Monthly Archives:June 2016

Rider crashes into unsecured load

30 Jun , 2016,
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This video of an American rider crashing into a load that had fallen off the back of a boat trailer being pulled by an SUV is a lesson in never following vehicles with dodgy looking loads.

Rider Brendan Jankowski, 20, doesn’t seem to be following very closely, but it is close enough for him not to be able to avoid the load of rolled-up foam that falls off. He hits it square on and flips over.

Luckily, he only received minor injuries. Police say they are still looking for the SUV which did not stop at the scene. Obviously the driver was oblivious to the incident.Unsecured load

It’s a good lesson to be aware of trucks and pickups carrying loads secured only by ropes and ties.

It’s not an isolated incident, either.

In Australia, the authorities receive tens of thousands of callouts a year to collect debris from our roads.

It includes household goods, building materials and green waste, causing road closures, disruptions, injuries and deaths.

Most vulnerable to these unsecured loads are motorcyclists.

I once rode on the Ipswich Motorway behind a ute carrying a load of pipes. Suddenly the rope holding them came undone and the load spilt across the roadway. I still don’t know how I managed to ride straight through the middle of it without hitting anything.

I have also witnessed all sorts of things flying off the backs of trucks and pick-ups, but the worst culprits seem to be tradies.

Perhaps they are in a rush to get home or to the next job, but too many don’t secure their loads properly.

Take a look at the side of our freeways. They are littered with tradies’ hard hats, rubber boots, gloves and tools.

Other motorists to avoid are weekend gardeners taking their load to the dump in a hired trailer. They are not professional transport operators, so they don’t know how to secure a load properly. Give them a wide berth.

It’s not as if the police and authorities don’t care about unsecured loads.Unsecured load police

Police frequently blitz for unsecured loads and the fines range from several hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the risk level of the spilt load.

However, a fine won’t help a rider recovering in hospital from hitting a loose load.

Instead, it’s our responsibility to stay away from any vehicle with a loose load.

And if you see a dangerous load, report it to the police.

Rider crashes into unsecured load

#ridesafely4me event a huge success

28 Jun , 2016,
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Photo courtesy of Amir Photography.

Photo courtesy of Amir Photography.

Around 60 motorcyclists gathered at Lakeside Park on Sunday June 26 for #ridesafely4me’s inaugural event Day by the Lake supporting #ridesafely4me. The weather was kind and the day was hailed a huge success.

Riders travelled from as far away as Coffs Harbour for the event organised through Aussie Riders Social motorcycle group in conjunction with Champions Ride Days. Senior Constables Luke Herburg and Marcus Elliott from the Indoroopilly Road Policing Unit were there to proudly display both a marked and unmarked police bikes and were never short of someone to chat with.

The day began with a number of workshops including information sessions from Champions and Samford Queensland Ambulance Service Officer in Charge Carl Houlihan (who managed to get the whole group singing “Staying Alive” along with him as he demonstrated CPR) and gave us some valuable advice about what to do if you find a rider down. Luke and Marcus took part in a Q&A session that covered a number of questions around motorcycling. The session was so popular that unfortunately it had to be cut off due to time constraints.


While I shared some the reasons #ridesafely4me came to be, there’s no doubt the whole group was moved when Mrs Sarah Bailey shared her story of the loss of her husband Dave in a motorcycle crash on Mt Nebo six months to the day prior. Sarah will have their baby in only a couple of weeks and we all wish her well. While very emotional, it was a poignant reminder of the importance of making safe choices when riding, and how much it matters that we all make sure we get home safely to the ones we love – no matter how we travel.

After lunch, most of the attendees took to the track to test themselves and their bikes in (close to) race conditions. The day finished with some prize presentations and group photos.

Thanks to everyone who came along and made the day such a huge success. We are definitely looking forward to more #ridesafely4me events in the future.


Dues and Don’ts of Motorcycling

27 Jun , 2016,
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Noobies are the future!

A noob’s indoctrination can come at almost any age, but the young ones are easier to train in your image.

I’m as guilty as you are, and who could blame us? They’re so cringingly uncool.

The chubby dude paddling around his cul-de-sac on a blubbering Vulcan? Yep, he flies Harley-Davidson Motor Company orange on his faded Dodge Caravan. That punk on his minty-for-now Yamaha R6, protected by Oakleys and butch wax? Yeah, he brought a switchblade comb to a gunfight.

There’s the polite girl on her Ninjette. Fresh out of her first rider course, she gets outsprinted by bagged Civics. Fearing that redline equals deadline and her world will explode if the needle touches “there,” her palms are sweaty, her chain is dry, and it’s hard not to wheelie past her like a stallion in the spring. You know—just to show her how it’s done.

Noob categories are numberless in their unfolding complexity: The IPO code monkey wearing a narrow strip down the center of his Corse tires. The dentist buying a CVO Glide for his endorsement test. The bareheaded kid flying a dirt bike’s front wheel through Baltimore.

They ain’t paid their dues. You can spot a noob by his blank look when you start talking tire compounds or recalling that one time (in band camp) when you patched a cracked fuel tank with nothing but Shoe Goo and a lightly seasoned slice of carne asada. Noobs haunt their dealer lounge, dissecting online reviews of titanium exhaust systems whilst awaiting OEM tire air. They brake-check semis, stain their shorts on gravel, and crash perfectly good bikes for no bloody reason at all.

You gotta earn your pass, right? My role models and ride partners have all the proper stickers on their toolboxes. They patch their riding gear with tiny arrow stitches, bore their own cylinders (and their guests), and limp with distinction. They know the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, how to order beer in Machu Picchu, and what to call that thing that goes skwap in a KLR650. They flew Sopwith Camels with Peter Egan’s uncle.

Then, just when we think we’ve got this motorcycle thing down, here come the greenhorns, tenderfoots, and tyros, bumbling around in the wrong gear at the wrong speed in the wrong lane of our hallowed culture of cool. Anyone buying retail maintenance by the hour fails the test of greasy manhood. And can’t they quit all that crashing? Their activist mommies will put us all afoot.

Just one little problem: This sport slurps young blood by the quart. You, over there! Still riding your RF900R in scuffed BSA leathers (while chiding bike rags for wittering on about the New Hotness)? You aren’t buying enough bikes, bolting on enough triple-chromed farkles, or wearing out enough gear to keep this industry afloat.

We need beginners hiring our MSF and Team Oregon buddies to teach them how to ride. We need fresh victims daring their luck on racetracks, sprucing up ORV trails, and lobbying legislatures for lane-splitting and motorcycle parking—and buying more bikes so that bikes keep getting built. We need energy, excitement, and pop-eyed optimism. We need new ideas to laugh at.

We can either invite the public to join our funky fraternity or pay snobbery’s price in engineering doldrums, law-enforcement bigotry, and driver hostility. We can stare down noobies over our folded arms or welcome them with solid advice, passed-down gear, and a helping wrench.

You see ’em rollin’ and you shake your head, but it won’t be noobs that kill this sport. Could be condescension and conceit though. The future is noob! Except for those peg-panted, pipe-wrappin’ punters on Firestone tractor tires. Screw those guys.

Riding Tips: How Much Traction Does Your Motorcycle Have?

Jun , 2016,
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Simply put, traction is the friction between your tires and the road surface. Several factors determine how much traction is available, including surface condition, the tires’ ability to grip the road, and the amount of “load” or pressure pressing the tires onto the surface. Managing that small patch of friction, and knowing what factors help and hinder traction, will allow you to develop “traction intelligence” that helps you predict whether there is enough grip for whatever maneuver you want to attempt.

Tires are the critical connection between your bike and the road, and so keeping in mind that tire construction, compound, condition, and operating temperature directly affect traction potential gives you an immediate leg up. To attain the greatest traction potential a tire must reach its ideal operating temperature range. Street tires are designed to provide good grip over a wide range of temperatures and to get up to temperature quickly. Race tires have a very narrow usable range and higher operating temperature requirements that take longer to reach, making race rubber a lousy choice for most street situations.

Correct inflation pressure controls tire flex to attain and maintain the optimal heat range for the greatest durability and performance over a wide range of conditions. This is important because traction quality and quantity is also constantly changing with variations in the road surface. Roads with a coarse texture offer more dimples and voids for the rubber to squeeze into, whereas very smooth surfaces, such as a steel construction plate, have very little roughness for tires to grip. Moisture and debris affects surfaces differently too. Wet pavement, for example, has reduced traction, but there is usually enough grip provided you brake, turn, and accelerate smoothly. Gravel or sand typically requires much more care.

To stay on two wheels you must become very good at identifying surfaces that may not provide sufficient grip. For example, look for variations in surface color or texture. A slick glossy surface reflects light differently than a grippy textured surface. Some hazards are easy to spot, but a light sprinkle of sand or some fluid spills can be almost impossible to see until it’s too late. One trick to prevent getting caught out by hidden hazards is to predict that a hazard is likely to exist, like gravel near a construction site. If you must ride over a surface hazard, be sure to keep the bike as upright as possible and avoid braking, turning, or accelerating.

Traction also varies by the amount of weight pressing each tire onto the surface. Basically, the more force there is pressing a tire onto the road the more traction you have on that tire. Tire load changes with every action you take; handlebar inputs from swerving and cornering cause lateral shifts in load, while accelerating causes weight to shift onto the rear tire, and braking causes load to pitch forward.

The thing to remember is that one tire loaded means the other tire is unloaded. A front tire skimming the pavement on extreme acceleration has no grip for turning or braking. Likewise, the rear tire will skid easily as the load pitches forward under hard deceleration. Being traction smart is the first step in developing a traction sense where your nerves and brain work together to recognize whether traction is sufficient or you’re near the edge. The sense of traction is transmitted through the handlebars, seat or footpegs, with good grip feeling stable and poor grip feeling vague.

Even if your senses indicate that traction is adequate, practicing smooth application of the brake, throttle, and steering inputs will help to avoid abrupt load spikes that squander available grip, as well as better prepare you to feel when traction is high and when it’s low.

It’s A Fine Line Motorcycle Safety – Target Zero

22 Jun , 2016,
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This is just one thing that is happening in the USA motorcycle scene. We are an inclusive community of motorcycle riders advocating one common mission..Our goal – of zero deaths and serious injuries in 2030 – is about the “one”…the individual. It’s about the Washington State Trooper struck by a truck. It’s about the child who went through the front window of a car because she wasn’t buckled in. It’s about the recent high school graduate who left the road and hit a tree. It’s about our colleagues, friends and family. How many of them are we okay with being killed or seriously injured in a crash? The answer is obvious: zero. So our goal, for every citizen the state of Washington, is zero. Learn more at

There are a heap of informative videos on this site. We hope you enjoy and learn something from this information.

It’s a fine line Facebook page

‘The Perfect Ride’ to combat motorcycle trauma , Your Invited….

20 Jun , 2016,
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On a crisp Queensland winters’ morning, nothing beats the feeling of riding up Mount Glorious for brekkie, enjoying the twists and turns on the range from Aratula to Glengallen or the trip from Mossman to Mount Malloyon.

Motorcycling is a great way to enjoy all Queensland has to offer and with winter now here, we expect the number of riders on the road to greatly increase.

Whether you’re a weekend rider, a commuter, or just sharing the road with motorcycles, there are a number of simple things we can all do to keep safe on the roads.

The Perfect Ride campaign

This week, we’ve launched ‘The Perfect Ride’ campaign which encourages motorcyclists to manage their personal risk when faced with unexpected hazards on the road and to employ safe driving skills.

The campaign is one of several new initiatives aimed to help combat the recent increase in motorcycle road trauma.

The campaign is a priority outcome from last month’s Safer Roads, Safer Queensland forum and targets weekend recreational riders, the majority of motorcyclists killed on Queensland roads so far this year.

Do you want to win a $150 voucher to use on motorcycle safety gear?

Now that we’ve got you thinking, we’d love to hear your safety tip for riding safely and managing risks. Simply share your best safety tip on our Join the Drive Facebook page before Friday, 10 July, for your chance to win a $150 voucher to use on motorcycle protective gear.

For more information about motorcycle safety and to review the new campaign, visit

Lane filtering and the interpretation of “safe to do so”

16 Jun , 2016,
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The Queensland motorcycle lane filtering road rules contain only a minimal amount of positive description of when lane filtering is not permitted but include a general offense of filtering when it is “not safe to do so”.


What does this term mean?


After holding concerns right from the initial release of the rules and now starting to receive contact from riders about the definition, the MRAQ has been in contact with the Queensland Department of Main Roads and Transport (QTMR) to attempt to define the meaning of this term.


Firstly it must be realised that the term is very generic because to attempt to define all situations that could be classed as unsafe would end up with legislation that required a truck to move and hence a more abridged wording is used. Unfortunately this has its problems because any abridged or shortened description will always be open to enormous amounts of personal interpretation.


The general rule for interpretation of any abridged wording is that it should be read as what any reasonable person understands is meant by the term or wording. This is how a judge would consider it if the question of clarification was asked.


The answer that was offered from the QTMR when we sort definition was exactly that, “what a reasonable person understands as safe”.


There is of cause some easily identifiable situation that are not safe which in particular would include if there was a chance of injury to either the rider or another person or property, however the devil in the wording comes from personal interpretation which is always what any law enforcement officer is working on.


The MRAQ has recently been contacted about infringement notices issued in areas of road works that appear to have been issued solely on the basis that it was a road work zone. There is no inclusion in the road rules to automatically include road work zones as a place where it is unsafe to filter and every different place or situation should be considered on its own merit.


The situation that has been presented was in a zone that had a two lane section that although it has an added side a barrier still maintains the minimum required lane width and a maximum speed of 80klm/hr and no other extraordinary obstructions. This zone could not, by any reasonable interpretation, be classed as unsafe to filter in however it appears that infringements are being issued on the simplistic basis that it is a road work zone. The rider claims that he was filtering between the two lines of semi stationary traffic and at a speed below 30klm/hr but was issued with an infringement for unsafe filtering with no other explanation than it was a road work zone.


After our consultation with the QTMR the MRAQ cannot find reason for the issuance of an infringement in this situation.


Courses of action for the individual


If a person is issued with an infringement that they believe to be unjustified they have the right to seek to have it overturned.


This would typically been done in the first instance by contacting the Officer in Charge of the police station at which the issuing office works and explain the situation that caused the notice to be issued and ask that it be rescinded. This contact should be in writing, be sent well before any fine is due to be paid and explain why you believe the notice is incorrect. The Officer in Charge is duty bound to respond.


If the response from contact with the Officer in Charge is not acceptable you are entitled to have the matter heard before a court but this decision along with the return of the infringement notice so requesting must be done in a timely manner before any fine is due. You would then have the matter tested for legitimacy before a magistrate at which time it is incumbent on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that an offence was committed. It is not incumbent on the defendant to prove innocence although it is always good to have an arguement to counter the prosecutions.


Kind Regards

MRAQ President & Media Officer

Chris Mearns

Survey from Stop SMIDSY

Jun , 2016,
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Have your voice heard! Complete our survey on the issues facing riders, and we will use the results to lobby for change on behalf of you and the rider community. Survey is open till next Friday.

Sunshine Coast International TT public meeting

15 Jun , 2016,
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By Paul Dawson and Trevor Hedge

While there have been numerous proposals for a TT style race in Australia, in both Tasmania and on NSW’s Oxley Highway, the latter of which did for some time appear to be gaining plenty of traction. The latest proposal comes out of Queensland and is dubbed the ‘Sunshine Coast International TT’.

As is the norm for such proposals, generally there is the initial bluster and media campaigns, which are generally backed up with scant detail.

However, as part of the event application process, two public consultation meetings were held in Maleny on Tuesday and were attended by over 600 locals who will be directly affected by the event, and some interested outsiders.

The mountain roads in the sunshine coast hinterland attract great numbers of recreational motorcycle riders to the town of Maleny each weekend, on a sunny day the cafes are full and bikes occupy the parking spots along the main street.

The meeting outlined the plans for the SSCTT event and gave the local community their chance to have their say on the proposed event, this event is very much still in the early stages of planning; public consultation takes place while event planning is still in it’s infancy.

The event is proposed to be run over 4 days at the beginning of December in 2017, the 47km public roads course includes the pick of the twisty roads in the Blackall ranges surrounding Maleny, including the Maleny-Stanley River Rd and comically named but exhilarating Bald Knob Rd.

Sunshine Coast International TT proposed course

Sunshine Coast International TT proposed course

The proposal is for four classes of competition, limited to 20 riders in each class. Race classes have not been finalised but are expected to be Superbike, BEARS F1, Sidecar and possibly Supersport.

Event promoter David Rollins stated that the entries will only be open to the “top world-class road racers”, implying that a pre-selection process would take place before entries would be accepted. The time trial format similar to the IOMTT means that riders will take off at 20-second intervals and complete 3 or 4 laps.

In a contrast to the IOMTT format, spectators would be limited to six designated viewing areas around the course, although with much of the course bordered by private land, how this will be policed was a matter for concern amongst some of the residents.

David Rollins states that spectators for the event will be capped at 16,500 for the first year, so as not to overwhelm the town of Maleny; entry will be by ticket sales only and he expects that the event will bring over $8.5 Million to the local economy.

Maleny is a small town, known for its tranquillity and peacefulness, it’s analogous with Byron Bay or Nimbin before spiritual commercialism, the thought of 16,500 motorcycle racing fans was not well received by a small but vocal portion of the crowd, many of whom have a negative attitude towards motorcycle riders based on the perceived behaviour of recreational riders.

Sunshine Coast International TT public meeting

Sunshine Coast International TT public meeting

Sunshine Coast District Police Inspector Jason Overland was on hand to answer questions of safety and gave an interesting insight into how the Queensland police service view motorsport activities especially when taken into context with the hard-line stance taken by the QPS on Hoons and dangerous driving. When asked does this event promote dangerous driving, do the police support it? He stated that there was no link between dangerous driving and Motorsport. When asked if we have a problem with Motorcyclists speeding? He quoted local traffic crash data that shows in the last year there have been 57 injuries on the local roads, 35 of those were cars, 22 were bikes with no motorcycle fatalities.

After the presentation there were plenty of questions from the assembled crowd, many were concerned how this event would affect access to their property, some wanted to find a way to shut it down before it got any further, but when one of the crowd directly addressed the room for a show of support, the outcome was 70 per cent in favour; as always, it seems the vocal minority may need some convincing.

Sunshine Coast TT International TT
  • Pro-riders only
  • 4 classes including sidecars
  • 20 riders per class
  • 20 second time delay between riders
  • 3-4 laps @ 47km
  • 4 days early December 2017
  • School holidays
  • 6 spectator zones
  • 2500 local spectators
  • 7770 state wide
  • 5000 interstate
  • 100 international
  • Capped at 16500 visitors
  • O/night stay visitors 9000
  • Spend o/night $167/night per person (Qld tourism figures) $5,300,000
  • $8,612,000 total revenue

Sunshine Coast International TT proposed course

Sunshine Coast International TT proposed course



Changes announced to Queensland Motorcycle Licensing

Jun , 2016,
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The Queensland Government has announced sweeping changes to the state’s motorcycle licensing laws.

The reforms will be rolled out from October 2016 and include:

an off-road practical pre-learner training and assessment course (increasing the required number of courses to obtain an R licence from two to three),
a minimum learner licence period of three months for all learner riders,
the extension of the minimum RE (restricted) licence period to two years,
removing the restriction prohibiting R licence holders from carrying a passenger for the first year; and
a stronger emphasis on riding behaviour and higher order skills in Q-Ride courses, and greater standardisation in the course curriculum.

Anyone holding an RE class provisional, probationary or open licence before October 2016 will fall under the current rules and will only be required to hold their RE class licence for 1 year before being able to progress to an R class licence.

In announcing the changes, Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said “Motorcycle riders and passengers continue to be over-represented in the road toll.”

“The figures are unacceptable and highlight the need for us to review and reform the motorcycle licensing system in Queensland.”

The Government examined crash data, reviewed road safety research and looked at practices in other States and jurisdictions before coming to its decision on the changes.

The review also involved a public consultation process last year and took into consideration feedback from the community and industry.

The topics of road safety and rider training are always controversial, and the problems around these areas are complex.

The changes to the licensing process have already come under heavy criticism from some riders and members of the media.

Among the criticisms, they correctly point out that a large percentage of fatalities and serious injuries do not involve novice riders, but those riders returning to motorcycling after a long break, and feel that new riders should not be subjected to tougher laws.

The changes will, however, help to equip our next generation of riders with better skills and experience for the future – long term solution!

We must realise that while the changes to the licensing legislation do not address the needs of returning riders, they can’t.

These riders already hold a licence and fall outside the licensing process, and need a different approach to improving their skills.

Road safety advisors and governments base their decisions on evidence-based research, and in this instance, the evidence is compelling.

There is plenty of evidence available in the Australian Road Deaths Database, in studies such as the MAIDS Report and other quality research papers that suggests that riders need better on road skills.