Motorcycle crash statistics scam

Road safety crash accident motorcycle scam

Authorities that continue to selectively quote motorcycle crash statistics are perpetrating a scam that endangers vulnerable motorcycle riders.

Yes, riders represent a higher proportion of the crash statistics than their number, but the trend for crashes is actually going down.

However, police, authorities, road safety Nazis and media are conning us with their myopic view of the statistics.

A full picture of the statistics needs to be presented to provide a true and realistic picture of what is happening on our roads.

Statistics scam

The statistics scam was evident in a presentation at the Australian Road Research Board seminar last week on road infrastructure issues and motorcycle crashes.

A road trauma statistician provided figures specifically for NSW. However, it is much the same picture in every state and therefore nationally.

He pointed out that there was a 5% increase in motorcycle registrations every year since 2005, doubling in number over about 11 years. See his graph below.

Road safety crash accident motorcycle

However, over the same period, motorcyclist fatalities and serious casualties basically flat-lined.Road safety crash accident motorcycle

The picture actually improves for motorcyclists when you look at trauma rates per 10,000 open motorcycle licence holders.

In fact, it goes down. Fatalities dropped 31.25% from 1.6 per 10,000 to 1.1 and casualties dropped 19% from 56.4 to 45.7.Road safety crash accident motorcycle

No other road user group comes close to having similar decreases in fatalities versus total registrations.

“Relative to the number of people licensed to ride, safety performance is improving even though more are being hurt and killed,” the statistician declared.

And proportional to population the road trauma statistics are static.

He claims the new graduated licensing system and education have had an impact on young riders and the road toll.

Sensationalist stats

So why do the police, road safety nazis and media only cite the road toll in sensationalist terms?Road safety crash accident motorcycle scam

It’s a scam so that the authorities can use these distorted statistics to raise fines, impose greater restrictions on riders and justify police speed blitzes.

The other major problem is that these scam road toll statistics demonise riders as crazed maniacs with a death wish.

Riders are already grappling with a motoring public that doesn’t bother taking care to look twice for riders.

So how can we expect motorists to show us any duty of care or consideration on the road?

29 Comments

  1. Very good article, falsifying statistics is unprofessional & if done while working at a tertiary educational institution
    (I have seen quite a few examples of this from the anti-motorcycle rentacrowd )
    can result in academic penalties.

  2. The vast majority of road safety messages are based on the “relative risk” of death or serious injury resulting from a road crash compared to other causes of death and injury. This approach totally misrepresents the actual injury risk when travelling on the public road. For example, in western Sydney the “absolute risk” or likelihood of a person being involved in an injury crash is only 0.0003% for every trip they take. That is, road crashes result in only 4 injuries in every 1 million trips and one fatality in every 32 million trips (Blacktown City Council Safer Travel Strategic Plan – TfNSW and Bureau of Transport data).
    The “relative risk” for motorcycle riders having a serious crash is often described as being 25-30 times greater than car drivers. Using the same method applied by Blacktown City Council, the “absolute risk” for a rider being involved in an injury crash is only 0.012% each time they ride.
    This helps to explain why the vast majority of people disregard road safety campaigns and they are firm in their belief that they won’t have a serious crash. A second key reason people disregard road safety messages is that most messages focus on the Government’s goals (reduce cost of health care) and are framed with fear based emotions (that will most likely never apply to them as individuals).

  3. Mark, it is good that you raise awareness of issues such as this. The real problem is that motorcyclists are discriminated against because we are a minority group. If the authorities looked at the road death figures without bias, they would see that the main killers on our roads are cars. If targeted safety campaigns, new rules and restrictions, and police blitzes were able to achieve a 10% reduction in road deaths in the category they were aimed at, there would be a much greater number of lives saved if they targeted cars, simply because many more people are killed by cars than motorcycles. But because almost everybody (not me) uses a car, if the authorities targeted them they would be targeting themselves, their family and their friends. They are not actually interested in safety. They just have to appear to be doing something and motorcyclists are easy to target without inconveniencing themselves. As well, a significant number of motorcycle accidents are caused by cars, so targeting car drivers to make them improve their behaviour would also lower the motorcycle death toll.

    An important point, – We are not endangering others. We know there is more risk in riding a motorcycle than driving a car but are happy to keep doing it. Leave us alone. Yesterday a car crashed into a school, killing two children and injuring more than 20 others. A motorcycle would not do that.

  4. Writing from the perspective of a female rider who started/got licenced in the 80s, then had a 15+year break, but kept my licence…I returned to riding by doing voluntary rider education. I feel this education is 100% necessary -it helps us to anticipate & expect the unexpected…e.g. buffering is a technique that’s taught & I never knew about this (in my earlier riding experience).
    Unfortunately I still see many riders lane-splitting or filtering past heavy vehicles (illegal anytime -for a reason) and L/P platers are not supposed to at all. These new(er) riders have received mandatory rider training and still put themselves at risk…can’t put an old head on young shoulders hey.
    BUT the stats as reported in this article show a tangible improvement in rider safety outcomes (despite inclusion of inappropriate events like off road)…which tells me many factors are important: ongoing, contemporary education, better roads, improved personal safety gear, engineering advances to our awesome machines etc.
    I challenge all who read this to be a motorcycle ‘ambassador’ – stop & have a chat when you’re out n about. People regularly talk to my partner & I (in our 50s -he on BMW K1200, me on the DucMonster821)…help our communities to become more ‘bike aware’ by humanising us riders., And please think about updating your skills via a (fun!) rider course. Cheers & happy riding, Sim

    1. Hi Sim,
      I’m not sure which state you are in, however in NSW it is NOT illegal to filter past heavy vehicles. It is not recommended to filter past heavy vehicles. The overriding statement from RMS in regards to filtering is “when it is safe to do so”, the responsibility of making the decision of whether it is safe or not remains with the rider.

  5. None of you know what you’re taking about!

    Toby & ianjh – ROAD crash stats don’t include incidents off road, trail bikes or quads.
    draughtrider – pillions are counted separately and are a very small number anyway
    Gopher – have you ever thought of coming around a corner at a speed – and on a line – that could avoid the car that’s on the wrong side of the road, that’s just good riding!!

    The only person who makes any sense in all of this bullshit is Ross Blackman.

  6. forget motorcycles the ENTIRE road toll has dropped by over70% since the 70’s christmas and easter are NOT dangerous times to travel..LIES…LIES and more bloody lies

  7. Cameras are now being strapped to trees in the adelaide hills while the operator hides in the bushes. When revenue drops they just lower the speed limit. It’s got to the point you can’t even wring a postie bike without fear of financial penalty.

  8. Finally a voice of reason well done once again Mark…. This is a topic I often debate with some of my less informed relatives who only drive cars.

  9. There was a very funny British show called Yes Minister
    It was a show about a politician who while being a fairly normal and averagely decent person who actually wanted to do some good in his position that was somewhere between minister for absolutely nothing and everything but war and foreign relations depending on the storyline. In his daily struggle with political intrigue and the public servants who wanted to be paid more and more for less and less work and fought tooth and nail any initiative that might diminish their power or chance at a knighthood statistics and poles were often explained.
    With a poll you can either ask the right questions or ask them in the right way to get the answers you want to hear. And with statistics you get the statistics you want by asking the right questions or leaving out the data that contradicts the results you want.
    Road toll statistics showed a downward trend in fatalities with each advancement in vehicle safety equipment and infrastructure improvement yet the fatality rate has stopped reducing and has started to climb again, what coincidencies with this increase? The introduction of speed cameras and the speed kills campaign. But you won’t catch the authorities mentioning this statistic.

  10. I wonder how many motorcycle accidents were in fact caused by drivers who were unaware of their actions and that they have caused a motorcyclist to have an accident. Eg when you come around a corner and the driver is on your side of the road (or at least part way across the lane), so you are forced to brake, braking means that the bike stands up and you inevitably run off the road. Driver continues on their merry way oblivious to everything that just happened!!!

    1. Hi,
      Did you read all the way to end.
      If you do, you’ll see how sensationalism and selective statistics can endanger motorcycle riders:
      “It’s a scam so that the authorities can use these distorted statistics to raise fines, impose greater restrictions on riders and justify police speed blitzes. The other major problem is that these scam road toll statistics demonise riders as crazed maniacs with a death wish. Riders are already grappling with a motoring public that doesn’t bother taking care to look twice for riders. So how can we expect motorists to show us any duty of care or consideration on the road?”
      cheers,
      Mark

      1. So you are directly connecting the general public lack of roadcare to a percieved knowledge of statistics?

        Do you honestly think that if the public were told tomorrow “sorry about the misunderstanding, motorcyclists aren’t quite as bad as we made them out to be in the road statistics” that suddenly they would be more aware of riders?

        The two things aren’t connected. No matter how much you try to do so.

        1. Hi again,
          Have you not heard of the derogatory term “temporary Australians” to describe riders?
          Media sensationalism about motorcycle crashes only serves to further entrench the belief that we are temporary Australians.
          Cheers,
          Mark

  11. Although I agree with the issue of money grabbing by the police and the councils.. Calling them Nazis is wrong and offensive!
    I would like to read your informative articles , without being offended. I am not working with or for the police or the councils. Just a passionate rider.
    Regards
    Avi

      1. Bloody hell … “I’m offended” – seriously … the nerve of people who get offended on behalf of others – PC bullsh*t. Focus on the story perhaps and get offended for something that might be genuinely offensive rather than looking for reasons to niggle.

          1. Yeah, agree 100%. Fortunately we still live in a country where we can say what we wish. And if you are offended by something, hey, be offended. That’s life mate!
            The worrying thing about people like this bloke is that a creeping censorship associated with their politically correct offence taking is killing public debate in both the UK and USA. It needs to be totally ignored.

        1. Your family was not murder by the Nazis..
          Go google “holocaust “…. Or what they have done to Australians.

          You might have fallen off your bike one too many times. Don’t bother replying, Not going to subscribe to this website.

  12. What is included often depends on the data source. Transport departments don’t normally include private property crashes in their road crash data. Hospital data is another matter altogether as they are somewhat less concerned with where an incident happened than what.
    Riders and pillions are usually separated in the data, but are often reported together as collective motorcycle casualties.

    While crashes per registrations and crashes per licensed rider provide some indication of rates relative to usage, the more accurate measure is arguably crashes per distance travelled (or time spent riding). We might have twice as many bikes on the road as we did 10-15 years ago, but are new riders travelling greater or lesser distances on average? Such usage data is very difficult to obtain compared with registration and licence numbers.

    Road authorities are always trying to reduce the road toll in terms of absolute numbers, with many adopting the “vision zero” philosophy in recent years (indeed a challenge considering ongoing population growth). When fatalities/casualties decline for other road users but not for motorcyclists, riders comprise an increasing proportion of the road toll. Thus motorcycling continues to be seen as problematic, despite the fairly strong (and rarely reported) evidence that it is increasingly safe in terms of crash rates.

  13. They also manipulate figures to include scooter riders (non motorbike license holders), dirt bikes accidents that occur on or near roads and other etc etc.

  14. Its called empire building.
    The cops separate a sector of the community and demonise them. Then they get more resources to pursue their cause and more personnel more responsibility , bigger egos and ultimately more pay. Its easier than actually fighting crime as this reduces the need for their empires.

  15. Interesting comment by @Toby …

    Also – is it (still) the case that motorcycle accidents count pillons as “riders” thereby confusing riders injured (two implied number of bikes down is two) with rider-and-pillion injured (one bike down). Conversely with cars it is always split out as driver and passenger(s).

    … and are you suggesting the authorities are money grabbing parasites intent on funding $2billion dollars worth of new offices and boozy lunches with our fines each year and who don’t got a rodent’s rectum about road safety any more than needed to save what little face they have left? Perish the thought! 😉

    1. Also includes injuries/deaths of under-age riders who are injured on private property who should never have been riding in the first place.

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