Motorcyclist deaths prompt safety call

motorcycle Crash road safety- austroad

An awareness campaign about the vulnerability of riders should be a priority of the new Queensland Government, says the RACQ in the wake of a spike in motorcyclist deaths.

While Queensland’s overall road toll of 36 is similar to last year’s record low for the same time of year, the 12 motorcyclist deaths is already 50% up on last year’s tally.

RACQ technical and safety policy executive manager Steve Spalding says there is a need to reinforce the importance of motorcycle safety to Queensland’s road users.

“We’re worried about just how quickly the motorcycle fatality count is growing,” says Steve who rides a 1996 Suzuki Bandit.

Lane filtering motorcycle fatalities
Bike fan Steve Spalding

“Motorcycles aren’t as visible on the roads as cars and trucks, and riding a motorbike doesn’t offer the same level of protection as being inside of a car.

“Research shows they’re four times more likely to be involved in deadly crashes than cars, and more than half of all motorbike crashes result in hospitalisation or death.”

Last year the RACQ issued two videos urging all motorists to take motorcycle safety more seriously and watch out for riders.

WATCH THE VIDEOS

Now Steve wants the new state government to give motorcycle safety greater attention in its road safety messaging.

“There are a number of ways to approach this,” he says. “One is for government to raise the profile of motorcycle safety along the lines of vulnerability, the importance of riding safely and defensively and also reminding drivers to make sure they properly check, and indicate, before changing lanes or pulling out at intersections. Taking a moment to recheck if necessary can make the difference between seeing an approaching motorcyclist and not. Education is the key.

I don’t think the discussion should focus on who is more likely at fault, but simply raising the awareness of how to improve safety levels.

We think government can take a lead on this issue by delivering good education, which provides better awareness and understanding of the vulnerability of a motorcyclist crashing. If motorcycle crashes are increasing then there is a case to target the issue as a priority.

“If there is a better understanding of the safety risks to motorcyclists, regardless of whether they are a rider or a driver, there is a real opportunity to reduce the risk of crashes.

“It’s about keeping safety top of mind for both motorcyclists and motorists, and media messages and safety campaigns can make a positive difference.”

Steve says there are some simple things all road users can do to help keep everyone safe.

“If drivers take an extra moment to look out for motorcyclists before manoeuvring and riders always adopt safe and defensive riding habits we can help cut the crash risk,” he says.

“You don’t get another chance when you come off a motorbike. Regardless of who is right or wrong – the motorcyclist is going to come off second best.”

11 Comments

  1. There is a psychological condition called inattentional blindness. The most striking example of which is when a driver pulls out in front of a fire engine with lights and sirens because they literally did not see it. This is because of a number of things cause the driver to not psychologically recognise the presence of an approaching danger. The things that contribute to this are, the level of distraction, the level of stress – pressure, the level of fatigue an driver is under and the mesmerising effect of traffic. When all of this combines a driver who is looking for a gap in traffic to pull out will see that gap when something other than a car is approaching and pullout. Add this to the overly thick A pillars now standard on all cars and the misguided speed kills obsession that add both pressure and distraction and you have a recipe for carnage. So if the is an education campaign it should be to get drivers to look twice and think again is that gap really ok?

  2. Motorcyclists are vulnerable and the RACQ’s concern for motorcycle riders is appreciated. However, there are some inaccuracies in this article. First, a short term spike (ie over 3 months) in riders fatalities cannot be considered a trend. Trends are measured over much longer timeframes, generally at least 2 or 3 years and very often 5 or more. In fact, 2014 saw the fewest annual QLD rider fatalities for 10 years or more, which has actually been part of a downward ‘trend’ observable over a longer period. Why has this legitimate ‘trend’ not been reported, demonstrating improvements in motorcycle safety despite increased motorcycle use? At best (or worst), the most recent figures suggest a possible regression toward the mean, although this cannot be reliably determined at this point. Additionally, of reported Qld motorcycle and scooter crashes from 2003-2008, 2.4% were fatal while 47% (less than half) were transported to hospital (not necessarily admitted). Bear in mind that this does not include the many low severity crashes which are not reported in official data – almost always crashes in which riders do in fact ‘get another chance’ – and it would appear that Spalding is exaggerating the injury risk quite considerably, as well as jumping the gun on recent ‘trends’.

      1. Hi Mark,
        I have sent you an email, to the address advertised on this site. In case you didn’t receive it, I’m very interested in making such a contribution.
        Cheers,
        Ross

  3. You know that at the end of the day they don’t give a rats ass about us motorcyclist (government and cagers). The only way we will survive out there is be think about our own safety. Unfortunatly we cannot afford to ride with the attitude “BLOODY IDIOT NEARLY TOOK ME OUT!”. We must think “WHAT COULD OF I DONE TO AVOID THAT?”. Get as much education as you can and practice your skills as a motorcyclist. When you get that new bike practice your emergency braking, don’t wait until you are in that “oh shit” situation to learn how good your brakes are. Road safety campainges are great but I seriously think that the majority of people that take notice of them are the motorcyclists.

    1. Hell yeah! Do those idiots realise that every time they take their eyes off the road to send that 3 second message they are effectivly travelling the length of a football field without looking!

  4. Today alone I was almost maimed three times on a single one way trip into university (drivers thought it was ok to forcibly push me out of “their” lane to be ahead of me). After QLD laws changed to allow motorcycles to lane filter to the front of traffic lights I have seen zero advising or notifications alerting drivers it is now legal besides on Dept of Transport & Main roads website (which no-one pays attention too) . Needs a TV and print media campaign which is very loud to the public (I have said the likes of this before but maybe no politician reads this awesome website?)

  5. I would like see the government do some advertising on the lane filtering laws – to the general public. To make them aware it is legal and to watch for bikes riding between cars.

  6. Actually I think the at fault message should be out there with the vast majority of car vs bike accidents are caused by the car. This is important for car drivers to know that they need to look out more.

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