Tony O'Kane | Sep 2, 2009

VICTORIAN ROADS AND PORTS MINISTER Tim Pallas has today announced a new action plan targeting the safety of motorcyclists and scooter riders.

The plan, which will be implemented over the next four years, will seek to significantly reduce numbers of fatalities and injuries sustained by motorcycle and scooter riders on Victoria's roads.

“The new plan encourages greater rider safety and improved rider and driver awareness, skills and knowledge. We’re also currently researching the impacts of new road space management to identify possible trials, including motorcycles sharing bus lanes,” Mr Pallas said.

“Since we launched our last strategy in 2002, the number of motorcycles and scooters on our roads has increased by 41 per cent. Over the same time, we’ve managed to reduce the number of rider and pillion passenger deaths by 20 per cent.

“However, riders and their passengers are still some of the most vulnerable people using our roads. Motorcycles and scooters are only three percent of all registered vehicles but account for 13 per cent of all road fatalities and serious injuries.

"More needs to be done to improve this.”

In addition to the new action plan, Mr Pallas announced the allocation of $6.3 million toward improving known motorcycle blackspots around the state.

The bulk of the funds will be directed towards upgrading fences and barriers, improving road signage, installing reflective guideposts, line-marking and sealing selected roads.

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The Victorian Government's new plan for motorcyclist safety has already been met with approval from the state's peak automotive industry body, the VACC.

“VACC supports the Victorian Government’s stance on Powered Two Wheelers,” VACC Motorcycle Division Manager, Peter Dunphy, said in a statement issued today.

“VACC commends Minister Pallas for recognizing the importance of motorcycles and scooters in the transport mix. The Victorian Government is the first to do so nationally.

Although optimistic about the state government's plan, VACC has called on Victoria's leaders to back up the newly-announced initiative with a meaningful financial commitment.

“However, in order to meet planned timelines, VACC encourages Government agencies to meet their fair share of the costs of delivery, rather than rely on the limited funds raised by the Motorcycle Safety Levy and paid by motorcyclists.

“VACC also urges the Minister to consider immediate introduction of laws that allow motorcyclists to use bus and transit lanes and for riders of low-powered scooters to share bicycle lanes.” Mr Dunphy said.

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