ACC and NZ Police are calling upon motorcyclists and drivers to do more to keep safe on the road.
“It has been a disappointing start to the year for motorcyclists with the number of deaths so far” says ACC’s Carey Griffiths, Senior Injury Prevention Programme Manager (Motorcycles).
“With 53 motorcyclists dying on our roads last year (48 riders and 5 pillion passengers) the highest number since 1998, we hope that this year does not carry on the way it has started,” says Mr Griffiths.
Eight motorcyclists have died on New Zealand roads since the beginning of this year.
“The disturbing feature of these deaths is that the majority involve male riders all over the age of 40,” says Mr Griffiths.
One fatal crash involved a 54 year old who was on a learner’s licence and another 54 year old also on a learner’s licence was caught travelling at 162km’s. “This highlights a real issue that we are dealing with. It concerns older maleriders who are overly confident and often riding bikes that are beyond their experience and capabilities.” Nearly three quarters (73%) of fatal crashes occur on the open road where a loss of control can be deadly.
ACC’s Ride Forever programme provides all bike riders with the opportunity to improve riding skills, knowledge and capabilities.
“As a long term rider myself, we know that there are some risks we can’t control, but improving our skills as riders is something within our control and is critical to improving our odds of staying safe.
“Ride Forever courses offer a chance to brush up on the perishable skills needed as riders and we encourage everyone who rides to get themselves a regular check-up on their abilities just as we’d get a warrant of fitness for our bike,” said Mr Griffiths.
“It’s too easy to fall into the trap of practising your own mistakes for years and thinking ‘she’ll be right’.”
Motorcycles make up less than 5 per cent of all vehicles on the road but 15 per cent of all fatal crashes involve motorcycle riders, and motorcyclists now make up 10% of all road users injured.
“This is a sobering statistic for those of us who ride”said Carey Griffiths.
Police would like motorcyclists and drivers to remain alert on the roads: “With warmer temperatures and fine weather, it often means more bikes on road.
Drivers can do their part to help keep motorcyclists safe by remaining alert when behind the wheel and keeping an eye out for bikers.” says Superintendent Steve Greally, National Manager of Road Policing.
“A common comment from car and truck drivers about motorcyclists is that they just didn’t see the motorcyclist.”
“Motorcyclists also need to be proactive in keeping safe.” Mr Greally says
“Many modern motorcycles are extremely fast and powerful, so they need to be treated with respect.”
“If you are a new rider, or returning to motorcycling after a long absence, buy or use a bike that matches your skills and abilities until these improve.”
“The Ride Forever training programmes are great for those riders looking to improve their skills and keep themselves safe on the road.”