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Returned riders safety risk ‘is a furphy’

Ipswich Bike Nights John Eacott support sentence Returned riders safety risk is a furphy time limit
John Eacott chooses to wear high-visibility gear but says it should not be compulsory

Police and road safety authority claims that returned riders are the biggest safety risk on the road is a “furphy”, says Victorian Motorcycle Council media spokesman John Eacott (pictured above).

John has spent some time analysing Victorian Transport Accident Commission (TAC) statistics and now claims returned riders are not the major safety risk they have been labelled.

He says this is a concern because road safety initiatives are being directed to the wrong group.

Stats don’t lie

“It would appear that the TAC site has a better analysis than we initially thought with Motorcycle Age Group and Gender as a good start,” he says.

“In 2018, there were 38 motorcyclist fatalities and, in 2017/2018, 1312 motorcycle riders were compensated by the TAC for injuries involving an acute hospital admission.

“Some 53% of motorcycle riders who lost their lives in 2018 and 48% of those hospitalised in 2017/2018 were aged over 40.

“While the numbers of females injured have increased, males are significantly more likely to lose their lives or be seriously injured than females.”

While these are Victorian figures, the state and national stats show similar results. Check out the national motorcycles fatalities graph below.


However, this is only half the story.

Licence holders by age/gender

John also researched the ages of registered Victorian motorcycle licence holders on the Motorcycle Crash Data site.

He found that in June 2017 there were more than 420,000 Victorians with a current motorcycle licence or permit with the following breakdown:

  • 88% were male;
  • 5% aged 25 or less;
  • 70% aged over 40;
  • 20% aged over 60 (with 4% over 70); and
  • Just over half (56%) of motorcycle licence holders were active riders.

Once again, the figures are expected to be similar in all states and nationally.

“So while the age group and gender implies a ‘worrying’ crash rate for over 40s, they account for less than 50% of fatals and hospitalisations yet comprise 70% of licensed riders,” John says.

“Using the stats on the age group page, under 25s have 11% of fatals and 24% of hospital admissions, yet they are only 5% of registered riders.

“Comparatively the over-60s comprised 21% of fatalities and 11% of hospitalisations yet are 20% of licence holders, so they are underrepresented in hospitalisations and on percentage for fatalities.

“The lack of referencing to these factual statistics by the various authorities along with the constant referencing of stats for over 40s shows an institutional bias against older riders.

“Until this is corrected and the over-representation in accidents of under 25s is addressed, we fear nothing will change.”

Road safety funding misdirected

VMC chairman John Eacott against mandatory gloves and boots injuries Returned riders safety risk is a furphy
John Eacott

“Time and time again the government and media make comments about returned riders being a problem,” John says.

“We are actually underrepresented in crash stats and under 25s are grossly overrepresented and this is not being addressed.

“It is a misapplication of resources and the Motorcycle Safety Levy.”

John suggests the levy would be better used to subsidise advanced rider courses that would be voluntary for mature riders and mandatory for novices before they secure their full licence.

“The VMC does not agree with the levy,” he says.

“No other section of the road-using public has to fund their own safety. It’s appalling.

“However, while it’s there, let’s use it to subsidise these course as a positive improvement in motorcycle safety.”

  1. As the Australian population is said to be aging, it would be no surprise that the motorcycling population is aging as well.
    The over-representation of under-25’s is nothing new and is mirrored in the car world. Just ask the insurance companies.
    I do have to wonder about the term “active rider”. What are the criteria? Km per year? Trips per week or month?

  2. How do they define a ‘returned rider’? Is it linked to registration in Victoria or Australia wide?

  3. When experts apply their own brand of logic and common sense except idiocy to follow.
    The logic that they use before actually doing any unbiased research is something like this.
    Older riders are expected to crash and die more because their eye sight hearing and reflexes are diminished compared with a young person, old people are likely to have poor health and or have medical conditions that can either cause an accident or result in death after a survivable accident, old returning riders think they can still ride like teenagers but due to all the above come to grief when they try to ride like they use to.
    All this is true to a great extent however it ignores the fact that returning riders already have experience and skill and often a lot more common sense than the supposed experts, they know that they aren’t young anymore and that we just go splat when we hit the ground like an over ripe tomatoe so only the idiotic few and those who are new old riders will make the kind of mistakes that young riders do.
    And as for the statistics they keep trying to sensationalise they are mostly bullshit! When idiots kills them selves while committing a crime such as stealing a bike using drugs or alcohol or both etc they should not be included in the same set of statistics as ordinary traffic accidents.
    On another rant.
    The statistics used to justify speeding fines are total bullshit of the smelliest kind.
    They claim speed is a major contributing factor in over fifty percent of fatalities which apart from poor accident investigation methods is probably true, the BS is in the semantics of the word speeding. You are being deliberately misled into thinking that speeding and excessive speed only occur when traveling faster than the posted limit and if you’re traveling at or below the speed limit you’re safe. This is the BS part of the equation Speed limits have nothing to do with what is a safe speed which is why about 98% of all so called speed related fatalities occur at speeds that are below or close to the posted limit.
    The tiny percentage of fatalities that do occur at speeds above the limit are mostly people who are doing more than just driving fast.

  4. It is my observation that OLDER riders are adhering to road rules and common sense safety measures : and being bullied and abused by drivers that FAIL to follow those guidelines = legal and courteous ! ! !
    I observe this : EVERY TIME that I go out on a bike and EVERY time I go out in my car ! ! !

  5. Is the underlying data available? It would be much more relevant to graph the fatalities & hospitalisations per 1,000 riders instead of the total numbers as shown above.

  6. Why is always about ‘returned’ riders? There are many of us who have never stopped riding since starting at about 15.
    I have been involved with a motorcycle tour and rental company for 33 years. The average age of people on commercial tours would be about 60. I have seen plenty of accidents, including a few fatals. But 99% of accidents by our old riders are parking lot drops. The few highway fatals I can think of have been due to special circumstances that have nothing to do with age. Usually poor judgement.
    When we set out on a tour with say 15 bikes, you can bet that it will be the younger riders who will give the organisers and guides heart attacks.
    I have been sitting in a cafe watching a rider on Glympse app 100kms away hit 180kmh, when he thinks that nobody is watching. Yes, he was in his early forties….this particular guy had three distracting screens on his bars, phone, GPS, and ipad. Shortly after returning home to the US, he crashed….
    Youthful exuberance, age and experience etc etc…..

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