Tim O'Brien | Jun 22, 2008

Not everyone has been thinking with their bums on the dual issues of high petrol prices and urban congestion.

Victorian motor body, VACC, has called on State and Federal Governments to give more support to scooter and motorcycle riders. It says that high petrol prices are fuelling the case for two-wheeled transport, and is calling on Government to bring road infrastructure up to scratch—and improved road sharing rules—to better cater for riders.

“With rampant petrol pump prices, it is now apparent that there are fewer cars on the daily commute to work. This presents an opportunity for the Government to acknowledge the role motorbikes and scooters can play in reducing congestion and vehicle emissions, and also in reducing petrol costs for families and commuters,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.

It is self-evident, you would have to think, that with petrol at extortionate prices and trains bursting at the seams, the numbers of commuters turning to scooters and motorcycles is likely to gather even more strength. Click through to continue reading--

According to VACC, scooter sales were up 40% last year—and that was before petrol became crippling. The next VFACTS is certain to make interesting reading.

“As well as being less expensive to buy and run compared to cars, scooters are more environmentally friendly, reduce congestion on roads and reduce pressure on parking spaces,” David Purchase said.

VACC has called on Government to initiate new road-sharing policies to encourage more people to take up ‘two wheeled transport’ and to make the roads safer for their use.

“More than 80% of motorcycle crashes involve other vehicles hitting them from behind or failing to give way to motorcyclists at intersections. Cars, and poor driver practices, pose the greatest risk to scooter riders, motorcyclists, and bicyclists, all of whom are vulnerable road users.

“Scooters and motorcycles are here to stay. That is a simple and inescapable fact. But the infrastructure for two-wheeled vehicles is not up to scratch. The Government needs to make fundamental improvements to our roads and develop an integrated transport policy to incorporate motorbikes, scooters and push bikes,” he said.

VACC is calling for the following initiatives to make scooter and motorcycle riding safer:

  • Establish designated and signed “Safe Routes” with improved traffic management features for two-wheeled transport
  • Establish safety boxes for motorcycle and scooter riders at the head of busy intersections
  • Allow access by scooter riders to certain, designated bicycle lanes on roads where such sharing can be achieved safely (many electric and smaller scooters travel at bicycle speeds or less)
  • Allow boxed turns, utilising safety boxes, on certain busy intersections for scooter riders (to avoid having them standing unprotected in the middle of passing lanes)

“It works in Rome, Paris, London, Stockholm and Tokyo – why can’t it work in Australian cities?” David Purchase asked.

Fair point brothers and sisters, but will it happen? Regretfully, I have to report that all evidence to date would suggest that the responsible regulator in Victoria, VicRoads, and the State Government, will continue to think with their bums on the issue.

So don’t hold your breath.

 Photo © MonkeyMagic