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Rider representatives in no-win situation

Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland photo - riders at Federal Parliament mandatory recalls representative road safety survey

Rider representatives walk a thin line between working with governments and criticising them for their frequent dumb decisions and neglect of rider rights and needs.

They often incur the wrath of riders for cozying up to governments and not criticising them enough.

It can be a no-win situation for those who represent riders.

We sometimes wonder why they bother sitting in long, boring meetings with bureaucrats only to be criticised by riders unwilling to do the same.

But we are thankful all the same that some riders volunteer to do just that.

Unfortunately, the criticism of rider representatives also leads to splintering of rider groups which only tends to water down our effective collective advocacy power.

ACT representative group

An example of how a rider representative group can have input in government decisions is the small Motorcycle Riders Association of the ACT.

In the past few years the ACT government has agreed to a lane-filtering trial, trialled multiple motorcycles using car parking bays, funded a $50,000 program to improve motorcyclists’ skills and produced a road safety plan that recognises riders.

And Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury has recognised the input of the Motorcycle Riders’ Association of the ACT, saying they will continue to consult with them.

Sense of frustration

MRA of ACT spokeswoman Jen Woods agrees they “work fairly closely with ACT Government”.

However, you can sense her frustration in working with bureaucrats.

She says it’s been a while since they’ve met because of personnel changes.

Ulysses Club president Jen Woods  representative
Ulysses Club president and MR of ACT spokeswoman Jen Woods

Jen is also a little frustrated that lane filtering is not yet a permanent rule after a two-year lane filtering trial began in February 2015.

The trial was extended indefinitely early last year, pending the outcome of an evaluation based on community feedback and crash data.

“There is a meeting in March to discuss the lane filtering trial (the meeting is not with MRA ACT but the ACT Road Safety Advisory Board) and we should have an announcement soon thereafter,” she says.

As for the parking trial, we have not been able to get a reply from the relevant minister and Jen is just as much in the dark.

I really don’t know much about that and I really think it was a fizzler,” she says.

“Heard nothing from riders, nothing from ACT Government – that could even well mean it’s working well and everyone is happy. Can’t say though that I see three bikes to a bay. Not surprised.

“I expect there to be a meeting soon to discuss and work our way through how this will be implemented.

“We will always push for any changes to be associated with an information communications plan.”