South Australia is believe to be the first place in the world to offer free courses for returned riders. They also don’t hassle riders over helmets or lane filtering.
Motorcycle advocate Nev Gray, who has been asked to be one of the first to undergo the one-day returned rider tests in February, says South Australia is “motorcycle heaven”.
“For about 11 years we have been pushing for returner riders to enter some sort of rider training as they are crashing way out of their zone,” he says.
Nev says he believes it is a world first because it is offered free and he hopes it will be mirrored by others states. The ACT runs a masters course for returned riders, but it is subsidised, not free (see comments below).
The one-day course will be conducted at the RideSafe Range and will include an on-road component.
“South Australia is motorcycle heaven,” Nev says, referring not only to the returned rider course, but also the strong relations between riders and the authorities.
“We have no problems here with helmet cams,” he says. “In fact, the government gave 12 of us three helmet cams each two years ago to do work for the Motor Accident Commission. We had to go out and get some interaction between riders and drivers.”
He says they also have no issue with South Australian riders being fined for wearing tinted visors as they are in Victoria. “You’d be foolish to wear one at night, but as someone who has worked in the car tinting industry, I can tell you that helmet visors are no darker than the permitted darkest car windscreen tint.”
He says lane filtering has been brought up as an item for discussion with the government, but it was deemed not to be a problem. “We just don’t have enough traffic congestion to warrant a special law, so the police just turn a blind eye to it and I have not heard of anyone being booked and that will continue.”
Nev says the South Australian motorcycling community has just been granted $6.5m by the State Government for motorcycle safety and infrastructure improvements such as lower rub rails on the barriers in the Adelaide Hills.
“Basically it’s for anything that motorcycle riders would like done,” he says. “It just came out of the blue and there it was.”
Nev is a member of the Motorcycle Reference Group (MRG) which started in 2003 as the Motorcycle Taskforce. It includes representatives of motorcycle goups, the RAA, government, transport department and the police. Nev represents the Ulysses Club and Motorcycle Riders Association of South Australia in the MRG.
He says the S out Australian motorcyclist fatality rate is down to about half the levels it was at its peak. He agrees with the recent heavy police patrols and covert speed camera operation in the Adelaide Hills after several crashes involving riders speeding and drink/riding.
“We’ve never been picked on; only when we do something wrong,” he says.