Lowering the speed limits on the Oxley Highway as proposed by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services would lead to a potentially dangerous rise in rider stress levels, according to a submission to a Senate inquiry.
Long-time motorcycle rider and flight instructor Peter Callil made his scientific submission to the Senate Committee Personal Choice and Community Impacts Inquiry earlier this year.
Unfortunately, because of the recent federal election, the committee’s inquiries were not completed. And on October 11, 2016, the Senate agreed not to re-refer this inquiry to the 45th Parliament.
What an utter waste of the public’s time, effort and money!
Peter had gained his information from years of safety research starting as a flight instructor in 1988. You can read all about it here.
His theory is based on research into stress levels by human behaviour researcher Chris Welford. It shows that people perform better when their stress level is moderate and worse when it is too low and too high.
“In a road safety context, pressure relates to speed, and performance relates to our ability to operate a vehicle safely,” Peter says.
Therefore, a rider’s performance is degraded whether they are riding too fast or slow for the conditions. That makes them more vulnerable to crashing.
The NSW Roads and Maritime Services had decided to decrease speed limits in several sections of the Oxley Highway to decrease the number of crashes.
However, it could cause greater motorist stress and actually lead to an increase in crashes.
The first speed zones were lowered near Long Flat in September. Since then, there has been a backlash from the community, businesses, politicians and riders. A petition has also gathered about 7000 signatures.
Among their concerns are that the slower speeds will lead to longer travel times, more crashes and a reduction in motorcycle tourism.
In response, the RMS has agreed to re-evaluate their plans with a decision expected before Christmas.
Meanwhile, petition organiser and local rider Ken Healey has organised a public protest rally next Saturday, November 5, 2016, to protest the speed changes.
The Save the Oxley Rally will start at two separate locations:
- At Andrews Park on Cameron Street in Wauchope, assembling at 9am in the carpark for a 10am departure.
- Beside the Walcha Oval in Pakington St Walcha, behind the Royal Café, assembling at 9am for a 10am departure.
Both groups are expected to arrive at Gingers Creek Roadhouse by 11.30am for the rally meeting. There is plenty off-road parking available in a grassed paddock. It is suggested riders bring a chock for their sidestands.
Planned speakers are Ken Healey, MCC of NSW chairman Christopher Burns, local business people and a local politician.