motorcycle crash accident injury

Most dangerous times to be on Australian roads

Weekends, spring and nights can be deadly

We hardly need research to tell us that weekends are the most dangerous time on Aussie roads — or any country for that matter — especially for motorcycles.

After all, more motorcycles are out on thew roads on weekends, for a start.

I’ve been reporting on crash statistics for several decades and the one constant is that the most dangerous times to be on the roads are from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening.

People have switched off from work and are using the roads for reaction and travelling greater distances, so there is more likelihood of a. crash.

There is also a greater abuse of alcohol and drugs in these times, according to Professor Max Cameron from Monash University’s Accident Research Centre.

So we don’t really need yet another survey to prove this theory of dangerous motoring times.

However, new data from Compare the Market not only confirms Saturdays as having the highest rates of car crashes resulting in deaths, but also shows some other interesting results.

For example, the most deadly season is Spring!

Yes, when then flowers start coming out and horse blow out birthday candles, it is more dangerous to be on the road.

August, November and the first month of summer, December, are the most lethal, according to the review of data from 1989 to 2021.  

Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q)’s Professor Teresa Senserrick says these spikes in road deaths match with school holidays. 

“This is why there is justification for double demerit points during those periods,” she says, even though Queensland is one state that does not have double demerit points.

Professor Cameron says a key characteristic of fatal accidents in holidays is that they usually involve higher speeds, which are more common in rural areas.

Night rider learner submissionUnsurprisingly, the survey also found that night rides, especially in remote or rural areas are more dangerous, especially for riders dodging kangaroos and other wildlife.

Also, the inferior quality of rural roads can be a contributing factor and deaths as a result of accidents can be higher because of the time it takes for emergency services to arrive on the scene.

Another interesting result is the effect of weather on crashes.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology notes that the northern and eastern coasts receive more rainy days from November to March, while the southern states see more wet weather in the winter months.  

“In some parts, rain is quite torrential, but when the rain first starts in Australia’s southern states, the roads often have a lot of dust on them,” Professor Cameron says. 

“Rain turns that dust to mud, which is very slippery. Heavy torrential rain quickly clears the mud away. 

“Motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians don’t tend to be on the roads during heavy rain so much, so there are fewer fatal crashes for these groups of road users, who are at a higher risk of dying in a crash compared to vehicle occupants.”

There has been a downward trend in all road fatalities over the past decade, including motorcycle fatalities. 

On average, motorcycle fatalities account for approximately 17% of road fatalities during this period. 

Motorcycle fatalities only accounted for 15.82% of all road casualties in 2011, while, at its peak, motorcycle casualties accounted for 19.27% of all deaths in 2016.

Year

Motorcycle fatalities

Australia wide (includes driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, pedal cyclist and unknown)

2010

224

1353

2011

202

1277

2012

223

1300

2013

213

1187

2014

191

1151

2015

203

1204

2016

249

1292

2017

211

1221

2018

191

1135

2019

211

1195

2020

188

1095

Source: National Road Safety Strategy, Road deaths by road user, [Accessed: 21 February 2022] 

So how does Australia stack up against others? Overall, Australia has a lower rate of road fatalities per 100,000 compared with countries like New Zealand, USA, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Norway, Canada and Ireland. 

Most countries have seen a year-on-year decrease for their annual road casualties, with Norway having the smallest number of casualties (just under 1 person per 100,000 people). 

    1. Hi John,
      If you click on the link to “double demerit points” in the article you will find our other article states: “Queensland riders should note that double-demerit points are effectively in place all year round.
      The law in Queensland is that double points do apply to speeding offences of 21km/h or greater over the speed limit and seatbelt offences if they occur more than once within a 12 month period.
      If you incur the penalty in another state, it still applies as if it happened in Queensland.”
      That’s not quite the same as the double demerit points that exist in other states for all, including first offenders, in a given 12-month period.
      Cheers,
      Mark

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