A ministerial directive for police to target motorcyclists because of “alarming” crash statistics, is misleading to the public and unfair to riders, according to the Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland.
Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan says riders are over-represented in crashes and police say they will actively “engage” riders.
However, this is yet another example of politicians and police selectively quoting motorcycle crash statistics as we outlined in this previous article.
In fact, the rolling five-year analysis of national motorcycle fatalities shows that they are currently tracking lower than the 2004-08 period. It is the same trend in Queensland.
Australian Motorcycle Fatalities
Meanwhile, there has been a 5% increase in national motorcycle registrations every year since 2005, doubling in number over about 11 years.
So, not only are motorcycle crash numbers going down in real terms, but also as a proportion of the number of riders.
Licence to harass
The Minister’s statement and campaign to direct police to engage riders represents nothing more than vilifying riders and giving police a licence to harass them.
Queensland Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating says motorcyclists can expect greater engagement with officers over law enforcement and conversations around safety under Operation Grenadine.
MRAQ president Chris Mearns says the public is being misled by “completely wrong statistics used to justify another round of singularly focused activity aimed at motorcyclists in Queensland without any particular attempt to understand the issues involved in motorcycle crashes”.
“The statistics used to justify the increased enforcement attention simply does not stack up,” he says.
“The MRAQ has been actively involved with various Government groups in the hope of better targeting the reasons for motorcycle crashes and understands that enforcement is one of the various avenues available to Government to attempt to reduce the crash rate.
“However, if this is the only one used then the result is highly likely to not achieve any great advance in rider safety but will go to reinforce an already existing attitude that riders are unfairly targeted for enforcement attention.
“The MRAQ calls upon the Queensland Government to better investigate the reasons for motorcycle crashes and then work with riders and others to achieve a holistic approach to safety instead of all to regularly resorting to a single means campaign which is unlikely to have any tangible result.”