective.

“Secondly, motorcyclists and scooter riders themselves will be part of the transport infrastructure planning process. There has been real progress in this area by some local and state governments, but we can do a lot better.

“Thirdly, at a Commonwealth level we need to go well beyond the current statistics which don’t extend beyond mortality rates. We must understand much more about risk factors, both behavioural and environmental. For example, road barriers that are designed to minimise damage in a car crash, may in fact be deadly for a motorcyclist. Motorcyclists must be part of this discussion.

“Fourthly, we will work with States and Territories to make sure regulations affecting motorcyclists are uniform across the country. It is crazy that you can buy a helmet in Civic and be breaking the law by the time you reach Queanbeyan. We need a national standard for helmets and preferably also one for clothing so that riders everywhere can have the best possible protection.”

I’m still awaiting a reply from the office of Warren Truss, the Opposition spokesman on Infrastructure and Transport.

However, being from Maryborough we would hope the recent good behaviour of riders at the annual Ulysses AGM rally in hills region has left a favourable impression.

This post will be updated the minute I receive a response.