One government is tackling motorcycle road safety with a “carrot” approach rather than the usual “big stick”.
The Welsh Government has launched a competition with an attractive “prize” to find innovative projects that can reduce the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads.
It has called on businesses with innovative ideas to make proposals for a share of almost $1 million in funding.
“The challenge is to develop an effective intervention or technological feature that provides demonstrable improvements in the safety of motorcyclists, by either reducing the likelihood of a collision occurring or lessening the impact of a collision,” a government release says.
It is such a far cry from most government road safety “initiatives” aimed at motorcyclists which consist either of “shock” ad campaigns, punitive and discriminative fines or zero-tolerance police patrols.
In one example last year, a West Australian police district stopped every single motorcycle rider for licence checks. That is nothing short of a police state and does nothing but destroy the innocent and law-abiding rider’s confidence in and respect for the police and authority.
There have been some innovative motorcycle safety campaigns in Australia, but they are few and far between and usually run out of interest and/or funding.
One example was the very effective Smart rider training program on the Gold Coast which offered cheap, subsidised courses by Honda Australia Rider Training to anyone interested.
The program was criticised as a waste of ratepayer funds because riders from outside the council area were also taking advantage of it. Yet these critics didn’t realise that “outside riders” – or tourists! – were crashing and dying on Gold Coast roads.
The program won a national road safety award, yet it was eventually axed under myopic funding cutbacks.
Congratulations to the Welsh Government and we look forward to seeing what innovative programs it attracts.