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Riders targeted in road toll debate

crash road toll accident motorcycle

Despite the motorcyclist road toll decreasing more than any other group in Australia, police and media are targeting the few dangerously high speeds of some stupid riders.

The annual road toll debate has again fired up after a very bad holiday season shattered near-historic road toll lows.

According to official data, up to the end of November, motorcyclist fatalities were down 11.6% from 241 to 213.

It was the most dramatic drop of any category, yet motorcycle registrations are the fastest growing of any category, doubling in the last dozen years.

Click here to read about the road statistics scam.


Figures for the holiday period have not yet been crunched, but they seem to reveal a dramatic spike in all road deaths.

Riders demonised

Rear facing speed camera road toll
Photograph supplied by the WA Police department allegedly showing a speeding rider

Yet, police and mainstream media in most states have trotted out the usual examples of motorcyclists riding at dangerously high speeds.

In Queensland it was a motorcyclist who rode at 192km/h through the 80km/h Airport Link tunnel.

There will always be stupid motorists in all categories. But a few extreme examples do not tell the true story.

In fact, the highest increase in fatalities was cyclists, up 15.6% (admittedly in small numbers from 32 to 37), but there doesn’t seem to be much talk about that.

If the road toll continues to climb and so much police and media attention is paid to speeding, then clearly the strategy is not working.

Political response to toll

But don’t expect politicians to do anything constructive about it, even though the Liberal Government Labor and the Labor Opposition have called for an inquiry into road safety.

Labor Party transport spokesman Anthony Albanese, who has long been a supporter of motorcycles as a solution to transport problems, cites a 50% shortfall in the $220 million pledged towards the black spot program.

Quite an important issue given so many riders have crashed in shoddy roadworks in the past few years as our roads disintegrate more and more.

Instead of rebutting the claims, Transport Minister Darren Chester simply attacked him for politicising road trauma.

  1. “so many riders have crashed in shoddy roadworks.”

    A lot of the accidents that happen in road works could be avoided if the riders had better skills. Of course, the riders involved will never admit to that. Maybe it is time to introduce compulsory dirt riding training. Training centres could be set up that have sections of gravel, sand and mud, and trail bikes (something fairly indestructible) could be supplied. Riders should only be given their licence when the have demonstrated that they can safely negotiate a course and brake in these conditions.

    Some of the crashes in road works are caused by inappropriate use of traction control. If you can’t turn the system down, turn it off. Traction control takes away your ability to ‘power’ through loose and soft surfaces, and ‘power’ out of trouble. Unfortunately, many people have little understanding of what this system does. They think that because of its name it somehow magically makes the tyres maintain traction. Basically, all it does is limit your use of the throttle so you can’t make the rear wheel spin faster than the front. But if the front wheel is skidding, as it does on loose or soft surfaces, you need to be able to spin the rear wheel to maintain some drive and for rear wheel steering. Instead, traction control cuts the power just when you need it, the front slides out, and you drop like a dead duck.

    1. I agree !
      I did a brass monkeys rally some time back and 90 % of the riders who had new road bikes or never rode in the dirt had to have their bikes carried up a steep wet grassy hill . Most of them either looked in envy or something else as I rode past them picking their bikes up or holding them up on the trailer as the tractor hauled them up the hill. I just stood on the pegs and let my xj900s dance it’s way up the hill.

      1. “I just stood on the pegs and let my xj900s dance it’s way up the hill.”

        There is a good lesson in what you said, Al. Inexperienced riders try to keep the bike rigidly under control. But on loose or slippery surfaces if you let the bike dance (move around) underneath you it will get you through places where otherwise you would crash.

        And that is the problem with traction control. It rigidly keeps the rear wheel traction under control. This works well in consistent, predictable conditions, like a race track (which is why MotoGP riders use it). But in the unpredictable conditions of the real world sometimes you need to make the rear wheel ‘break loose’ to save yourself.

  2. Almost two out of three (61%) multi-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle, the other driver was responsible. In motorcycle intersection collisions, the other driver is responsible in 71% of crashes.
    – Motorcycle Council of NSW

    There’s also evidence that drivers who have no contact with motorcycling
    (they don’t ride, & don’t have a family member or friend who rides)
    are much more likely to hit a motorcycle.

    Police & media should be jumping up & down about cars, not motorcycles.

  3. One of the main issues is that offroad accidents involving quad bikes and trail bikes are included in the stats. Even if the accident occurred on private property. I know that WorkCover complained a year or so ago that they where not being advised of accidents on working agricultural properties. The Police where investigating the accident, when it was actually in WorkCover’s jurisdiction.

    Another issues I found out just recently, when I had a ‘no fault’ accident, is when the police enter an accident on their computer system, the details are not recorded on the information that is sent to other Gov agencies. All the systems provides is the date and the type of vehicle involved. They have to access to the Police data base to see what actually happened and who was at fault.

    1. Off road and private property crashes are not included in most stats (i.e. Transport Dept). You need to look at hospital data for those crashes, which then in turn exclude many on-road minor/no injury crashes.

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