Does on-road motorcycle training reduce crashes?

Steve Gates -  Macquarie Pass Accident 12-19-14 (5)

On-road motorcycle training does not reduce the risk of crashing but makes riders more cocky leading to higher risk behaviour such as speeding, an Australian university study has found.

They also reported that these riders spent more time riding which means they are longer on the road and therefore statistically more likely to be involved in an incident.

The study of 2399 newly-licensed provisional riders recruited in Victoria was conducted from May 2010 to October 2012. It was funded by the Victorian Government Motorcycle Safety Levy paid by all state riders in their annual registration fee.

The riders were put through a VicRide coaching program put together by the Monash University Accident Research Centre in conjunction with Honda Rider Training Australia (HART) and Learning Systems Analysis.

The on-road motorcycle rider coaching program involved pre-program activities, four hours of on-road riding and discussion in small groups with a riding coach.

Results were obtained from the riders reporting back to the researchers and cross-checked with police records of crashes and traffic offences.

The Victorian study was carried out by university researchers Rebecca Ivers and Teresa Senserrick whose results have just been released.Learner rider - Calum demonstrates slow riding techniques safety contract

In their report, they say there is no evidence that on-road coaching helped novice orders avoid crashes.

“Riders in the intervention group reported fewer near crashes at three months, but the effect was not sustained at 12 months; nor was it replicated in sensitivity analyses including only riders who completed the program,” the report says.

“The intervention group reported more confidence in riding skills, more attribution of crash responsibilities to riders, more speeding behaviours and more riding hours in an average week than control riders, after accounting for the effects of age, gender, and riding exposure. There were no differences in police-recorded traffic offences, or in other self-report measures.”

It seems from their report that riders learn better hazard perception skills, but these may be offset by an increase in risk behaviour from heightened confidence.

“A careful balance must be achieved in training to ensure riders do not develop unrealistic confidence in their ability, as this may lead to greater risk taking behaviour and therefore higher crash risk,” the report says.

Read the full report here.

Neuroscience Research Australia Senior Research Officer Dr Liz de Rome was involved as one of the researchers on this study.

“It was great to be able to run a well-designed study to investigate this important motorcycle safety issue,” she says.

Australian Motorcycle Council spokesman Guy Stanford says the research is credible and “a real surprise”. 

“It tells us that there is much, much, more to learn about novice rider training than we thought,” he says.

“It shows that what experienced riders have learned from their personal experience of training and subsequently improving their own riding does not transfer well to novice riders. This will require considerable reflection.

“Really, it tells us that THIS teaching method didn’t work.

“The coaching contact was quite minimal and ‘up front’ only. A different method of coaching, say more like an apprenticeship, with regular contact between periods of riding, may produce a quite different result.

“I reckon we’ll be digesting this for a while and mining bits for clarity with analysis of results; eg equating “behaviours associated with increased crash risk” with actual crashes may overlook actual exposure adjusted crash reduction as a result of training.

“Perhaps confounders arise here with actual crash data available from Vicroads; there does not appear to be a direct link to participants, introducing assumptions in the analysis.

“It shows that getting novice training right will take more thought, directly linked crash data and more trials of different methods of training.”



  1. Looking at this supposed study a conspiracy theorist might come to think that it’s sole purpose was to discredit rider training so that the government could avoid calls to institute training programs by pointing to this study and claiming that it doesn’t work.
    It’s a well known fact that surveys and studies can be made to reach a desired conclusion by asking the questions in the right way to get the required answer, eg pro life Do you support the murder of babies? Answer no. Pro choice Do you believe in slavery? Answer no.
    Now for the training it’s self just enough that it might increase a false sense of confidence but not enough to actually do any good, wrap it all up in a nice little bow and you have a conspiracy theory that any nut would be glad to take credit for.
    For further tips on spotting government flimflam just watch a few episodes of the BBC Documentary scratch that comedy Yes Minister.

  2. Its a pity they don’t apply the same ‘research’ to the effect of hidden speed cameras. A current official RMS ad quotes; “if the rider had known about the speed camera ahead, he may have slowed down and avoided an accident”. So how does that equate to mobile cameras and unmarked cars?

    It doesn’t of course. Its all about money. If they really want to slow people down, all they have to do is advertise camera and Police presence. But revenue would drop so that is not going to happen.

    1. Interesting thing statistics the road toll has been dropping since around 1975
      the figures are used to justify increased enforcement,
      With no mention the changes brought by dual carriage motorways between
      and around our major cities . As a truck driver back then i well recall that
      slippery narrow potholed deaht trap between sydney and melbourne
      6 drivers were killed in one night alone on one bad stretch down near
      the nsw vic border some of the bitumen was like glass in the wet ,
      It is far easier to blame the motorist than accept the responsibility for poor

    2. Don’t worry the Monash University Accident Research Centre Have conducted a survey that says speed cameras save lives and any annoying evidence to the contrary is just standard statistical deviation that they have factored for .


    Who in their right mind would discredit rider training based on a study where they trained the riders in such a pathetic way.

    The report says “The program consisted of one FOUR-HOUR session comprising a series of short rides (15–20 min) on a planned route and pre- and post-ride discussions in a group of up to three novice riders accompanied by a trained coach.” So you expect people to learn everything they need in that time?

    And has anyone seen how they train in Victoria??? I’ve seen Victorian instructors that can’t ride safely themselves!!! Why is the Vic Government now investing money in fixing the rider training system?? Because it doesn’t work!!!

    Good and ongoing training works people.

    I’ll give you some numbers to think about.

    Motorcycles are less than 5% of the registered road fleet, and motorcycle riders and pillions are 18% of the fatalities on our roads.

    If not training, what?

    1. I really don’t see why being 5% of road users yet 18% of fatalities is
      a suprise. Collisions that wouldn’t merit the attendance of police
      between 2 cars would be enough to put us in hospital .That is because
      we are not stuck in a bloody big metal cage. On the plus side it is highly
      unusual for us to cause any harm to anyone but ourselves or our pillions.
      Something you certainly can’t say about just about any other form of

    2. SM, I agree with you wholeheartedly, the training program was inadequate in time terms and I would hazard a guess, that it was also designed to fit training and assessment criteria, more than designed to achieve an outcome for the rider. There is simply no substitute for experience, which is what on road training comprises of….experience. If experience were not beneficial, then riders who have been riding for 20 years would be having as many crashes as new riders. To add further, the sample group is too small to determine an accurate assessment of the program. Mathematically, it makes no logical sense to attempt to make any determinations of the effects of the program when utilising such a small core sample group. In addition, the question of the teachers and their ability to teach is another variable. Some rider trainers are able to impart knowledge and others not. If you have ever seen what is classified as a learner course of late, then you should understand what I am getting at. Inadequate is a huge understatement.
      Keep it shiny side up!

  4. I was going to take swimming lessons but the more i learn to swim
    the more ‘COCKY” i get and the more likely i am to drown or get
    eaten by a shark because i swim more. What a lot of drivel
    The vic government will be happy. Less rider training. More fines

  5. Well I tried to read the report but stopped as soon as I spotted the fundamental flaws that render the whole study worthless.
    The first flaw is that the study focused on the riders in a manor that scewed the results, participating in a study can have a similar effect to a placebo also when you look at something under a magnifying glass you see things you wouldn’t normally see but are still there. Second they factored traffic offences in, traffic offences aren’t in themselves evidence of risk taking they are evidence of being charged with an offence only what is required is the type of offence and circumstances, many of us have been pinged by a dodgy speed or redlight camera or been booked by a copper with an attitude making the quota, so including offences without clear evidence that they are actually the result of risk taking is poor science
    You can’t say but it will even out over the whole as the group is too small for that and applying mathematical corrections for standard statistical deviations further degrades the study as the group needs to be in the millions not thousands for those corrections to be valid.
    Third it was done by a body that many suspect if funded by Tabacco companies would report that smoking is good for you.

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