Riders from all states, not just Tasmanian residents, have been urged to contribute to a Tasmanian Road Safety Inquiry given the state is a Mecca for riders from all over Australia.
The Tasmanian Legislative Council last week announced the inquiry after the Apple Isle recorded six rider deaths to the end of May this year, compared with two for the same time in the past couple of years.
While numbers are small, the government says the state has 6.6 road deaths per 100,000 population which is among the highest in the nation.
However, Australian Motorcycle Council chairman Shaun Lennard who has long fought for rider safety issues and attended many national and international road safety summits cautions about knee-jerk responses to statistics.
“We see numbers fluctuate from year to year. It’s important to look at longer term trends, and with road safety we commonly look at five years,” he says.
“It would be useful to know what are the key factors in these crashes and if there are common threads.”
Shaun says safe infrastructure is vital for vulnerable riders, but not the only answer.
“The AMC supports the ‘Safe System’ approach to road safety, but we are concerned that most of the efforts are directed at safer roads and safer vehicles,” he says.
“Forgiving roads and infrastructure in the event of a crash are no doubt important. That’s why we’re actively involved in issues around barrier placement and lower rub rail installation, for example.
“However, for a rider, the better thing is not to crash in the first place. ‘Safer road users’ is also a pillar of the Safe System, and we believe more should be done around rider education.
“The age-old mantra that training doesn’t improve safety isn’t necessarily correct for motorcycle riders.”
He points to the New Zealand Government’s Ride Forever program that provides rego discounts for riders who undertake extra training.
“Their evaluations have shown a reduction in crash occurrence of 27% for riders who have done their skills course,” he says.
The Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia urges all motorcycle and scooter riders to make submissions to the inquiry with ideas to make Tassie roads safer.
They say their submission will be similar to the one they sent to the Victorian road safety inquiry which can be seen at www.parliament.vic.gov.au. (Go to “committees” and click Economy & Infrastructure).
The MRAA submissions will include:
Road user education (Car driver error causes most pedestrian, bicyclist and motorcyclist injuries so improving driver competence and behaviour is good for all road users);
Opposition to wire rope barriers and newer barrier types with exposed posts;
A call for changes to compulsory third party insurance to reflect the efficiency of the various types of transport in terms of personal mobility and environmental friendliness;
CTP insurance should also offer no-claim-bonuses to encourage safer road use in a fairer system;
Free transport of motorbikes on the Bass Strait ferries;
More and better information for riders visiting the State; and
Introduce Victorian style free footpath parking to Tasmania.