Ten new-look Police motorcycles being unveiled today will bear the message ‘Look for bikes’ to remind all road-users that taking another look can save lives.
Five of the 10 new Honda bikes are being introduced to their police riders from Auckland City and Waitematā districts. A further four are destined for Wellington and one for Canterbury.
All the new Honda Police bikes carry the message ‘Look for bikes’ in red on both panniers.
“Motorcycle riders are the highest-risk group on our roads, being 19 times more likely to be killed or injured than car drivers over the same distance travelled,” says Inspector Peter McKennie, Operations Manager Road Policing.
Last year, 44 people died on motorcycles on New Zealand roads.
“As well as being less stable and less protected than people in cars, riders are less visible to other road users,” Mr McKennie says. “We wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone on the roads that simply taking another look can prevent a devastating crash.”
In about two-thirds (66 percent) of motorcycle crashes involving a collision with another vehicle, the other vehicle bears the primary responsibility.
Ministry of Transport research shows the circumstances in which car drivers looking for motorcycles could make most difference are when the car is turning right, and pulling out at intersections.
The new Police motorcycles are Honda’s ‘authority model’, designed specifically for Police units worldwide. It is based on the ST1300 consumer model – but all police-specific equipment, such as lights and radio, is fitted as an integral part of the bike.
As well as having a motorcycle licence and extensive on-road experience, Police motorcycle riders must complete a two-week qualifying course requiring 80 hours of specialist training, and pass a recertification course every year.
The Police fleet contains 27 motorcycles, with 16 based around Auckland. They are predominantly used in road policing and VIP escorts. The Honda ST1300's will be replacing older BMW machines that have come to the end of their service life.
They have an advantage over patrol cars in getting through heavy traffic and in enforcement around intersections, as they are easy to park without obstructing traffic flow. The ten new machines will replace existing machines.