Monthly Archives:December 2015

Safer Motorcycles? Let’s Start With Safer Cars!

17 Dec , 2015,
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Because serious motorcycle accidents usually involve a car that violates a motorcyclist’s right of way. Motorcycling is on the edge of a revolution. In the next five to 10 years, fatalities and serious injuries are going to fall like unicycles on ice.

There’s a demographic factor: Old baby boomers crash less than young baby boomers. But the main difference will come from improvements in the cars we so often hit. At least half of all serious-to-fatal motorcycle accidents involve an auto “violating the motorcycle’s right of way.” Mr. Distracted Driver, waiting to turn left, doesn’t see me on my GPz550 and pulls into my path. Boom. So we keep our eyes peeled and our antennae up.

We send noobs to MSF courses, we practice our trail braking and swerving, and we wear glowing high-viz jackets. But we still get nailed. As long as car drivers can ignore incoming Kawasakis, these accidents will keep happening. One solution is coming from Sweden, of all places. In 2012 Volvo announced that by 2020, nobody would be killed or seriously hurt in a new Volvo. The Swedes already make their cars as crashworthy as possible. But the main focus of this latest effort is preventing accidents from happening at all. Volvo engineers realized that by preventing cars from leaving the road or hitting anything on the road, they could eliminate deaths altogether. Volvos will soon be driver-proof.

If drivers can’t avoid cars, pedestrians, or V-Stroms, their Volvos will do it for them. Using radio, acoustic, and visual sensors, they will brake and steer automatically. Leaving your lane? Your Volvo will steer you back. Moose in the road? Your Volvo will dodge it. Humans have two eyes and use them sporadically. A modern car can have its virtual eyes looking left and right, forward and back, up and down, all at the same time.

Cars are also becoming telepathically connected. Soon, if the car ahead dodges that moose it will also alert your car. Which will be able to warn you, change lanes, slow down, even tune its steering response and suspension settings for optimum moose-avoidance. Like the rider ahead of you pointing out a rock with his foot—if his foot could reach all the way to your brake pedal, that is. I like the idea of a car I can’t hit. I like knowing I can’t be in the blind spot of a car that has no blind spots. A driver might not see me, but if her car doesn’t lurch into me, I still make it home. Volvo is leading this charge, but the other major car companies are drafting close behind.

I rented a new Volvo V60 in England last summer, and it could drive itself on the motorways, holding its place in traffic while I sat back and relaxed. When traffic braked for Stonehenge, so did Mr. Volvo, as smooth as Pharrell Williams. Libertarians are howling. I hear you. I like to steer myself. That’s why I drive an old, analog sports car and ride motorcycles that, for the time being, still need me. But for every car driver who enjoys driving and does it well, there are three or four who don’t.

I’m fine with riding undamaged past a crappy driver, even if that means the crappy driver gets to watch the game. Motorcycle technology, of course, will soon catch up. KTM, BMW, and Ducati already offer Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control, which tailors braking and power to available traction. Car companies like Honda, BMW, and Audi (which owns Ducati) also make motorcycles, which will soon be able to detect and avoid bad stuff just like their cars. Lives will be saved. We’ll have more old friends to talk to. Nobody’s going to force us to buy these smarter motorcycles. But because of what Volvo is doing to save ditzy soccer parents today, there might be a lot more of us motorcyclists still riding around in 2025.


Results of motorcycle licensing discussion paper

15 Dec , 2015,
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The Results of consultation: Motorcycle licensing discussion paper, which summarises over 1,700 responses received as part of community consultation on possible changes to Queensland’s motorcycle licensing system, is now available.

The Motorcycle licensing discussion paper and accompanying online survey were released on the Get involved website on 27 July 2015. The consultation period ran for 6 weeks and closed on 6 September 2015, during which time 1,740 responses were received.

Feedback supported changes to the motorcycle licensing system in the following areas:

  • Over 65% support introducing an off-road pre-learner practical training and assessment course.
  • Over 60% considered a minimum learner licence period important.
  • Over 80% considered new riders holding an RE licence for at least one year before progressing to an R licence important.
  • Over 85% considered a standardised Q-Ride course curriculum important and support the course incorporating a stronger emphasis on behavioural factors and higher order skills.

Outcomes of the review are expected to be finalised in early 2016, with any changes to be implemented in the second half of 2016.

For more information on the review of motorcycle licensing, please visit our Motorcycle safety initiatives page.

Motorcycle helmet changes – Government acts on outdated standard

9 Dec , 2015,
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Senator Ricky Muir has welcomed the government’s announcement removing the outdated
consumer protection notice (CPN) governing the sale of motorcycle crash helmets.

The Minister for Small Business, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, made the announcement yesterday
following revocation of CPN No. 9 last week. This opens the way for state and territory jurisdictions
to align the rules for helmet use across Australia, including access to helmets certified to the best
international standards.

“The Australian Motorcycle Council (AMC) has been pushing for this change for some time. Once it
came to my attention, I raised this matter in the Senate in October,” said Senator Muir, Senator for
Victoria from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party.

“This is an area that involves both federal and state regulations. My comments in the Senate were
addressed to authorities at all levels, and it’s very pleasing to see that the Australian Government
has acted on this,” Senator Muir continued.

“It’s taken a long time to reach this point, and there are other challenges around helmets requiring
attention, mainly at the state and territory level.”

“I met with Guy Stanford of the Australian Motorcycle Council last week to discuss all aspects of
helmet sale and use. Things are far more complicated than they should be.”

“The rules and regulations around tinted visors and the use of helmet-mounted camera devices also
need to be sorted out. These are both safety items where riders are only wanting to be doing the
right thing, and not be singled-out by authorities for undue attention.”

“I also welcome news that the Transport and Infrastructure Council – the COAG ministerial council
on transport – has also been looking at this whole issue.”

“What’s important, though, is that the talk leads to action. That’s what we have in this
announcement from Minister O’Dwyer, so this is great news and a big step in the right direction.”

“Now it rests with the state and territory authorities to bring consistency back to the national road
rules governing the use of motorcycle helmets,” Senator Muir concluded.

Five critical things to do at a motorbike accident scene

Dec , 2015,
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Imagine that you come around a bend and you encounter a serious motorbike accident where a rider is down and injured. What are you going to do?

It can be a very confusing, confronting and chaotic experience and you may well suffer sensory overload.

To help you think straight and perform the critical actions necessary to provide the best outcome for the casualties, here is the list of the top five things to do.


Take a moment and a deep breath to assess the accident scene. Its important to get oxygen into your lungs and to your brain to help you think clearly and also to allow the initial rush of adrenalin to subside. You will also have time to figure out what vehicles have been involved and where the casualties are. It’s not always obvious. In the case of a motorbike rider or pillion in particular, if they are on a country road, they may have disappeared into the undergrowth.


As part of your assessment, look for sources of danger to yourself and others. You may have noticed that when paramedics arrive at an accident scene, they take their time and do not rush in. They are checking for danger to themselves and others and taking some time to work out how to eliminate or at least mitigate the risks. Are there other people nearby who could help? Ask them to manage the traffic or bystanders and send for help. You may need to move a rider away from danger, for example, a fire or petrol leak. Always think about infection danger to yourself and others too. If you have gloves in your first aid kit, put them on. You may be able to use your motorbike gloves as an alternative.


Determine if the casualty is conscious and responsive. Ask the casualty to lay still, open his eyes and tell you his name. The casualty may be anywhere in a range of consciousness. If you can, ask the casualty to leave the helmet on. Ask for as much information as possible such as their name, emergency contact details and where they are injured to pass on to the paramedics.


It is vitally important that you do this as soon as possible. Don’t delay, even a few minutes can make all the difference. If you have someone with you, get them to call for an ambulance while you continue to assess the casualty for breathing and injuries. Communications in remote areas can be difficult. Its one of the areas that our Motorcycle Accient Scene Training covers in detail.


To manage shock, keep the casualty calm and reassured. Do not move a conscious casualty or a casualty who is unconscious but breathing normally, as you may exacerbate a spinal injury. Continue to monitor the casualty’s breathing very closely and assess and treat other injuries. If the casualty is unconscious and not breathing normally, you need to remove a full face helmet, roll into a recovery position, clear the airway and if still not breathing normally, roll back and commence CPR.

There are many “what-ifs” at an accident scene and lots to learn about first aid treatment for traumatic injury, but if you can remember these basic five steps, you have done a lot of good in helping a fellow motorbike rider get the best care possible.

If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends to get the word out so that as many riders as possible can be trained what to do should the worst happen. Consider doing a Motorcycle Accident Scene Training course to learn more.!Five-critical-things-to-do-at-a-motorbike-accident-scene/cmcx/56380d050cf2c322b4911d7b

Cheaper, safer helmets for all Aussies

6 Dec , 2015,
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International-standard helmets are now available for sale throughout Australia after the Federal Government changed the rules that made them illegal for sale, even though Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory have already made them legal to wear.
Now riders should be able to access a wider range of safer helmets.

They should also be cheaper because they don’t have to be tested and approved again in Australia, which adds costs to the helmet importer who passes that on to the buyer.

Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory had approved the use of European-approved (UNECE 22.05) helmets earlier this year.

However, our federal consumer laws did not allow the helmets to be sold in Australia – a ridiculous situation of bureaucratic stupidity.

In fact, NSW Transport Minister Duncan Gay recently said his government would only approve the use of the helmets, after the Federal Government and Australian Consumer and Competition Commission approve their sale by local retailers under rule Consumer Protection Notice 9 (CPN9).

“While I appreciate our neighbouring states have made changes to their own laws, it makes no sense to allow the wearing of helmets without fixing the retail side of it at a Commonwealth level – we need to enable helmets manufactured to the European Standard to be both worn and sold in NSW,” he said.

The minister predicted that would happen in “early 2016”.

Surprisingly, bureaucracy moved faster than that and the issue has been resolved by the Federal Government revoking Consumer Protection Notice No.9.

That means UNECE 22.05 helmets are now legal for manufacturers to import to Australia.

There is now no longer any excuse for Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and NSW to approve UNECE 22.05 helmets.

While the consumer law change is good news for riders, longtime helmet advocate Wayne Caruthers says the notice should have been accompanied by a statement from the Federal Government that they would ensure the road use standards were included in the Australian Road Rules to keep it to one standard nationwide.

It seems the ACCC has actually been turning a blind eye to the problem, according to Italian-made Suomy helmet importer Robert Ferrington.

“We have been moving quite a few ECE helmets with full knowledge of the ACCC,” he says.

“As it stands the ACCC will neither prosecute nor give us a leave pass until the law is amended in January.”

ACCC opens Australia’s Motorcycle Helmet market.

Dec , 2015,
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Australian Motorcycle Council AMC MEDIA RELEASE 5th DEC, 2015 ACCC opens Australia’s Motorcycle Helmet market. Motorcyclists across Australia today welcomed Federal Minister for Consumer Affairs – Hon. Kelly O’Dwyer, MP, landmark announcement revoking Consumer Protection Notice No.9.

The decision from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) followed a three-year review and removes a legal requirement restricting what motorcycle helmets were legally allowed to be sold to consumers. Chairman of the Australian Motorcycle Council (AMC) Peter Baulch, strongly endorsed the ACCC’s move saying, “Australian motorcyclists will soon have the legal right to purchase and use a far greater range of motorcycle helmets. Consumer Protection Notice 9, had effectively worked as a trade barrier and limited riders access to arguably the world’s best helmets manufactured to European standard ECE 22-05.”

The move towards allowing ECE 22.05 standard helmets to be worn by riders on state roads had already been approved by Queensland, Victoria and Northern Territory however the ACCC regulations provided a legal barrier to the sale of these helmets meaning they could only be bought on-line or whilst overseas. Other States have flagged their intention of also approving the use of European standard helmets.

“The confusion and frustration caused by this inconsistency within the broader motorcycle community, simply made it sensible that uniform requirements existed across all States, that reflected best practice advice in terms of safety and commonsense” said Mr. Baulch. “Today the ACCC has delivered on safety and made a huge step towards uniform rules nationally”.

Motorcycling is the fastest growing mode of powered transport in Australia and an increasing proportion of road users. The ACCC’s announcement opens to the way to importers, retailers and consumers to operate under nationally uniform rules and regulations relating to the sale and use of the world’s best available motorcycle helmets.

The Australian Motorcycle Council congratulates Minister O’Dwyer and the ACCC for this important decision which ensures that Australia remains at the forefront as a recognized global leader in key aspects of safety on our roads.

Further details:
Guy Stanford – AMC Helmets Committee 0417 661 827
Peter Baulch – AMC Chairman 0428 246 175

More motorcycle helmet reform needed

Dec , 2015,
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While the motorcycle community is celebrating the reform that allows international-standard helmets to be sold in Australia, issues such as visors and action cameras still need to be resolved. Australian Motorcycle Council Helmets Committee Chair Guy Stanford says there are many people to thank for the bureaucratic change, but says they will also have to keep working for more reform.
“More is required to finish the task with a new, uniform National Road Rule 270 to replace the disparate variations with many unbelievable stupidities, impossibilities and allowance of whimsical enforcement,” he says referring to police in NSW and Victoria who have fined riders for wearing action cameras and dark visors.

“This requires that all road authorities, as agreed by the TIC, engage the agreed full COAG principles of Better Regulation and conduct a transparent, contestable Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) with wide community consultation.”

Sounds like gobbledigook, but it means that regulations and road rules have to be standardised and specifically stipulate requirements such as action cameras and visors, so riders are not confused.

“We expect that riders will continue to be subjected to confusing and misleading announcements and gossip,” Guy predicts.

Changes to the Consumer Protection Notice by the Minister for Small Business, Kelly O’Dwyer, mean motorcycle helmets offered for sale must now be FIT FOR PURPOSE, which means they must be compliant with requirements of road rules.

However, these still remain different in each state. Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory permit their use, while Tasmania, NSW and South Australia previously said they would allow use of ECE 22-05 helmets as soon as the ACCC lifted sale restrictions.

Meanwhile, Guy has thanked a host of motorcycle organisation members, public servants, community groups and media for their work in achieving the helmet law changes.

They include: AMC Helmets Committee members Chris Mearns (Qld), Dave Wright (WA), Peter Baulch (Vic) Bruce Campbell (NSW); Dr Bruce Campbell; Dan Leavy of the NSW RMS; Marg Prendergast, General Manager of the NSW Centre for Road Safety; Australian Road Rider magazine; helmet campaigner Wayne Carruthers; journalist Peter Thoeming and

“We have made good progress, but there is another swamp to cross. Put fresh batteries in your bullshit meter,” Guy warns.

Lane Filtering | Take The Peak Hour Challenge

1 Dec , 2015,
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This feature requires audience participation. I also hope it’s informative and entertaining, but without your involvement it becomes an exercise in preaching to the converted.

The plan is to spread the word about the benefits of lane filtering, and encourage drivers to get out of their cars and onto a motorcycle for their daily commute to work. Apart from benefits to the individual – who will spend less time in traffic – it will cut down congestion for everyone. Plus, coaxing a car driver onto a motorcycle (even if it is just for a short time) will allow him or her to see the world through motorcycle rider’s eyes, and become more aware of two-wheeled traffic. The end result will be more effective traffic flow and safer roads.

So here’s my plan: each reader should plonk this story in front of at least one non-bike-riding car driver and let them discover for themselves just how much of their life is being wasted sitting behind the wheel of a car stuck in traffic, when they could be enjoying a straight-through run to their destination. Is there any bigger time vampire than traffic congestion? As a motorcycle rider I’m constantly amazed at how many people seem content to sit in a large car, mostly by themselves, and creep towards their destination an inch at a time.

In 2014 sanity began to prevail as the NSW state governments legalised lane filtering. Queensland followed suit earlier this year. On 2 November this year, while Australia prepared for some sort of drinking game involving a horse race, lane filtering rules came into force in Victoria, and at that moment Melbourne became the most motorcycle friendly capital city in the Australia. Lane filtering and sidewalk parking have made Melbourne a two-wheeled commuter’s paradise, however, it’s a southern nirvana that many more  of us could – and should – be enjoying.

To test just how much benefit there is in lane filtering, the team at AMCN lined up for a peak-hour trip from Gassit HQ to the centre of Melbourne.

Three modes of transport were used, with the journey undertaken at the height of the city’s notorious peak hour (actually about four hours in the morning and four in the evening).

Paul Andrews drew the short straw and took the iLoad long-termer van. Mark Vender, still on his L plates and therefore not legally allowed to lane filter, caught the train. And Sports Editor Paul McCann chose to tackle the challenge on the Fonzarelli electric scooter.

Why a scooter and not one of the many high-powered exotica lined up at Gassit HQ? When it comes to maneuverability through traffic, inner-city commuting and easy parking, there’s no better mode of transport than a scooter.

The commuting challenge kicked off from the AMCN office at 8am, with McCann rolling off on two wheels, Andrews on four, and train-bound Vender striding off towards Huntingdale Station on foot.

It took all of a minute for the little scooter to disappear into the distance. The Fonzarelli may only have a top speed of 80km/h, but in Melbourne’s peak hour traffic that’s more than enough.

In the interests of fair play McCann rode the little scoot in the same manner as Joe Public would, not like the racer he is.

He even waited for Andrews in the iLoad to catch up to him at the infamous Princes Highway/Dandenong Road, intersection – a frustrating bottleneck where it’s not uncommon to be forced to wait three or four sets of lights before moving on.

McCann and the Fonzarelli simply filtered effortlessly between the parked cars to the front of the queue. Half a minute later he got the green, and while the driver of the car next to him finished her text, McCann was already zipping away from the pack.

Back in the van, already more than five minutes behind the scooter, Andrews was stuck behind two trucks driving side by side, and his stress levels were going off the chart.

Meanwhile on the train, Vender, despite appearing relaxed as he read the latest issue of AMCN, was more than just a little perturbed by the man’s hairy leg rubbing on his, and the almost toxic levels of BO in the sealed cabin.

With a range of 50km per battery and a distance of just 20km between Oakleigh and the Powershop in Melbourne’s CBD, McCann was in no danger of running out of battery power. Of course, running out of petrol in the diesel iLoad wasn’t something Paul Andrews had to worry about either, but he did constantly find himself in the only lane not moving on the Princes Highway, while McCann legally filtered between moving cars travelling at less than 30km/h (almost all of them) allowing him to retain an average speed for the entire trip of 31.9km/h.

Just as the clock ticked over to 35 minutes, McCann rolled up to the front doors of the Powershop. He effortlessly and legally parked the little Fonzarelli on the pavement out front, saving another chunk of time, as well as money and aggravation looking for a parking space. Vender arrived from Flinders Street station 17 minutes later and was already checking his timetable for a train back. Andrews arrived 18 minutes later than Vender and a whopping 35 minutes after the scooter – and he still had to find a park.

McCann had one last trick up his sleeve. Being electric, the little commuter does not get hot or have an oily engine smell, making it totally unintimidating in the office environment. Staff didn’t bat an eyelid when the Fonzarelli was wheeled into a friend’s office – in fact they all stopped to admire it in the foyer. Then it was parked next to a workstation and plugged into a standard wall socket, where it recharged while
the early arrivals went for coffee.

Based on our rough calculations, if a car driver travelling around 20km into the CBD each day changed their mode of transport from car to a motorcycle they could cut over an hour from their travel time each day. That’s five hours per week, or approximately 240 hours per year.

Then there is the saving on running costs. Running an internal combustion engine scooter costs very little; it becomes almost zero if you go electric and scab someone else’s power like we did.

The benefits are clear to see, all you need to do is try filtering for yourself. Are you ready to take the challenge?

Did you know?

In Australia, less then five per cent of road users are motorcyclists, so it’s difficult to gauge the effect filtering has on relieving traffic congestion. What we do know is there’s plenty of room for improvement. In many Asian countries, motorcycles (predominantly scooters) are the main form of transport. The crazy mix of cars and bikes on Bangkok’s infamously congested roads is legendary. If it weren’t for lane filtering the city would be brought 
to a standstill.

In the Vietnamese city of Ho Chi Minh it’s estimated more than three million motorcycles crowd onto the roads each day, yet the traffic flows relatively freely as cars allow bikes to filter around them.

In Los Angeles, where more than 200,000 motorcyclists share the road with an estimated two million cars, lane filtering is actively encouraged by all road users.

A 2011 study in Brussels revealed that even when working on a ratio of 90 per cent cars to just 10 per cent motorcycles, preventing motorcyclists from filtering, and therefore taking up road space equivalent to one car, doubled the travel time for all road users through the test zone.

Filtering: State By State

NSW led the way in July 2014 with Australia’s first lane filtering laws. The decision followed a 2013 trial in Sydney’s CBD.

As the majority of NSW motorcyclists already filtered, motorists didn’t notice any major change in driving conditions. Due to the location of the ACT (it’s a territory located within NSW if you are unsure) it made sense for Australia’s Capital Territory to follow suit, and it did, but only with a trial of the NSW rules.

The rest of Australia was expected to allow filtering, but so far only Queensland (2014) and Victoria (2015) have done so. Complicating matters further, each state has its own unique set of lane filtering laws…

WA | Undecided

While not specifically illegal, riders can be (and often are) fined for a range of traffic offences, including unsafe overtaking.

NT | Meh, your choice

Even the Northern Territory road book describes lane filtering as “not recommended” – in other words, you’d be unlucky to get nabbed for it.

SA | Easy going

Officially it’s a no no, but as long as you don’t overtake on the left and stay wholly within the lane of the the car you’re passing it’s usually OK.

QLD | Filtering is legal

Riders can use emergency lanes, use the road shoulder, and use bicycle waiting areas at traffic lights.

NSW | Filtering is legal

Riders cannot use the emergency lane, use the road shoulder, or filter above 30km/h.

VIC | Filtering is legal

Riders can filter next to parked cars unless signs say otherwise or if it’s unsafe to do so.

TAS | No worries

While filtering is not legal in Tasmania, traffic jams are so infrequent, filtering is rarely required.

Write in to and tell us the results of your challenge.

This article appears in AMCN Vol 65 No 11