Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.
The Victorian Scooter Riders Association claims drivers use the vulnerability of bike and scooter riders to intimidate and endanger them.
VSRA spokesman Stephen Bardsley cites an AAMI survey which found that one third of all drivers believe scooter riders are the “new menace” on our roads.
He says this has given rise to a “Law of the Jungle” where drivers intimidate bikers and scooter riders because believe they will come off better in an accident.
“Therefore many drivers take unnecessary risks with motorcycles, evidently believing riders should know their place and that the rider being at greater risk, must take sole responsibility and all the necessary steps to avoid a collision or accident,” he says.
Bardsley points out that one recommendation of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety is the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) focus its motorcycle safety advertising to redress the attitude that responsibility for rider safety is solely attributable to the rider.
It suggests campaigns dealing with motorcycles raise awareness, in preference to creating negative stereotypes, perceptions and attitudes towards riders by drivers.
However, Bardsley says TAC campaigns such as “38 Times” and “The Ride” may contribute to negative stereotypes, perceptions and attitudes of riders.
“The attitude among drivers that riders are a menace will not diminish while such campaigns are used,’’ he says.
“Instead of using campaigns portraying riders as the menace and suggesting the responsibility for road safety is only applicable to riders, might they alternatively prepare campaigns highlighting the vulnerability of riders and showing how road safety need be a shared responsibility of all road users.”
He points to the UK Campaign “Think Biker” that says “if you got to know me, we could be the best of friends”.
He also suggests negative stereotypes against two wheels are “in sharp contrast to reality” as they are the answer to the world’s urban traffic congestion, citing a report to the 2012 Association des Constructeurs Européens de Motorcycles Conference in Brussels.
The report identified if just 10% of all private cars were replaced by motorcycles, commuting times for all vehicles would decrease 40% and emissions by 6%.
“When motorcycles and scooters can be seen to provide such quantifiable benefits … it is time for Australian and, in particular, Victorian road safety agencies to … promote and encourage (their) use,” he says.