The "stupid behaviour" of motorcyclists in Victoria is having a real and direct impact on the state's road toll, Deputy Commissioner for Road Policing, Ken Lay said today in response to photos that showed riders behaving badly on the road.
Provided by the Traffic Camera Office, the photos reveal motorcyclists speeding well in excess of the posted limit, with many not wearing protective clothing beyond the mandatory helmet.
One photo shows a motorcyclist doing a 'mono' on a trail bike in little more than shorts and a t-shirt, while travelling at 111km/h on Keilor's Old Calder Highway.
Mr Lay pointed to the images as an example of why there have been 32 motorcyclist fatalities on Victoria's roads so far this year, compared to 17 for the same period in 2009.
The state's overall road toll stands at 160 - up from 144 at the same point last year.
“I know that when I talk about this issue it makes me unpopular with the motorcycling community, but making friends is not my priority – saving lives is and I can’t sit back and watch another 32 families go through grief because their loved one made a stupid error," Mr Lay said.
“I know that the majority of motorcyclists out there do the right thing and stick to the limits, wear protective clothing and avoid lane cutting. But everyday I am passed by hooning motorcyclists who put themselves in grave danger and I am simply fed up with it.”
Mr Lay said that independent research had shown that riders are 38 times more likely than car occupants to be seriously injured or killed in a crash.
He added that police statistics showed that around 75 percent of motorcyclists involved in a fatality are responsible.
“We can do all the education work and all the campaigning in the world, but unless the attitude of the minority changes we will continue to see deaths in this category.”
At the same time, Victorian Roads Minister Tim Pallas has today announced VicRide, a new on-road coaching trial for beginner motorcyclists.
The program will see a number of newly-licensed motorcyclists riding with on-road guidance from an experienced trainer on another motorcycle, while another group will ride without coaching - as is normally the case.
The results of the two groups, 2400 riders in total, will be compared to determine the effectiveness of the program.
"Novice riders in particular have a high crash involvement. Since 2002 there has been a reduction in motorcyclist fatalities by 31 per cent in Victoria compared to an increase of 19 per cent for the rest of Australia.
“However, this year we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of riders being killed on our roads – with 32 dead, almost double the number at the same time last year.”
The trial, developed with the support of the Victorian Motorcycle Advisory Council, will be conducted by Monash University Accident Research Centre and independently evaluated by The George Institute for International Health.
Recruitment for the trial will begin immediately and is expected to take several months.
The trial is part of the Government’s Powered Two Wheelers Action Plan 2009-2013 strategy released last year, which promotes safety and better integration of motorcycles across the Victorian transport network.