Monthly Archives:May 2016

Airbus prints motorbike from dust

27 May , 2016,
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You would normally associate Airbus with A380s and other large passenger carrying jetliners.

But in a sign of where advancing 3D printing technology could take aviation in the future, Airbus, through its German subsidiary APWorks, has produced an electric motorbike from aluminium powder.

Marketed as ‘the world’s first 3D printed motorbike’, the Light Rider weighs just 35 kg with its electric drive motor and interchangeable battery delivering up to 130 newton metres of torque and speeds of 80 km/h with a 60 km range.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the bike is the high-performance aluminium powder used in the additive manufacturing of the hollow frame, which weighs just six kilos, or just over 17 per cent of the bike’s total weight.

‘The motorcycle frame has been created out of thousands of 30 micrometre thin layers in a metallic powder bed,’ says the APWorks website, with ‘bionic algorithms defining the organic frame structure using nature’s design principles.’

Airbus, together with APWorks developed the powder, coined ‘Scalmalloy’, claiming it to be as ‘ductile as titanium, as light as aluminium’ as well as being resistant to corrosion.

‘The complex and branched hollow structure couldn’t have been produced using conventional production technologies such as milling or welding,’ said Joachim Zettler, CEO of Airbus APWorks GmbH. ‘Advances in additive layer manufacturing have allowed us to realize the bionic design we envisioned for the motorcycle without having to make any major changes. With these technologies, the limitations facing conventional manufacturing disappear,’ he added.

This is not the first time Airbus has made headlines in the world of 3D printing, with the company already using additive manufacturing for over 1000 non-structural parts in its A350 XWB. Rolls Royce has also used several 3D printed parts in the Trent XWB97 turbofan engine, which powers Airbus’s flagship aircraft, the A380.

Flight Safety Australia has previously reported on 3D printing and what promises and threats the revolutionary technology holds for aviation; particularly in maintaining technical standards and distinguishing counterfeit parts from genuine ones.

Only 50 Light Rider motorcycles will be made, with units available for purchase with a €2000 reserve and a total price tag of €50,000 or just under A$78,000 dollars.

More information on the Light Rider can be found on APWorks website.

Airbus prints motorbike from dust

Mick Doohan to host all-star TV bike show

26 May , 2016,
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A two-wheel equivalent of the popular Top Gear could soon be hitting TV screens with five-time world champion Mick Doohan as host, supported by Charley Boorman and supermodel Kate Peck.

It’s called Bike Torque and the producers are seeking $500,000 to film a pilot and $6.5m for the first season of 13 episodes.

Bike Torque TV

Supermodel Kate Peck

Producers plan to include a stellar line-up of guests including Tom Cruise, Eric Bana, Justin Timberlake, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, George Clooney, Pink, David Beckham, Clint Eastwood, Ryan Gosling, Ewan McGregor, Ryan Reynolds, John Travolta, Hugh Laurie, Keanu Reeves, Jay Leno, Jason Statham, Wyclef Jean, Tim Allen, Orlando Bloom, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank and Jimmy Buffett … whew!

And then, of course, there will be the usual motorcycle and car racers such as Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Craig Lowndes, Wayne Gardner, Kevin Schwanz and Sebastian Vettel.

Bike Torque TV

Mick and Casey

If that sounds adventurous, it is, but joint Bike Torque executive producer Mick Doohan moves in those sorts of VIP circles. In fact, Johnny Depp has expressed interest in doing a documentary on Mick.

Fellow executive producer and project funding manager Clare Katavich of Australian company STAGE Films is currently in London after 10 days in Cannes, promoting Bike Torque and her feature film, “The Adventures of Tom Thumb” potentially starring Kiera Knightley, Ewan McGregor and Stephen Fry.

Bike Torque TV

Clare and Charley

She refers to Bike Torque as “Top Gear for motorbikes”.

“This is more than a sports show but an entertainment show for a wider audience,” she says.

Former racer and now film whizz Mark Toia of Brisbane has been asked to direct the high-quality pilot.

“I’ve asked for specific tools to do it properly,” he says.

Mark Toia Bike Torque TV

Mark Toia

“To shoot bikes is a lot harder than shooting cars. I’ve shot many a motorbike commercial around the world and they are a pretty different animal to cars.

“You can be a few feet from a car and it’s ok but to get a few feet from a motorcycle with the rider with his knee on the ground is quite daunting.

“This production will be dialled up a bit from Top Gear to fit a mainstream audience. It has to go in a lot of homes so it has to be better than the average Discovery Channel show.”

Bike Torque TV

Mick films Bike Torque teaser

The funding memorandum estimates revenue from the first season of about $30m with the show reaching millions of viewers worldwide.

A typical show format is expected to feature bike reviews, funny bike clips, motorcycle travel, celebrity chats, MotoGP reviews, stunts, a custom bike competition, safe riding tips, gear and equipment reviews, motocross tracks and trails, maintenance tips, classic bikes and a segment called “Celebrity Challenge – Run the Gauntlet” which may be a little like a Top Gear “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car”.

They are also considering a live events format similar to the Top Gear Live shows that toured 32 cities in 19 countries, attracting more than 2.2m people.

Film locations for the first season includes such exotic places as Cannes, St Tropez, Croatia, Italy, Spain, USA and Japan, and events such as the Isle of Man TT and MotoGP races.

Since Mick lives on the Gold Coast, there will be some domestic locations including a Nerang to Binna Burra ride, plus rides to Mt Buller in Victoria, Cranbrook to Mt Campbell in Tasmania, Grafton to Glenn Innes in NSW, Perth to Bindoon and Lichfield Park to Rum Jungle in the Northern Territory. There will also be rides in New Zealand’s north and south islands.

Mick Doohan to host all-star TV bike show

Towards Zero: A long road ahead?

22 May , 2016,
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The state of Victoria has suffered one of its most traumatic starts to the year in relation to motorcycle fatalities, Deniz Uzgun reports.

Victoria’s motorcycle death toll is surging, with 28 riders having already lost their lives this year.

In May last year this figure was just 13, with the number of motorcyclists killed during 2015 standing at 30.

Despite the alarming spike in figures in 2016, president of the Victorian Motorcycle Council John Eacott claims that “there has never been a safer time to ride a motorcycle in Victoria.”

Indeed, barring the first 5 months of the year, the general trend in motorcyclist fatalities has dropped in recent decades.

Victoria remains one of the safest states in Australia for two-wheeled road users, despite motorcycle usage steadily increasing each year since 2002 to become the fastest-growing form of transport.

A recent Road Trauma Australia report into road safety describes that between 2005 and 2014, Victoria experienced, on average, an 8.2 per cent reduction in fatality rate in proportion to per 10,000 registered motorcycles.

BITRE – Road trauma Australia 2014 statistical summary https://bitre.gov.au/publications/ongoing/files/Road_trauma_Australia_2014_statistical_summary_N_ISSN.pdf

BITRE – Road trauma Australia 2014 statistical summary – https://bitre.gov.au/publications/ongoing/files/Road_trauma_Australia_2014_statistical_summary_N_ISSN.pdf

But as the overall trend in motorcycle fatalities drop in proportion to an upsurge in registrations, it is difficult to overlook the tragic reality of the distinctively fatal first four months of 2016.

Damien Codognotto from The Independent Riders’ Group says the “spike in motorcycle & scooter crashes in Victoria in the first four months of 2016 is not normal.”

Motorcycle deaths have increased by 115 per cent since this time last year, leaving road safety experts deeply concerned and in search of answers.

Why has there been such an increase in motorcycle deaths this year?

According to Eacott unlicensed riders and unaware drivers have contributed to the increase.

“One is unlicensed riders who shouldn’t have been on a bike and the other is car drivers failing to see motorcyclists,” Eacott tells upstart.

The Towards Zero website states that almost 25 per cent of the riders killed this year did not hold a valid license.

Codognotto says car driver errors cause most vulnerable road user casualties, including pedestrian, bicycle, scooter and motorcycle deaths and injuries.

“So a small improvement in car driver behaviour will generate a significant reduction in all road crash casualties,” he tells upstart.

Dr Trevor Allen from the Monash University Accident Research Centre says that another contributing factor could be the increase in the number of motorcyclists on our roads in the past months, due to the milder than usual weather over summer and autumn.

“It is important to acknowledge that the total number of motorcyclists on the road is much more dependent on the weather when compared to passenger cars,” Dr Allen tells upstart.

“Higher rates of serious injuries typically occur in the warmer months, likely due to more motorcyclists on the road during this time.”

“This can contribute to great fluctuations in road trauma statistics for motorcyclists. So I would expect a pattern of lower fatality rates in the cooler and wetter months of 2016,” he says.

 

The risks vs. the benefits of more motorcycles on the road

In relation to the rising popularity of motorcycles, Eacott says the government’s increasing perception that motorcycles reduce congestion has meant that more and more riders are on our roads.

“There is no doubt that the summer months this year saw a significant increase in the use of motorcycles, possibly as a result of the improved perception by government authorities being more accepting [towards] the use of motorcycles as a congestion relief,” Eacott says.

The Leuven Study (December 2012) shows that a 10% switch to motorcycles for commuting would reduce congestion by 40%.

But with the objective of reducing congestion, this could also mean that a larger number of ‘vulnerable’ road users are on our roads.

“Motorcyclists are inevitably out in the mainstream traffic without any design or legislative protection, so it could be mooted that we are the most vulnerable in the current state of road use,” Eacott explains.

“The tier of VRU (Vulnerable Road Users) is accepted as being pedestrian, cyclist and then motorcyclist, but the protection given by road rules and road design affords a much greater degree of safety for the first two.”

Motorcyclists are also the fastest travelling of all vulnerable road users, so in the event of a crash, the speeds are likely to be higher leading to a greater risk of serious injury or death.

Dr Allen says it is “very unlikely” the change in lane filtering laws – introduced late last year, which allows motorcyclists to filter through lanes in traffic travelling at 30km/h or less – have contributed to the increase in motorcycle fatalities.

“Drawing conclusions based on a few months of fatality data alone is far from a rigorous investigation, [let alone trying to establish] the effects of a changing rule on road trauma statistics,” he says.

 

Motorcyclist crash data harder to recover

Limitations in recording motorcycle crash data can also make it challenging to pinpoint the causes of these accidents.

“I would say the challenges in reconstructing motorcycle crashes is greater than for passenger car crashes,” says Dr Allen.

“Firstly, there is rarely objective data available from the motorcycle to help reconstruct the crash – such as data loggers which can provide basic speed, time and g-force data near the crash event.

“Secondly, evidence at the scene is often limited, including debris or skid marks. The motorcycle can behave in a greater range of ways during a crash event, including being airborne or sliding with no wheels in contact with the road, making reconstruction difficult,” he says.

“And finally, about two-thirds of injury crashes involve another driver, and obtaining information from the other road user for research is very difficult due to privacy laws, research ethics, and the reluctance of drivers to share their perspective.”

 

Victoria’s overall road death toll on the incline

Despite the Transport Accident Commission’s $1 billion investment into the Safe System Road Infrastructure Program – which aims to reduce the Victorian road toll by more than 30 per cent to below 200 deaths per year – the spike in motorcycle deaths brings Victoria’s overall road toll to 107, compared to 96 for the same time last year.

The assistant police commissioner Doug Fryer has warned that with this current rate, the number could exceed 300 by the end of the year for the first time in 6 years.

For the motorcycle road toll, Dr Allen says that even if the current rates subside for the rest of the year, we are likely to see the “highest annual fatality in at least 15 years.”

In light of this year’s rising road toll, the Shine a Light Road Safety Campaign kicked off last Friday, aiming to bring awareness in reducing deaths and injuries on our roads as well as raising money to support those affected by road trauma.

On Sunday May 15, a community walk will take place in Mount Waverley with the aim of shining a light on the lives lost and to help curb what has been a horrific start to the year on our state’s roads.

Deniz Uzgun is a third-year Bachelor of Arts student at La Trobe University and a staff writer for upstart. Twitter: @uzgundeniz

 

Helmets – Latest News – Standards Forum

20 May , 2016,
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Some said last year’s Forum at Standards Australia was a farce, yet what resulted was

national change to helmet laws to allow sale and use of ECE 22-05 helmets.

This came about through regulatory changes by the ACCC and road authorities, not from any action of Standards Australia.

This year’s Forum at Standards Australia did its best to disappear down a psychedelic rabbit

hole, Standards Australia again pointing out that the solution was not with them.

The problem remains regulatory, with road authorities seeking amendment of AS/NZS 1698, to turn it into an in-service regulation to control use of helmets.

This approach is wrong-headed and has already shown problems.

Road authorities need to sort out a consistent single national road rule with in-service regulations for helmet use based on evidence and current safe practices (e.g. dark visors in daytime).

In service regulations are to address issues like drilling holes in a helmet, crash damage and any other issues that may compromise a helmet.

Several participants seemed to be hypnotised by cameras on helmets. We had the FUDs of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, speculations and secret testing, but no actual evidence of an injury problem. Some statements made on this subject were not credible.

The majority of helmets into the future will be ECE 22-05. Some helmets will still require AS/NZS 1698:2006, but there is no technical need to amend the helmet or visor standard for these.

What is needed is improved point of sale surveillance of helmet certifications for all standards.

Many voices were heard, some sensible and some seeking commercial advantage. Rider representation was solid, with CJ Burns (MCCofNSW), “loose cannon” Wayne Carruthers and myself making the case for a nationally consistent, sensible and understandable road rule.

Again, the heavy lifting will be done by those quietly doing the ongoing and consistent work of state and territory based rider organisations co-ordinating through the Australian Motorcycle Council.

Guy Stanford

MCC of NSW Delegate,

AMC Helmets Committee Chairman

New Dimension Widths on Handlebars, ADR 57 amended.

19 May , 2016,
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MRAQ have found a change in the ADR 57. Have you been booked on or after the 11th of December 2015 for bars wider than 900mm, well this is going to interest you, please read more details here MRAQ Investigation into ADR 57 

Any inquires email  MRAQ President <mraqpresident@gmail.com>

Helmet standard needs revision says forum

18 May , 2016,
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A helmet forum in Sydney has decided that the Australian standard for helmets is still relevant – at least for now – but requires revision to make it more explicit and not open to interpretation.

Despite all Australian states now allowing European-standard UNECE22.05 helmets, it was pointed out that there are helmets currently being sold here that would not pass UNECE, including shorty and some ATV helmets.

The AS/NZS 1698 Protective Helmets for Vehicle Users forum was hosted by Standards Australia to seek opinions from stakeholders, says Standards Australia motorcycle spokeswoman Alison Scotland.

She says they initiated the original forum in January 2015 to discuss the inconsistency of application of regulations across the nation after Queensland allowed UNECE helmets.

Since then, the Australian Consumer and Competition Council has changed the rules to allow UNECE 22.05 helmets to be legally sold and all states and territories have amended road rules to allow their use.

While some at the forum have said the Australian standard is no longer relevant to many riders, importers and the racing community, it was pointed out that here were still helmets that would not be sold in Australia if the AS/NZS was axed.

They include shorty and ATVs helmets, believed to represent about 15% of the market.

Harley Shorty (left) and Retro helmets standard

Harley Shorty (left) and Retro

It was also noted that importers have changed to the UNECE standard and the commercial impact would probably phase out AS/NZS, but in the meantime it should be amended.

A Department of Infrastructure spokesman said “we could do without it” because we don’t have any Australian helmet manufacturers, but if it is retained, it should be revised to be more explicit and not open to interpretation.

Recommendations for an updated standard include taking into account helmet attachments and emerging technologies such as Bluetooth, head-up display and the chin-strapless Vozz helmet.

It was also suggested the standards committee meets more regularly and updates the standard more frequently.

Despite the forum then going into discussion on the future standard, it was believed it would be an interim measure and eventually become obsolete and be withdrawn.

WHO WAS THERE?

The forum was attended by relevant government departments, university researchers, rider representatives, motorcycle helmet crash testers and certifiers, motorcycle industry representatives, road safety experts and regulators, motorcycle helmet importers and distributors and several representatives of Australian-designed Vozz Helmets. Police were not present as they were at the first forum.

Helmet laws - helmet petition, helmet forum helmet forum standardNew Zealand was invited as well because it is part of the AS/NZS 1968 standard, but didn’t attend saying they already accept seven international standards.

(Motorbike Writer joined several participants on a phone link, but it was difficult to hear all comments and difficult to always identify who was speaking.)

SAFETY

The main issue debated was the safety of the two competing standards.

A spokesman for compliance certifier SAI Global obviously wanted to keep the current standard saying it was an “eminent standard” that was “regarded as a high level standard for riders”.

He said all Australian-certified helmets would pass the European standard, but not all UNECE 22.05 helmets would always pass Australian standards.

(The shorty and ATV helmet exceptions were mentioned later.)

An importer pointed out that the fit of a Euro helmet is different to Australia. “They have a thinner face and don’t have the same cutout for the ears.”

Vozz Helmets managing director Mark Bryant says AS/NZS penetration test requirements make helmets heavier which can causes neck injuries in a crash.

He says the ECE test is far superior. He says the Australian standard is out of date from a manufacturer’s point of view.

His helmet has been certified to AS/NZS, ECE and DOT and they have to make changes for each market.

He also pointed out that the AS/NZS did not account for the fact his helmet does not have a chin strap, saying the standard was out of date.

“When new technology comes out it is up to certifiers to look at a way to test, otherwise we’d still be riding around in a horse and cart,” he said.

VOZZ Helmet laws standard

VOZZ Helmet

BATCH TESTING

SAI Global also questioned the UNECE batch testing of helmets and quality assurance testing of laboratories, saying it was unacceptable.

An importer said the Australian standard would probably die, but he didn’t have confidence in Euro batch testing.

He said he was worried about safety recalls and the cost to importers.

Alison said the Australian Government could go to the UN committee and put their concerns about batch testing “on the table”.

It was also pointed out that not all European countries have problems with batch testing and it was suggested we only allow those countries that comply to export to Australia, but that would introduce an extra layer of complexity in the law and further confuse riders.

RIDERS

Several rider group representatives were asked what riders want.

Australian Motorcycle Council helmet expert Guy Stanford said they wanted a wide choice of safe and cheaper helmets.

“Our heads are the same as people in Europe,” he said. He also pointed out that while Australians rode on more dirt roads, the bikes and riding conditions placed largely the same requirements on helmets.

Another rider group representative said riders wanted access to the best helmets in the world.

He said the AS/NZS penetration test led to heavier helmets and riders wanted lighter helmets which placed less strain on the neck and caused less fatigue for enduro riders.

He said riders are not getting that choice because some manufacturers find it too expensive to certify for such a small market.

An importer disputed the comments saying “98% of everything that is safe is imported”.

He said Schuberth helmets were not available in Australia because the distributor was difficult to deal with. He said Shoe, Arai and Bell bring in all their helmets, most with only minor changes.

He also disputed the cost of helmets in Australia, saying internet buying had forced down prices.

“We are among the cheapest in the world.”

The forum cannot make legislation changes, but only advise relevant departments, legislators and regulators.

However, the previous forum showed that change is possible.

(The forum discussion about the revised standard is ongoing. It will discuss the form of the revised standard and helmet use issues, such as attaching helmet cameras and tinted visors, including internal shades. Findings will be posted later.)

Helmet standard needs revision says forum

Aftermarket exhaust not illegal, Barrister

17 May , 2016,
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A Brisbane Barrister has reviewed the laws on aftermarket exhausts and determined that police and authorities do not have the expertise or objectivity to sustain a conviction for the alleged offence.

Levente Jurth, who rides an Aprilia Tuono 1100, says he researched the matter because fellow riders have been fined by Queensland Police for having a non-standard aftermarket exhaust fitted to their bikes.

He has produced a lengthy 121-point paper based on Queensland’s laws which is printed in good faith at the end of this article for the benefit of readers.

The Barrister says it is not legal advice, but a way to alert authorities and users to the highly complex issue of exhaust noise laws and offer solutions to make it clearer to riders and authorities.

Despite that caveat, he says he would have “no hesitation in making submissions to a Court consistent with such views”.Akropovic Open-Line exhaust system on a Harley-Davidson Road King

His paper follows police and various transport authorities in several states issuing fines for fitting an aftermarket exhaust, either after a roadside noise test or simply because the exhaust is not the original equipment.

Fines can be a few hundred dollars right through to confiscation of the vehicle under Queensland’s draconian so-called “anti-hoon laws”.

Levente’s paper is quite lengthy and detailed as the laws are also quite lengthy, detailed and, ultimately, confusing for both the user and enforcer.

However, he reaches several conclusions:

  • Fines cannot be issued if an exhaust is “optional equipment” because the term is not used in any of the relevant laws.
  • The complex situation of noise levels and other restrictions in the design rules prohibits modifying a vehicle’s silencing device only if it reduces the effectiveness of the device. “It is not an outright prohibition or blanket-ban on any kind of modification to a vehicle’s silencing device,” he says.
  • No court could accept that any police officer has “sufficient expertise in the fields of acoustical or sound engineering” to determine noise levels in accordance with National Stationary Exhaust Noise Test Procedures for In-Service Motor Vehicles. “A defect notice issued on the basis of a police officer’s subjective judgment will not sustain a conviction, in my view,” he says.

He also points out that there is nothing in the regulations about removing a catalytic converter from an exhaust system or replacing the exhaust system with one that doesn’t have a “cat”, nor do the Vehicle Standards contain any requirement for a motorbike to have a cat.

Motorcycle rights campaigner Wayne Carruthers agrees with Levente’s opinions and says they are relevant throughout the nation.

Wayne Carruthers Wayne Carruthers exhaust helmets

Wayne Carruthers on his BMW Dakar

He says police in several states are misinterpreting the general provisions of registration under the road/vehicle regulations.

“They are claiming any non-standard exhaust is illegal which would effectively put every Australian exhaust manufacturer out of business,” he says.

“For NSW motorcyclists it is a double hit with an $100-odd fine then (and this bit really gets me) if the motorcyclist is silly enough to pay the fine the EPA (who do/or did have control of noise pollution) are then contacted, the rider is then issued with a notice to have the machine tested with another fee.”

Aftermarket exhaust not illegal, Barrister

Candidate says speed cameras ineffective

15 May , 2016,
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Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party candidate, motorcycle crash widow and passionate rider Judith Kuerschner says speed cameras are ineffective.

“A speed camera is completely ineffective in stopping the fatality that may occur several minutes after a vehicle has sped past. It’s like smacking a dog on the nose for pooping on your lawn two weeks after the fact,” says Judith whose husband died in a motorcycle crash.

Judith, who rides a Can-Am Spyder F3 and is running for the Senate in South Australia, says AMEP advocates for the acknowledgement of motorcyclists, particularly in the area of vulnerability and in the promotion of motorcycles as economical and environmentally friendly transport.

She has good reason to be passionate about road safety. Read her tragic story by clicking the link below:
http://motorbikewriter.com/injustice-motorcycle-tragedy/

With her background in education and training, Judith is a strong supporter of improvements to both driver and rider education and training, with national consistency a priority in both road-user training and in road rules.

She says minimising government interference is a key value for the motoring enthusiast and motorcycling community, particularly the over-reliance by governments on speed cameras rather than visible policing to regulate road use and, allegedly, reduce road crashes and fatalities.

“A further push towards personal responsibility, where all road users take care to consider others while using our roads, would go much further in helping reduce crashes without the reliance on external punishments detected by unmanned technology to regulate behaviour”, she says.

“The application of AMEP values to a wide range of legislative proposals is what maintaining representative diversity in the Senate is all about; without this, motorcyclists, motoring enthusiasts, and a large part of the wider community will be ignored as legislation is bulldozed through the Parliament by the major parties.

“Six above or 12 below the line, minor parties are the way to go; this is how the AMEP is encouraging people to think when it comes time to vote. Motorcyclists are a growing minority group, and we need to have a voice to ensure we’re not ‘run off the road’ by the rhetoric of the major parties.”

http://motorbikewriter.com/candidate-says-speed-cameras-ineffective/

No Surprise? No Accident!

May , 2016,
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The aim of the ‘No Surprise: No Accident’ campaign is to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes by shifting the way we think about road safety.

Whilst there has been a steady downward trend in road casualties, motorcyclists remain over-represented in those figures and we continue to crash in the same ways and in the same places. This argues that we need new and original thinking to tackle old problems, a new paradigm for motorcycle safety.

The current system is based on outdated and unscientific ideas. In the ‘Old View’, it’s assumed that by applying the right skills and conforming to a strict set of rules, motorcyclists would not crash. Crashing must therefore be a result of lack of skill or the consequences of breaking the rules. ‘Lack’ of skills has been addressed by making it tougher to get a license or by encouraging post-test training. Punishment of those getting it wrong is used enforce this ideal, ‘normative’, behaviour, with fines, endorsements and even criminal convictions being used as a deterrent.

The problem with this hindsight-based blame culture is that the crash has already happened, and with post-test training only taken by a small minority, neither approach does anything to equip other motorcyclists to avoid the same crashes.

The ‘No Surprise: No Accident’ initiative proposes to change the current road safety thinking by adopting a ‘New View’ of safety based on lessons already learned in other safety-conscious industries, in particular by recognising the limitations of human beings in the way they think, act and react on the roads.

“All accidents are the result of prediction failure.
Surprise is Nature’s way of telling us we have experienced such a failure.
If there is no surprise there can be no accident”

Duncan MacKillop

The ‘No Surprise: No Accident’ initiative offers a concept that:

  • fits with scientific principles
  • incorporates key knowledge from the fields of human factors, neuroscience, psychology and perception
  • borrows from established safety practice, particularly from the aviation industry
  • offers a workable framework within which available data can be analysed, incorporated, disseminated, and the basic concept improved

We intend to create a community of like-minded people who will ‘spread the word’ and support this new way of thinking. This critical mass of voices will put a constant and increasing pressure on decision makers to rethink and change the current approach to road safety, and will win the support of other various road safety campaigns and educate them about the benefits of the ‘New View’ of road safety.

To achieve direct results with road users generally and motorcyclists in particular, we intend to roll out a series of campaigns targeting the biking population convincing them to the benefits of the thinking behind ‘No Surprise: No Accident’ .

To find out more, read about our background and aims.

To find out more about our tips for motorcycles, go here to see an example.

No Surprise? No Accident!

Traits To Make You A More Experienced Rider

May , 2016,
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“What’s the best bike for a beginner?” It’s perhaps the most frequently asked question in motorcycle showrooms and in online forums. It’s a necessary question, and one we’ve tried to answer here from time to time. But it got us thinking, what about experienced riders? What’s the best bike for those who have crossed the invisible threshold between newbie and veteran? And what does it mean to be an experienced rider, anyway?

An experienced rider can handle and have fun on just about any bike (except a Katana), so finding the one that suits him or her, is a whole ‘nother discussion. But the second question merits further investigation, and the answer comes in two parts: traits, and actions. Here are some tips on becoming a better motorcycle rider.

15_FZ07_Black_A9

Traits To Make You A More Experienced Rider 

Expert riders of any discipline become so because they embody a certain set of personality traits, at least while they’re on the bike. These traits frame their attitude and approach to the sport, and allow them to take in the lessons that every ride can provide.

  • Calm – Experienced riders don’t get excited about much. Sure, off the bike they may be the most outgoing, gregarious people you’ll ever meet, but once they throw a leg over a few hundred pounds of metal and rubber, they’re all business. Even some of the best stunt riders in the world are utterly serene while performing. They have to be, because if you allow yourself to get upset or overly worked up, you start making mistakes. And mistakes aren’t something you can allow, when you’re cranked over at triple digit speeds on the track or balancing a slow, high chair wheelie.
READ MORE: 5 Bikes for Experienced Riders 
  • Quick Thinking – An experienced rider is always ahead of the situation. His eyes are up, scanning the road and the approaching intersections, monitoring the behavior of other traffic and looking for apexes before a newer rider even knows they exist. A veteran rider knows how to take in and mentally sort through thousands of pieces of information at once, creating a constantly-updated situational awareness that keeps him out of trouble before it has a chance to happen. He’ll avoid getting sideswiped by that SUV, because he’s been watching him cheat out of his lane for the last half mile.
  • Instinctual – On the occasion that something unanticipated does occur, the experienced rider knows how to handle it. He has the feel of his machine, and sufficient command of the controls to execute evasive maneuvers or make sudden corrections without having to think. When that mahogany coffee table fell off the open truck bed ahead of him, he’ll have braked, swerved, downshifted and accelerated past the truck before the thought of imminent death could even go through his mind.
  • Patient – Mistakes happen most often when riders get in a hurry. They rush a corner, try to pass a car at an inappropriate time, or try to beat a red light. They blast through an unfamiliar stretch of road trying to keep up with a buddy. Sometimes, they’ll get away with it, but experienced riders know that it’s usually not worth the risk. They’ll lay back in traffic, open their following distances, and wait for opportunities to clear out of traffic. Having patience gives them time to make good decisions on the road, track or trail.
  • Humble – Experienced riders know that they are human, fallible, and mortal. They know the limits of their machine, and of their skill set, and work hard not to put themselves in situations where either may be exceeded. They know that the old proverb “pride goeth before a fall” translates, in the motorcycle world, to “pride goeth before the crumpling of your machine against a guardrail and a visit to the hospital for a broken collarbone and a ruptured spleen.”
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Actions 

Becoming an experienced rider doesn’t happen automatically, or by accident. It’s more than a simple accrual of years or miles. It’s a conscious and continual process, one that is carefully nurtured to maturity, and then maintained.

  • Variety – In the flying community, they say that there’s a difference between flying for a thousand hours, and flying one hour a thousand times. The lesson contained there is that if you only do the same thing over and over again, it’s unlikely you’ve learned much of anything. Plodding along on your bike for your daily commute is a fine thing, but it won’t make you an expert, if that’s all you do. Experienced riders seek out all sorts of different riding challenges, from twisty mountain roads, to long open stretches, to drag strips and road courses, to city traffic. They expose themselves to different bikes, riding styles and disciplines, to round out their skill set. Disciplines like riding on dirt can greatly improve bike control and let you know what it feels like to slide a tire.
READ MORE: World’s Best Beginner Bike? The Honda CBR300R
  • Practice – This goes back to being humble. Veteran riders know that skills can get rusty, so you’ll find them practicing, periodically. They’ll be out in a big parking lot doing max braking drills, slow, tight figure eights and the like. All the things they taught you in your MSF course (which you have taken, right?) need to be revisited from time to time. We’re not just talking about the beginner course either, MSF offers well over a dozen courses for varying skill levels. Better still, go to a local track day, and practice everything at once.
  • Study – Experienced riders study everything relevant to their sport. From their bikes, to their gear, to riding technique, you’ll find them devouring everything they can find. They’ll read tire spec sheets and reviews until their eyes bleed before deciding on a set. They’ve probably got a whole shelf in their office library devoted to books on riders, riding, and motorcycle technology. They know every single inch of their bike, and have put a wrench on more than half of it.
  • Currency – No, not dollars, but how recently they’ve been riding. This may seem obvious, but riders ride. One of the great travesties of the way motorcycle endorsements are handled in the United States is that once you’ve earned it, you keep it, regardless of whether you’ve thrown a leg over a bike in the current decade. Experienced riders can become newbies again when they step away from riding for years at a time. While their previous expertise may make their return to form shorter and easier, they’d do well to exercise caution when getting back into it.
  • Mileage – I left this until last on purpose, but there is no substitute for seat time. The human learning process requires repetition, and to ingrain all of those skills you need to be a proficient rider, you’ve got to spend a big amount of time doing the thing.
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Conclusion

Becoming an experienced rider is a different process for everybody. It might take you longer than it took your buddy, for some or all of the reasons listed above. Don’t get discouraged by that, and don’t get in a hurry and end up riding over your head. Ride as well as you know how to ride, work at getting better, and keep at it, and you may find yourself being the one offering sage advice at a bike night.

What aspects make for an experienced rider in your book? Tell us what we missed in the comments below!

http://www.rideapart.com/articles/tips-on-becoming-a-better-motorcycle-rider