Better roads reduce bike crashes, report

Austroads Better roads report lane filtering Are roads becoming safer for riders?

Roads need to be better designed, funded and maintained to reduce the risk of motorcycle crashes, a 244-page Austroads report has found.

The report, titled “Infrastructure Improvements to Reduce Motorcycle Casualties”, is the result of a two-year study to identify infrastructure improvements to reduce motorcycle crash risk and crash severity.

It says motorcycles should be identified as a separate road user group and considered as a “design vehicle” when planning and maintaining roads.

The report recommends that engineering decisions on roadworks and planning should consider motorcycles, “even if outside of existing design warrants”.

That’s great news for riders as the current trend seems to be to ignore riders when situating and selecting roadside furniture and barriers; using slippery road paint; building roads with odd cambers; and allowing shoddy, patch-up roadworks.

While the report says the road environment accounted for only 2% of motorcycle road deaths in single-vehicle crashes between 1999 and 2003, “certain road elements have the potential to contribute to the actual outcome and severity of the crash”.

It says the first step is to identify roads that pose the highest crash risk to motorcyclists, then perform safety audits.

The report recommends a raft of motorcycle-specific road modifications including:

  • install flexible but durable materials or shields underneath barriers;Wire rope barrier better roads austroads report
  • install attenuators or energy dissipaters on posts and poles;
  • relocate trees, poles, signs and other roadside objects;
  • recommended maximums for potholes, ruts and cracks before repair is vital;
  • rapid road repair including quick removal of oil, diesel and other spills;
  • fluoro warning signage at known crash zones;
  • better-designed crash barriers (read the latest Austroads view); 
  • improve road surfaces for skid resistance, road camber, badly located drains, rough edges, etc; and
  • add advance stop lines at intersections with filtering lanes for motorcycles to reach the front of traffic.
Lane filtering lane splitting stop lines report
Advanced motorcycle stop line in Spain

The Austroads report is important because all state and federal road/transport departments in Australian and New Zealand are members. Their reports are used as the basis for government policy and practice on all things related to roads and transport.

Let’s hope the bureaucrats and politicians pay attention to this important report.

However, not all is good.

Riders probably won’t like the fact that Austroads advocates lower speed zones and ABS on motorcycles, the latte possibly leading to mandatory ABS on future bikes as has happened in Europe.

4 Comments

  1. I am flabbergasted a maximum size for pot holes etc before they are REPAIRED.Who are they kidding! go for a ride around our local roads and highways (COWRA NSW) and see the state of these roads utter CRAP. I have traveled on better roads in the GREEK Islands that was years ago (and they were poor then the country i mean).
    What do i pay my rego/road tax etc for? Consultants to tell us the same thing that we could tell them for $100,000 less than the consultant,that money could be put to good use in road repairs (proper repairs).
    I have traveled over 15,000 k’s in the USA on all types of road surfaces and did not find a pot hole even on back roads to towns with a population of 150 people.
    We are just ripped off here.

  2. Probably about 7 of these points are relevant to
    all road users and would be just part of a professional
    approach to road construction, I mean
    offset cambers , debris and potholes are dangerous
    really? You need a phd to tell us that? Most
    of this stuff wouldn’t cost any more Its just a matter of them doing
    the job properly in the first place.

  3. Cleaning the road of debris should not be forgotten. Something as simple as leaving gravel on the road after road works can prove dangerous (I’m proof if this having taken a tumble last week for that exact reason!)

  4. Another thing often forgotten about are speed humps and other traffic calmers that are located in dangerous spots such as on or after a bend or at minor intersections. An acquaintance of mine lost a leg on a parked car because he got airborne at 50 kph on a speed bump that was hidden by a bend and the warning sign was stolen. I was nearly rammed by an incompetent driver at a shiquan at a T intersection because they didn’t know how to deal with it and give way at the same time.
    Not to mention clipping a helmet on a poorly placed keep left sign

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