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Report rejects motorcycle boxes trial

Lane filtering lane splitting stop lines report minister change kerb boxes
Advanced motorcycle stop lane in Spain

Hopes of a trial of forward stop lines or motorcycle boxes for the safety of filtering riders have been set back after the Australian Road Research Board rejected the idea.

Forward stop lines are used in many European and Asian countries to give riders a safe head-start from traffic and protect them from rear-end crashes.

The only state with a similar system is Queensland which has green bicycle storage boxes that motorcyclists can use under certain circumstances.

While most states say they have no plans for the forward stop lines or motorcycle boxes, Victoria decided to investigate the proposal.

Forward motorcycle stop lines for lane filtering riders boxes
Bicycle stop line in Melbourne

Motorcycle boxes setback

However, that has suffered a step back with the Victorian-based ARRB ruling out two options for trials in its “Preview of Motorcycle Boxes” which has not yet been released to the public.

This is despite calls from rider groups for trials which have been backed by the Victorian Police and the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce.

The ARRB draft report commissioned for Melbourne Council and VicRoads says rear-end crashes are “insignificant” and did not warrant the forward stop lines trial.

It says “only” 7% of motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries are rear-end crashes and 13% are caused by lane changes.

Those figures may be insignificant to the ARRB but would seem pretty significant to most riders!road rage tailgate tailgating rear-ender motorcycles BMW S 1000 RR lane filtering lane splitting gap boxes

Rubbery figures

The figures have also been disputed as “rubbery” by the Motorcycle Riders Association of Victoria.

The MRA Victoria point out that the ARRB did not consult motorcycle and scooter representatives, but only talked to bicycle and pedestrian groups.

Spokesman Damien Codognotto says the ARRB study was “set up to find in the negative” and has called for costs of the study.

The ARRB is a commercial research centre that receives partial government funding.

A spokesman confirms they have recommended against “a plan for coloured on-road boxes at central Melbourne intersections reserved for motorcycles”.

A City of Melbourne spokesperson says the ARRB report has been sent to all members of the Motorcycles in Melbourne committee and will be discussed at the upcoming meeting in April.

The draft report also claims that VicRoads spent $30m on motorcycle safety, but it is believed most of this was paid out of the Motorcycle Safety Levy funds.

Some of this expenditure included $500,000 to update the motorcycle booklet and $750,000 for changing registration to permit LAMS motorcycles.

  1. The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) feasibility study to recommend whether or not a trial to see if motorcycle stop lines at some intersections were feasible was a way to spend money. We will ask at the April meeting just how much the ARRB study actually cost.

    To get it straight, what we wanted was a stop line for cars set back about 1.5 bike lengths from pedestrian crossings at intersection. In one respect that would/could be an expansion of the existing stop lines for bicycles. The bicycle stop lines (in pc jargon “safety boxes”) were introduced with no studies or trials and they have worked very well in Melbourne for years.

    The motorcycle & scooter stop lines we proposed would increase separation between cars and pedestrians, reduce motorbike rider use of bicycle stop lines and would compliment the relatively new legitimisation of traffic filtering.

    ARRB, no one else, added the unnecessary concept of a painted area for motorbike stop lines as they do for bicycle lanes and stop lines. One could be forgiven for thinking this added cost to introducing motorbike stop lines was added by ARRB to discourage road authorities from introducing the facility at suitable intersections should said authorities decide to go against the word of ARRB.

    What we asked for was simple and sensible. It required only a stencil and a small amount of white paint. It would not work at all intersections but where it did it would protect pedestrians, take pressure off bicyclists, improve traffic flow for car drivers and make it safer for motorcycle & scooter riders.

    BUT at unknown cost, along came ARRB.

    Damien Codognotto OAM
    The Motorcycle Riddlers Association

    1. How would moving the stopping line back 1.5 bike lengths (3 metres?) impact the functioning of the magnetic induction coils that are below the road surface and directly behind the current stopping line?

      It would seem to me that cars stopping 3 metres from the coils would not be detected by them.

      1. yep – as for “It required only a stencil and a small amount of white paint” — not so, such boxes could not be painted in front of existing stop line (as they would then protrude into traffic on cross road). So it would mean as you say the stop lines would end up behind the magnetic induction coils so coils would be ineffective. So it would be a massive expense to A. stencil boxes and B. move coils back.

        1. Not so. The trial would only effect half a dozen MELBOURNE intersections. Most of them already have stop lines back far enough to accommodate motorcycles & scooters between where cars already are supposed to stop and pedestrian crossings. At the few intersections wherever sensors for traffic lights do exist closer to pedestrians, we are advised motorcycles could trigger the lights. If the trial is successful the new motorcycle stop lines with appropriate sensors would be installed as intersections we’re upgraded. MELBOURNE has 5 million people and 4 million buses, trucks, vans, cars and motorbikes so intersections regularly require upgrades so funding for the safer motorcycle stop lines would be over time.

          We are confident the cost of improving safety and traffic flow with motorcycle stop lines will generate benefits, especially to pedestrians, that make these stop lines cost effective.

          We have done our homework.

          Compare the cost of bicycle lanes & stop lines in Melbourne.

  2. There is often a crazy disconnect between how much something makes costs and saves.
    When the government bean counters look at something it will most often have a narrow focus to the point that they rarely look at all three aspects of any financial situation.
    An example is that they will often recommend implementing various taxes that often cost more to manage etc than they return in revenue, conversely they will often refuse to spend money that will actually save them much more elsewhere. Imagine how many lives would be saved and the reduction in all associated costs from motor vehicle accidents if the government spent even half the revenue they rake in from speed infringement fines on proper driver education and not just lip service to justify more speed cameras.

  3. What happened to their “one life lost is too many” attitude.
    “It says “only” 7% of motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries are rear-end crashes and 13% are caused by lane changes.”

  4. I love Alaska. I have ridden the Alaska highway three times now, and at the frequent road works, if you don’t go the front of a queue yourself, you will be called up anyway. Countless times this has happened.

    It reflects common sense and consideration.

  5. Can’t they just pass a law that says we, as motorcyclists, can go over the front line as long as we don’t impede pedestrians? Simple & no changes to road markings. Am I missing something?
    This is what I do already because despite the law stating that I need to wait behind the line, this would mean waiting between cars & then encouraging them to drag race me. I find my option safer (which is my main priority) & I just make sure I don’t go over the pedestrian line.

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