Police ‘safety campaign’ unfair to riders

DayGlo Queensland Police witnesses unfair

A ministerial directive for police to target motorcyclists because of “alarming” crash statistics, is misleading to the public and unfair to riders, according to the Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland.

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan says riders are over-represented in crashes and police say they will actively “engage” riders.

However, this is yet another example of politicians and police selectively quoting motorcycle crash statistics as we outlined in this previous article.

In fact, the rolling five-year analysis of national motorcycle fatalities shows that they are currently tracking lower than the 2004-08 period. It is the same trend in Queensland.

Australian Motorcycle Fatalities

‘Safety campaign’ unfair on riders

Meanwhile, there has been a 5% increase in national motorcycle registrations every year since 2005, doubling in number over about 11 years.

So, not only are motorcycle crash numbers going down in real terms, but also as a proportion of the number of riders.

Licence to harass

The Minister’s statement and campaign to direct police to engage riders represents nothing more than vilifying riders and giving police a licence to harass them.

Queensland Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating says motorcyclists can expect greater engagement with officers over law enforcement and conversations around safety under Operation Grenadine.

MRAQ president Chris Mearns says the public is being misled by “completely wrong statistics used to justify another round of singularly focused activity aimed at motorcyclists in Queensland without any particular attempt to understand the issues involved in motorcycle crashes”.

MRAQ president Chris Mearns Ride to Work Day RACQ plan defect unfair
MRAQ president Chris Mearns

“The statistics used to justify the increased enforcement attention simply does not stack up,” he says.

Unfair campaign

Police 'safety campaign’ unfair on riders cops road safety crash accident
Police start pulling over riders on the Gold Coast hinterland under Operation Grenadine

“The MRAQ has been actively involved with various Government groups in the hope of better targeting the reasons for motorcycle crashes and understands that enforcement is one of the various avenues available to Government to attempt to reduce the crash rate.

“However, if this is the only one used then the result is highly likely to not achieve any great advance in rider safety but will go to reinforce an already existing attitude that riders are unfairly targeted for enforcement attention.

“The MRAQ calls upon the Queensland Government to better investigate the reasons for motorcycle crashes and then work with riders and others to achieve a holistic approach to safety instead of all to regularly resorting to a single means campaign which is unlikely to have any tangible result.”

34 Comments

  1. I think the main objection we have to these so called safety campaigns is that the police see fit to involve Transpirt department inspectors who are ONLY there to defect bikes. If the message is really about safety, and really about wanting to relate to motorcyclists and get a message across, why do this? It’s counterproductive if the aim is really to promote safe riding.

    Also Mark – you had a story up about a potential upcoming blitz on loud exhausts……I see it’s been removed. Any reason why?

  2. 1. I was punted from behind last weekend as I was about to move onto a roundabout, & if I hadn’t spotted her bearing down on me, & gunned it before impact, I’d have been sprayed across the road.
    2. I witnessed a fourby yesterday arvo, absolutely monster a smaller capacity motorbike who had just legally lane filtered, & I’m fairly sure the driver was just getting his jollies, was pi##ed off by the advantage the bike had gained, or both.

    I ride & see the stupidity of drivers all the time, & I drive & see the stupidity of riders sometimes also.
    Both parties would benefit enormously from better education (probably media based), & I’m sure if the politicians could see past the ends of their noses, that the savings in policing costs & trauma to all involved, would well outweigh the costs of any campaign, but the education needs to be ongoing, not just one ad run for a week.

  3. Someone has to pay for all those lovely new top end BMWs purchased for the Commonwealth games and training those cops to ride (or crash!), kit the bikes out, plus all new fancy (safe) riding gear, send them to the hinterland ride-abouts to earn there keep and recoup the crazy spending on Gold coast security.

  4. Whilst driving my car on roads like the Mt Lindsay Highway, Mt Tamborine or Mt Glorious in Qld the main clear and present danger is motor cycles. They fly past on double white lines like you are standing still. These riders need the book thrown at them. Unfortunately this small percentage of dangerous riders ruins it for the majority of law abiding motorcyclists. To all of you anti police campaigners you should be aiming your wrath at the riders who blatantly disregard the law. This behaviour is anti social. They are degrading the public image of motorcycling.

    1. If motorists tried sharing the road instead of owning it, motorcyclists would not need to take risks when over taking sleepy drivers.

  5. My suggestion is for organisations to seek a response from the LNP with the hope their view differs from the ALP. With a concrete response from the LNP it gives us a choice, with choice the ALP fall over them selves to rectify the issue. They are Facebook politicians, nothing more nothing less. They vow to public opinion.

  6. Here are a few of things that need to be targeted on our roads.
    Policing for speed is rarely done where the crashes are happening, how does that work to make it safer? Speed cameras are always on good straight road! EG Motorway Robbery
    Most older car drivers are on multiple doctor supplied drugs medications that make driving unsafe, Most people are using phones stereo’s DVD players texting etc while driving.
    I saw a truck driver driving with one hand, turning a big rig around a corner and the phone never left his hand or ear how is that safe?
    Unregistered Cars trucks that haven’t seen a service in a while, the road is full of them.
    What about all the oil that is deliberately spilt on the road so kids can do burn outs and drifting?
    Mothers picking up a car full of screaming cranky kids, they are turning around and slapping kids instead of worrying where the car is going.
    Motorcyclist have the most to worry about on the road just to get safely to their destination and you guys make it worse by targeting us unfairly. What about all the drivers using GPS modules on their windscreens how can they pay attention while watching one of those things. EG taxi Uber drivers
    All I can do is my best to stay alive on my rides, but you guys need to re focus where you are wasting all our tax money and resources and target some of the problem areas, eg Where the accidents are happening the roads are atrocious and most drivers don’t know how to merge or indicate direction etc.
    Compulsory re training for drivers every 5 years would help.
    Regards a SEQ Motorcyclist

    1. In some ways you are correct. I have been riding for over 40 years and the amount of young people on motorbikes speeding and I don’t mean just over, i mean 20 plus over the speed limit is alarming. I have also seen riders with leathers on and the girlfriend pillion is in shorts, t shirt and thongs. The problem with the speed is when they crash they themselves hit hard on a object and there dead. You could have the same type of crash in a car and walk away. Young people need to understand they are not bullet proof . Ride to the speed limit,wear the right gear and and you will have a better chance of surviving while you are out there doing something we love. So after all that I agree the Police need to do what they need to do for our own safety.
      People hate speed cameras, don’t speed and you will be fine, get caught you deserve it.

      1. Shane I agree with your observations, however, I am disturbed by the above statistics. They are showing a decrease in deaths younger riders and a BIG increase in deaths of riders our age.
        What is happening?

        1. Hi Dallas,

          When I did my advanced driving the instructor claimed that the most accidents occurred on Sunday in the late afternoon. The argument went along the lines that many of these riders either used to ride before they had families or took on riding in later life (like I did). Add to this that they would only ride on weekends in good weather. Add an all-day ride with a lunch stop and maybe a drink or two. Fatigue kicks in on the way home. How true this is I am not sure but it may be part of why older drivers feature so heavily? Alternately these drivers still think they are 20 and have the reflexes of a cat rather than of a sloth and are driving well beyond their capabilities.

  7. Have you ever wondered if there is more to single motorcycle crashes? That another motorist may have caused it and vanished from the scene?

    David Evans, 49, set off on his Honda CB500X motorcycle for the hour-long ride home in heavy wind and rain, to join his wife and two young daughters for Christmas dinner.

    He never made it. David was was found dead in the central reservation of the (UK) M4. He was just one intersection away from home.

    Initially, there appeared to be no other vehicle involved. However, CCTV revealed a car tailgating less than half a second away, and at speeds of close to 140 km/h, just before he ‘lost control’ and was thrown for 100 metres.

    This spurred Bob Witherall, a forensic collision investigator, to embark on a painstaking investigation to identify the other vehicle’s driver, obtain evidence of a collision, and build a case against him.

    Read the rest of the fascinating narrative below. Also, the video of the episode (that could be removed at any time) is linked in the first comment.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-43716912

    1. The UK Story of the Rider’s death really proves we as the Public have no idea of state of mind of the person in charge of the vehicle in the 360 degree area surrounding us on the roadway. A lottery of chance we don’t want a ticket in. Defensive driving/riding only goes so far.

    1. And Taxpayers cop the bill re damage, compo, case, ALL. often wonder if these Cops do this for Big Payout, after all, they are crooks. Patched up, colours, weapons, Tasers, thuggery, drugs, cover-ups, perjury, Blame Game, victimize, vilify, the list goes on. Can’t argue with truth & truth is, QPS ain’t Trusted.

  8. False and misleading statistics and decisions made by people with no understanding of motorcycles. Just the same as has been happening to law abiding firearms owners in Australia for 2 decades. I’m buggered twice – I ride and I shoot!

    1. Me too Pete. I ride, shoot and fish and am thoroughly sick of interfering politicians and a childish, myopic media, neither of which has any more than a superficial understanding of the issues.

  9. The weekly road toll report is available here: https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Transport-and-road-statistics/Road-safety-statistics.aspx

    Here is a summary re motorcycles:
    QLD motorcycle fatalities for year to date (January 1 – April 22) for the last 6 years: 15, 10, 21, 18, 14, 15. Currently down by 3.8% on the previous 5 year average.

    QLD total yearly fatalities 2012 – 2017: 59, 42, 37, 54, 64, 50. 2017 was down by 2.3% on the previous 5 year average.

    QLD yearly hospitalisations 2012 – 2017: 782, 819, 840, 838, 795, 800. 2017 was down by 1.8% on the previous 5 year average.
    There is no upward trend.

  10. Here l was, sitting put on the deck, enjoying my morning cuppa when l came across this report.
    It’s made me sooo f*cking mad that I’m almost speechless! In fact, I’ve decided not to vent my angry thoughts… what’s the point?
    Instead, l just want to express my support and commit to participating in any protest rides, unless l head off overseas for a few months to get away from this nanny nazi State.

  11. Time to stay away from the more popular riding areas and take a road less travelled.The main holiday season on the coast is slowing so they are moving their revenue raising to the hinterland….Never forget the power of the vote send a message to the premier…an email costs nothing

  12. You see what happens when you have too many politicians: they all have to run around trying to justify their existences. I think it high time that we got rid of this whole layer of state politicians, drain on our taxes that they are – duplicating their nonsense in each state. Now let me recap my last four incidents:
    1. woman in 4wd ignores give way at roundabout – near miss
    2, woman in sedan ignores give way at roundabout, I have to hit the brakes while leaning, bike goes over, woman does not stop
    3, woman in 4wd pulls out at school zone – near miss
    4, truck driver does not stop at roundabout forcing me to brake while leant over – near miss.
    So yeah, let’s target the motorcyclists eh Mr Ryan.

    1. How many of those incidents were predictable either from knowing that intersections are a hazard or form locality ie near a school. Riders need to be aware of potential hazards and take steps to avoid becoming entangled in other people’s mistakes.

      1. I think we all do that don’t we? The reason that most were near misses were precisely because of situational awareness. But if you are committed on a roundabout and somebody pulls right out in front of you, no amount of situational awareness is going to help is it?

    2. Im in NSW Jeff, but I have to agree with you, Ive had 3 serious accidents in my 50 odd years of riding,
      1) 1966, woman not paying attention, slammed on brakes, actuall stopped past the intersection I was NOT riding too close but had nowhere to go, my right knee hit her tail light and dammed near tore the leg off through the joint, 6 months in hospital while they successfully saved the leg, however it did not bend again.
      2) 1968 just south of Innisfail, Silkwood turn, man came through a stop or give way , I nearly cut his old rusty Simca in half, week in hospital, walked away, (lucky)
      3) 1996 Wingham NSW woman came through give way, I got her in the back door, bike came down on my left knee, totally destroyed, Now have 2 knees that dont bend.
      Both knees are now artificial, have about 60 degrees of bend, not enough to walk down stairs.
      I have had drivers move to the right and actually open their doors to stop me from overtaking them, not fun at 100kph. I now ride a motorcycle and sidecar because I cant hold up a solo any more. Maybe we should try to educate car drivers about road rules and the vulnerability of motorcyclists…….. Naaa, lets just book the bike riders, that’fix it

  13. Numbers are numbers – but 1 death is 1 death too many! Stop trying to sugar coat the facts that motorcyclists TRULY ARE over-represented in crashes, that fatalities of older riders are ACTUALLY increasing and that there are PLENTY of irresponsible riders doing dumb ass things out there putting themselves and others at risk and deserving the police attention.

    1. Maybe you could stop sugar coating the fact that this “safety operation” is anything other than a revenue raising exercise. Why do the coppers need the Road Transport inspectors present if the message is safe riding and safety related? The RTA inspectors are there to defect every little thing they can find and then the coppers write out numerous tickets. Heinous crimes like a missing 5cm rear reflector can get a bike defected and trailered home.

      As to the stats, of course 1 death is one too many. But realistically, there are always going to be fatalities. The numbers overall are falling, not rising, and this fact doesn’t even take into account the growth in rider numbers. So there is no genuine reason to single out motorcyclists……this is profiling pure and simple and as motorcyclists we see it over and over again.

  14. The number one cause of motorcycle accidents is the nut behind the wheel followed closely by the road under the wheels and a distant third is the nut behind the handlebars.
    So to reduce the not so alarming statistics the police need to actually get out of the camera van and ride up to the idiots on their phones before they’ve run the red light or performed some other deadly act of stupidity . And while they’re at it they can take the deadly piles of crap with leaking oils badly aimed or illegal lights off the road and when they’ve run out of those clowns they can start on the Volvo drivers Sunday drivers or whatever moniker fits best for someone who shouldn’t have a license.
    Then not only will motorcycle riders be safer but everyone else too!

  15. This is just a result of the governments stuff up with the Vlad laws because now they don’t know who the 1% bikers are because they can’t wear any colours so they need to harass every single motorcyclist to try and find out

  16. I call on the MRAQ to start a class action against the Qld government for discrimination, intimidation and bullying of bikers (not bikees), this has gone far enough in Queensland we are RULED over not governed and I for one am sick of it.

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