Road markings to improve motorcycle safety

Road safety training

A visual trick with road markings that makes the road look narrower than it is could be an aid in increasing motorcycle safety.

It’s called perceptual countermeasure and it was developed by Melbourne’s Monash University in 1999 and has been rolled out on some roads with lines to show braking zones. The lane markings are designed to reduce motorists’ speed on the approach to deceptive corners.

Now, the New Zealand Transport Agency is using the lane marking to specifically target motorcycle road crashes in the popular biking regions of Waikato and Bay of Plenty. The 130km Southern Coromandel Loop (Kopu/Whangamata/Waihi/Paeroa/Kopu) has experienced a disproportionately high number of serious motorcycle crashes in recent years. While just 1-3% of vehicles on the route are motorcycles, they represent 44% of all fatal and serious injury crashes.

The perceptual countermeasure lane markings are particularly effective for riders because they change the way the road is perceived and improve riders’ lane positioning for corner entry.

motorcycle safety
Flexible Chevroflex signs

Mackie Research and Consulting says the road markings will provide riders with advanced warning of the actual geometry of the curve ahead. The NZ Transport Agency will monitor and analyse the effect of these markings. Other safety improvements being trialled include upgraded signage, road surface improvements, removal or protection of roadside hazards and new rescue helicopter landing areas.

It would be good to see more authorities implementing similar strategies to save riders’ lives, rather than relying on a “speed kills” and speed camera strategy.

Queensland company RUD Chains has been having limited success in getting its bendy and low-impact roadside signs installed on popular motorcycle routes. So far they have only been installed at three sites in Queensland, two sites in Tasmania and two sites in Western Australia.

Queensland Transport figures show that one in three motorcycle fatalities is the result of riders running off the road and hitting roadside obstacles. While there is no specific data related to road signs, roadside “furniture” has been identified as a significant contributor to motorcycle rider casualties. Another advantage of the signs is the lower cost of maintenance as the signs rarely need to be fixed after a crash.

4 Comments

  1. all these are good ideas, but we still have crap roads everywhere, many years
    go on the brown mountain in southern nsw the local council used to put sand
    on all the corners, so semis wouldn’t rip the road up on sharp curves, lethal if you didn’t
    know about it. While these lines may give an indication of the curve. they can give no
    indication of the condition of the road. which can change by the hour
    Committing to a corner that you cannot see the exit from, without leaving a safety margin is crazy.
    If you feel uncomfortable at the speed your doing ,then your already riding beyond you’re capabilities. In the end it is you who has responsibility for you’re life and that of your pillion.
    There is no such thing as an accident.

  2. In Victoria they will spend $500K on a section of road for razor wire barriers but don’t fix the cracks of bumps in the section of road (Western Freeway) is a classic example Priorities are a little wrong. But on the topic anything that helps to save lives is good even if it is just line marking involved. But spend the money on the route cause of the crash and not after effect.

  3. I’m all for improved road markings, but not as much as I am for improved roads. Signage that shows how tight corners are rather than offering a safe speed limit would be helpful. Roads without holes and pushed-up ridges that cause you to swerve so much you look drunk, would be much better.

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