Motorcycle licensing discussion paper: improving road safety for motorcycle riders in Queensland
Today the MRAQ participated in a media event in conjunction with the Queensland Minster for Main Roads to announce the release tomorrow of a discussion paper on proposals for changes to the motorcycle licensing process.
This discussion paper is intended to seek input from any interested party as to how the licensing process could be amended to better equip riders with skills and knowledge as their progress through the process and as such does not yet have a preferred model.
At the event the Minister used one particular possible scenario to
demonstrate one option being considered. This particular option is not what the MRAQ currently believes to be the best one.
The MRAQ fully supports the inclusion of a pre-learner component to the current model which will see Queensland align with other states.
This inclusion makes full sense and can be seen as ensuring that
learners have the necessary skills to enable them to progress their
abilities with on road practice. We don’t however currently agree with other sections of the example model used during the media event. The current MRAQ preferred model is only to add the pre-learner component by moving part of the current RE licensing course engagement to become the pre-learner component and leave all other current parts unchanged.
Pre-learner ½ day course (component part of current 2 day RE
licensing) > Granted learners license > Practice Skills (period to be
determined) >Attend RE licensing component 1 ½ days (currently 2
days) > Granted RE license> Hold RE for minimum 12 months (As
current) > Attend R licensing reengagement (As current) > Granted Rlicense.
Motorcycle Riders Association Of Queensland 2
The model as indicated achieves the addition of the pre-learner
component without any additional cost for extra course time for the
participant but adds one more engagement point to attempt to ensure the ability of the rider as well as accessing and possibly modifying any errant problems with the riders skill set or attitude.
The purpose of the Discussion Paper is to seek all possible alternative view points and then suggest the best model to ensure maximum riders skills from the process without being so cumbersome as to put riders of from gaining their license and to this end the MRAQ wishes to encourage all interested parties to partake of the opportunity and put forward their views.
Release compiled by Chris Mearns MRAQ President
If implemented, Queensland would then actually have the toughest tests for a learner rider as it is the only state that requires potential riders to hold a car licence for a year before obtaining a learner’s permit.
Releasing a motorcycle licensing discussion paper today (July 26, 2015), Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey says novice motorcycle riders are over-represented in the road crash statistics and “something must be done”.
He asks Queenslanders to have a say in an associated online survey which goes live from midnight tonight. Submissions close on September 6.
The first question in the survey is a review of the discriminatory and provocative car licence requirement brought in by the previous Labor administration. (We’re still not sure how someone who never wants to drive a car would go about getting bike licence!)
Other “possible changes” suggested in the discussion paper and queried in the survey are:
Motorcycle Riders Association of Queensland president Chris Mearns congratulates the Minister for consulting with the organisation and urges riders to have their say in the survey.
He commends the suggestion of an extra pre-learner training course to increase Q Ride contact with riders during the licensing process from two to three times.
There is no mention in the discussion paper of whether learner riders would therefore face an extra financial impost from the extra testing.
However, Chris warns against anything that makes licensing more of a burden for learner riders, fearing a return to the days before Q Ride when as many as 20% of riders were unlicensed because of tough and expensive licensing rules.
Chris suggests the current two-day Q Ride course be split into a half-day pre-learner course and a one-and-a-half-day licence training course.
The Minister, who admits he is not a rider but says his brother was “into Katanas” (the Suzuki, not the sword), stresses the need to “ensure novice riders are better prepared for riding on the road” by increasing their skills and experience before gaining a learner’s permit and graduating to a provisional and open motorcycle licence.
Chris agrees that the current system of allowing learner licence holders to “immediately play on the road” needs addressing.
However, he urges perspective on the Minister’s crash and fatality figures saying this year’s leap in fatalities to 32 comes after the lowest year on record and that the growth in licensed riders outweighs the increase in crashes.
The Minister admits there is nothing in the discussion paper or survey that addresses the other burgeoning area of crash statistics; returned riders.
Other areas of discussion include:
The full discussion paper will be posted on the end of this article when it is published online overnight.
At least that is the excuse given by Queensland Police for eliminating signs warning drivers of a “Speed camera in use.”
Inspector Alan Hales, the head of the Road Policing Command, said people had complained the signs were too small.
Now there are no signs at all.
Cynics might say that the decision, which took effect on July 1, might not be wholly unrelated to the increase in speeding fines that took place on the same day. Those cynics would be right.
According to the Queensland Government’s webpage on speed and red light cameras, the money received is used to pay for road safety. The Queensland Government spent $65.9m of speed camera revenue on road improvements in 2013-14, with a further $8m on road safety awareness, and a little under $5m on other hospital and injury programmes.
However that’s a small slice of the revenue they receive. Governments of all persuasions are coy about speed camera revenue, but motor vehicle insurer Allianz estimated Queensland Government revenue from speeding fines at some $300m in 2011-12.
With increases in speeding fines, and more speed cameras, the current revenue will be much, much higher. That being the case, one would have thought there was little reason to be sneaky about it as well.
Of course, the advantage to being sneaky is that it will be harder for people to call in the location of speed cameras to those helpful people on radio stations, who then tell the rest of us where they are.
No doubt there are some readers who are vehemently disagreeing with me at this point, and saying that if people speed they should be fined. That is indeed the law, but is the point of the traffic laws to punish people and raise revenue, or to prevent accidents? If it is to prevent accidents, then we should be open and honest about the enforcement of speed limits.
This gets us back to the location of police speed traps. According to police, they are located at places where there are frequent accidents.
The truth is they are often at the bottom of inclines, even slight ones, where people can creep a couple of kilometres an hour over the speed limit without intending to do so. The beginning of Coronation Drive after the Go Between Bridge is a favourite haunt.
And police certainly love roads where the speed limit changes. The ICB is a favourite. Westbound traffic has a 70 km/h zone, which drops to 60 km/h after the Clem 7 entrance, then goes back up to 70 km/h before the entrance to the Legacy Way, only to drop down to 60 km/h again barely 400m later. The Road Policing Command loves it.
In the 1990s I spent three years as Chairman of the Road Black Spot Consultative Committee. Every year I’d get a list of the worst accident sites in Queensland and I’d frequently drive out to inspect them. I never saw a police speed trap at a traffic black spot, but I’d see a lot of them on safe locations along the way.
That’s the problem. The emphasis is on making money, not preventing accidents. And the more police indulge in sneakiness to maximise fines, the less confidence the public will have in their road safety programme.
section that features six sections with positive headings: Road user awareness; Educate to deliver; Motorcycles as a practical solution; Unlocking the benefits of motorcycling; Better motorcycle industry engagement in society; and Partnership with cycling.
In fact, under the fourth heading “Unlocking the benefits of motorcycling”, one of the objectives is to “Increase uptake of motorcycles as lower congesting and polluting vehicles“.
The website mirrors the UK Council of Police Chiefs 2014 report to the UK government.
Rather than deterring riders, as most authorities seem to do, or legislating for learner riders to first hold a car licence for a year (as in Queensland), the joint report with the Motorcycle Industry Association suggests the reverse is true.
“There is a growing body of evidence which shows that if more people started their road careers on a motorcycle, scooter or moped, this would lead to improvements in driver behaviour towards all vulnerable road users,” says an MIA statement released with the report. “‘It is also acknowledged that motorcyclists make better road users when driving cars.”
No doubt there are some British police who are tough on riders, but this video shows one who delivers a warning and lets the rider off for popping as wheelie. Would that happen here?
Click for Petition Here.