Monthly Archives:August 2016


30 Aug , 2016,
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Gold Coast motorcyclists were in the sights of police today – but it wasn’t for doing the wrong thing. More than 100 riders were pulled over in Nerang this morning, as authorities try to drive down the number of weekend road deaths.

Video on Link


Powerful new campaign highlights Queensland’s real road toll

21 Aug , 2016,
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A new road safety campaign which aims to give a human face to the reality of Queensland’s road toll to highlight the real effect it has on everyday lives, has been launched today in Brisbane.

Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey and Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart along with families of those who have lost loved ones from road trauma, launched the My Road Toll campaign at Parliament House ahead of Queensland Road Safety Week (22-28 August).

“The My Road Toll campaign is a powerful reminder of the personal trauma experienced by family and friends who lose loved ones in a crash, because as the campaign says, one death is one too many,” Mr Bailey said.

“This campaign is all about personal loss and demonstrates the road toll isn’t just a number. The reality is road crashes devastate the lives of real people every day.

“Today I’m launching the My Road Toll campaign in conjunction with Queensland Road Safety Week. This is an opportunity for all Queenslanders to identify with and understand the reality of losing a loved one in a crash.

“These are deeply personal stories and I want to thank all the participants for being involved in an effort to make our roads safer.”

Mr Bailey was joined by some of the people who took part in the My Road Toll videos.

Gladstone’s Aunty Neola lost her son James “Jumbo” in a car crash.

“It’s affected the whole community, he was friends with everybody,” Aunty Neola said.

“When I hear the road toll, I think about the lives that have been lost and the families who suffer like I did.

“Knowing what I now know, and what pain I’ve gone through with my son, I just hope people, when they’re driving on the road, realise that anything can happen.”

Sharon Roneberg from Cairns lost her daughter Tanya in a road-related incident in 2013.

“You never recover from losing a loved one, that’s for sure,” Mrs Roneberg said.

“Our family was devastated because someone did the wrong thing on the road.

“This week, I would encourage everyone to watch a My Road Toll video, do the right thing behind the wheel and speak up for road safety.”

Mr Bailey thanked the eight families who participated in the My Road Toll videos.

“Every person who sat in front of the camera to tell their story has been personally affected by the loss of a loved one as the result of road trauma,” Mr Bailey said.

“Thank you for bravely telling your story and sending a clear message about road safety.

“This is a powerful campaign and I would encourage all Queenslanders to go online and see what they have to say in honour of the people they lost.”

The My Road Toll campaign will be shown online from today. To view the videos visit

How To Develop Front End Feel

Aug , 2016,
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 This article is aimed at advanced motorcycle riding in a controlled environment.

 “I don’t have a good feeling with the front.“

How often do we hear the MotoGP aliens say this ?

But just what do they mean, how do we feel the front?

Over decades of coaching the biggest anxiety I still see from riders is with the front end.

Fear Of The Front Brake

Fear of front tyre slides.

Nothing typifies this more than trail braking, that is, using the front brake to reduce speed while the bike is leant over in a corner. Even with ABS its still important to understand how to brake efficiently and trail braking is a must have for both track and the road riders.

Why the road riders I hear you say, you should have your braking finished before entering the corner on the road?

Well this is true. But things don’t always go to plan on the road or there would be no accidents, right?

The key to riding a motorcycle well is to understand the available grip.

This has obvious benefits on the track for lap time, reducing risk and increasing fun but also on the street where a rider who has high skill is less likely to succumb to a survival reaction, a major cause of motorcycle accidents.

Trail Graphic

Understanding Trail

To ride well, some knowledge of motorcycle dynamics is useful.

At motoDNA we are fortunate that 2 of our riding coaches are not only former International Road Racers but also former MotoGP Engineers.

This unique knowledge gained from racing plus race engineering at the highest level, is included in the motoDNA program, helping our student’s master riding techniques sooner compared to traditional training techniques.

Nothing to do with trail braking, trail instead refers to motorcycle steering geometry and is primarily designed to assist motorcycle stability.

To understand how trail works its useful to first think about a shopping trolley wheel.

It’s always wiggling about – from left to right.

As you push the trolley forward, bumps and surface irregularities knock the wheel side ways, but the wheel always self aligns to try and go in the direction of travel.

Your motorcycle is basically the same concept, but with a rake angle.

The wheel is always self-centering as a torque is generated at the tyre contact patch keeping the wheel straight.

The force you feel when pushing on the inside handle bar to counter steer is largely due to trail, with the road pushing the tyre back to keep the wheels in line.

Cruisers generally have a large trail which offers more stability but at the cost of heavy and slow turning.

The Triumph Rocket’s trail is over 150mm.

Shorter trail found on sports bikes will provide quicker steering but at the cost of stability.

The Yamaha R1 is 100mm.


Trial is also directly linked to roll rate or how quickly the bike goes to lean.

You may notice when the road is wet or slippery the steering feels lighter.

This is due to the tyre slip at the contact patch on the low friction wet surface.

This is steering feedback, indicating how much grip is available and is the same feeling but at a higher level when its dry.

The bike is talking to the rider, telling us how much grip is available.

More on this later…


Trail Braking

On the track, a racer will approach a turn and at their braking marker apply full braking force normally with the bike virtually upright.

As they turn in, they reduce brake pressure, easing off the brakes or trailing the brake as the bike lean angle increases until they get to the apex when they release the brake completely and apply the throttle.

The racers goal is to go from top speed on the straightaway to corner apex speed in the shortest possible time.

Only the front brake is used for trail braking as the rear brake contributes little braking power, has less feel and is normally reserved for mid corner fine adjustments or to stabilize the bike.

Sounds easy enough in theory, but proper execution is complicated because it comes down to feel.

Fast Riders Have Slow Hands

As Freddie Spencer said, “fast riders have slow hands”.

Wise words and worth remembering.


To comprehend the dynamics of trail braking, ignoring any aerodynamic effects, some understanding of tyres and grip is beneficial, with the amount of grip from the tyres depending on various factors.

The main contributor to grip is the weight or load on each tyre. The ratio of maximum grip and vertical load is called the co-efficient of friction, and this normally decreases relative to the vertical load.

As the brake is applied, torque is transferred through the wheel to the contact patch, which creates a horizontal force at the track surface. The road pushes back on the tyre and equally the tyre pushes forward on the track surface.

Thank Newton For Mechanical Grip

You can thank Newton for this mechanical grip, as for each force there is an equal and opposing force.

Also to consider, is the significant grip increase experienced as the front tyre contact patch pressure multiplies due to the load transfer when braking. This grip effect decreasing as the lean angle increases and the load transfers off the front to the rear.

As the brakes are applied and the weight shifts forward, the forks are also compressed. This compression of the forks alters the motorcycles steering geometry, reducing the rake and trail. This decreases stability but increases maneuverability in a fashion that makes the motorcycle lean and change direction at a higher roll rate.

The tyres temperature also increases from this weight transfer and subsequent tyre loading, with tyre temperature windows critical for optimum grip.

Track surface characteristics and other elements between the track and the tyre such as water or oil also play an important part in available grip.


Feel The Force

Now that we understand trail and trail braking the next step is to understand how to develop feel.

Front grip feel is about developing fine motor skills and dexterity with our hands.

By coordination of small muscle movements involving the synchronization of hands and fingers with the eyes, to give a light touch on the handlebars, enables the rider to react to what the bike is doing in real time.

So if we have a light touch on the bars, how do we hold on?

Body position is critical, supporting your upper body weight through you core, thus reducing pressure on your hands.

Too much weight on your hands and you will loose feel.

The rider must be mindful of not only how weight transfers around the bike when braking, cornering and accelerating, but also how our own body weight and pressure move from our hands to our bum and feet.


Also, make sure your arms are bent.

As you go to lean drop your inside elbow aiming for 90 degree to the steering stem axis.

Another important element for developing and building feel is consistency.

If you are not consistent it’s difficult to accurately evaluate what’s going on.

This is best achieved by practicing step-by-step drills in a controlled environment under expert instruction.

This takes practice and a good coach who understands the skill level of the rider and by how much to raise the challenge for each step.

At motoDNA we increase the riders challenge in 5% increments followed by practice until the skill becomes intuitive, before repeating to go to the next level.

Too much challenge and you will see mistakes and inconsistency creep in, delaying progress and reducing rider safety.

Doing over saying always wins, so get yourself on track and feel the force.

Learn more about motoDNA here

International race organiser: We’re looking elsewhere now

16 Aug , 2016,
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IT’S OFFICIAL, the controversial proposal for an Isle of Man-style, 47km TT motorcycle race through the Sunshine Coast hinterland is off the table.

Sunshine Coast Council CEO Michael Whittaker said the organisers of the proposed Sunshine Coast International TT race withdrew their event sponsorship application to the council, the proponents unable to provide the necessary information required.

Inside Line Events head David Rollins said they’d withdrawn the application, unable to meet the deadline for the safety audit and track inspection as his team had not wanted to submit an incomplete application.

“We couldn’t meet the event boards deadlines on a number of issues,” he said.

“I think we just have to look elsewhere at the moment.”

He said a list of items to address handed down in late-June had safety issues at the top of the list but he was unable to organise the audits in time to meet the Sunshine Coast Events Board’s timelines so the decision was made to withdraw,

When asked whether he would look to re-submit a completed application in future, Mr Rollins said they were “not going to look at the Sunshine Coast”.

“There’s a good road in New South Wales and one in Victoria and an option in Tasmania,” he said.

Crowdfunding attempts for the Sunshine Coast International TT only raised $345 of a $75,000 target in a month on

Peaceful Roads Sunshine Coast spokesman Doctor Barry Traill said he was relieved at the news of the withdrawal but said it was clear the council’s processes had to improve.

Those comments differed from the views of members of the public Hinterland TT Supporters group disappointed at the latest development.

“Not the news we wanted of course, but I can’t say I’m surprised as the proposed race date was only a little over sixteen months away. Hopefully a revised proposed will be made,” wrote Nigel Sisson.

Sunshine Coast Events Board chairman Ralph Devlin said last month a deadline had been set of mid-August for information to be delivered including vital safety audit information, with the proponent, Inside Line Events’ David Rollins previously stating a desire to have the event up and running by as soon as late next year.

“In his correspondence, the proponent has acknowledged he was unable to provide the information required of him within the time requested,” Mr Whittaker said.

The failure to provide information means the proposal was no longer being considered by the Sunshine Coast Events Board.

“We are always interested in attracting top-line events to our region as evidenced by this year’s outstanding World is Coming schedule, but events do need to meet certain criteria and supply information as requested by the Events Board,” Mr Whittaker said.

“Council will continue to work with event organisers to bring exciting events to the region for the enjoyment of our community, competitors and their supporters.”

The proposal was littered with controversy, as Peaceful Roads Sunshine Coast, a group formed in reaction to the proposal, made it clear residents were not impressed with the prospect of having access to their properties removed for a number of days prior to the Christmas period.

Roads were also spray-painted with messages declaring the race would go ahead, and although it was unclear who had vandalised the roads in Maleny, Division Five councillor Jenny McKay made it clear she no longer supported the proposal, unhappy with the fractures within the community the proposal had caused.

Protect your motorcycle headlight

Aug , 2016,
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All new bikes should come with headlight protectors as modern Xenon and LED headlights can be very expensive to replace, some more than $2000!

It only takes one errant rock to drain your hip pocket.

And don’t be fooled into thinking it is only adventure bikes that are susceptible to copping a rock in the lamp. In fact, the two times I’ve broken a headlight have been on tar roads on a road bike.

Smashed headlight

Smashed headlight

Most motorcycle companies don’t fit them as standard because they know they can charge a small fortune for their factory protectors, even though they are just a simple piece of clear and hard plastic.

That’s why there are many aftermarket companies supplying cheaper options that are by no means less protective. One is Australian Motorcycle Headlight Protectors, now situated in East Gosford on the Central Coast of NSW.

They are quality headlight protectors made from 3mm high-grade acrylic and they attach via a velcro fitting. An example of cost is $53, plus postage, for my 2010 Triumph Bonneville T100.

Triumph Bonneville T100 headlight protector

Triumph Bonneville T100 headlight protector

I ordered a seven-inch protector for my six-inch light to cover just outside the glass to ensure a stone doesn’t chip the edge which could lead to an eventual crack right across the light.

They have headlight protectors and fittings for almost every manufacturer: Aprilia, Arqin, Benelli, Bimota, BMW, Buell, Cagiva, Ducati, Gilera, Harley Davidson, Honda, Husaberg, Husqvarna, Hyosung, Kawasaki, KTM, Laverda, Moto Guzzi, Moto Morini, MV Augusta, Porsche, Sachs, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha.

Australian Motorcycle Headlight Potectors for Yamaha MT09

Protector for Yamaha MT09

They keep adding protectors for the new models, too. They also have universal headlight protectors to fit older and less common models.

AMHP now stocks tinted headlight protectors in amber, red, green, dark smoky tint, smoky tint, dark blue and blue. You can pick the colour from their website, although there are some new colours – yellow transparent, black matte or shiny, and white matte or shiny.

AMHP points out that these are not for road use and may not be permitted in your jurisdiction, so check first before fitting.

Speaking of which, fitting is a simple and quick process using clear velcro dots so you can easily remove the cover for cleaning.

If you have any technical difficulties with ordering online, you contact them by email.

Motorbike Writer


No Surprise – No Accident

14 Aug , 2016,
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United Kingdom – “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”

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.

No Surprise? No Accident! argues that we need new and original thinking to tackle old problems, a new paradigm for motorcycle safety.

Take the time to read through the article below. At times it may seem a bit heavy going but to understand a ‘new’ way of thinking needs a bit of thinking to understand it!

Perfectly Normal And Controlled Ride

For a long time, it’s been assumed that if we teach people to achieve a suitable level of skill and then ensure they conform to a set of rules, they won’t crash.

From that perspective, it’s easy to assume that those people who do crash must have either have inadequate skills, have broken the rules or both.

Typical descriptions of crashes use phrases like ‘lost control’ or ‘too fast for the conditions’.

But a moment’s logical thinking shows there’s a problem with this description of the event. Quite clearly, the rider was ‘in control’ and ‘wasn’t too fast for the conditions’ a mile back up the road or they would have crashed there instead. Indeed, throughout their entire journey they were in control and not too fast for the conditions, right up to the precise point they crashed.

So what changed at the point of the crash? What turned a perfectly normal and controlled ride at a pace that was entirely suitable for the conditions into a nightmare of twisted metal and pain?

To answer this question, let’s look at what we do know already.

What Do We Know Already?

no-surprise-fbWe know WHERE motorcyclists crash because the majority of crashes involving motorcycles happen in the same places over and over. Just think about the two most common crashes; the collision with a turning car and the rider who crashes on a bend.

We know WHY people crash – an inappropriate response at the important moment, whether that’s changing speed or changing direction in the wrong way, or failing to make an input when one was needed.

And we also know WHO crashes. In many cases, it’s riders who were actually trained to make the right inputs for an emergency. Emergency stops have been part of rider training for decades and for the last few years riders have been trained and tested on their ability to swerve too.

And we also know that in many cases those crashes were avoidable. So why don’t riders employ their crash avoidance skills when they need them? For years, that’s been the question that’s not been addressed although US motorcycle racer and coach Keith Code provided a big chunk of the answer two decades ago when he talked about what he called ‘Survival Reactions’ in his book ‘Twist of the Wrist 2’, which he explained how riders react to emergencies with inappropriate responses including target fixation, freezing on the steering, and locking a wheel by grabbing a big handful of brake.

Surprise Derails Our Brains

The trigger for these inappropriate reactions must happen in the last few and crucial seconds as the rider perceives the developing situation ; in fact, at the point where choosing the right input would prevent a crash.

The logical step forward that ‘No Surprise’ has made is to identify that trigger.

An important point here is to understand how perform complex tasks and how we process the information that comes in to our brain in real-time.

Wherever possible, tasks are handled by pre-learned and automated routines that allow us to perform complex tasks like driving below the level of our consciousness. This goes way beyond the very fast mechanical responses we sometimes call ‘muscle memory’ but also allow for choices between different strategies in response to the situations in which we find ourselves. These are the intuitive decisions where we just ‘know’ what to do.

One part of our brain filters incoming data from our various senses. It compares that incoming data stream with data streams that we have experienced before and stored in memory. Should the incoming data appear to match scenarios that have already been successfully negotiated, then our brain automates the task by running the program that is the best fit for what it sees, a program that it’s learned by experience has worked in similar situations in the past.

Remember learning to catch? In the very earliest stages of learning this very complex perceptual/motor task we had to work out just how to judge the flight of the ball and then time our own movement to intercept it. Initially we weren’t very good at it at all, but as we gained more experience of how the ball travels through time and space we were able to catch the ball much more easily as our brain developed an program which controlled our muscles without conscious input. And catching practice allows us to experience catching the ball at the end of a variety of different trajectories, which steadily reduces the chance of the ball’s flight being something novel.

So if someone shouts “catch”, we look round to and prepare to track the ball in the air, and then move in a way to make a controlled catch.

That’s a learned response, and it’s thanks to these learnt responses we can perform these tasks without conscious thinking. The way we learn to catch a ball is exactly the same as the way we learn to process tasks as we ride the bike. Learning through repetition and practice reduces the potential novelty of a situation and as a result reduces the potential for something surprising to happen.

But should  our brain detect anything novel in the incoming data, then it hands the problem up to our real-time, thinking brain, where we consciously start thinking about the novelty, deciding whether or not that novelty represents a threat and deciding how we’re going to deal with it if it does.

A key factor which prevents a correct response turns out to if our EXPECTATION of how the situation will develop turns out to be at odds with how it ACTUALLY develops. A rider is at serious risk of an accident when they continue to do what they normally do in a particular situation unaware that the precise circumstances in which they are about to find themselves are very far from the ‘usual’ state of affairs. The problem is that right up to the last second, the abnormal circumstances that precipitate a crash nearly always appear to be very similar to the normal ones we were expecting.

And so what happens isn’t what we were expecting. And the result is Surprise!

The Reptilian Brain


Think what we do if someone unexpectedly throws a ball at our head – we duck or put a hand up to protect our face without any conscious thought. But this isn’t our learned catching routine; a child will do the same. It’s actually the response of a much older bit of the brain, which automatically kicks in if there’s an immediate threat of personal harm. This primitive part of the brain is sometimes called the ‘reptilian brain’ and controls our ‘fight or flight’ reactions.

Entirely beyond our conscious control, the reptilian brain is always alert to deal with threats that are beyond the capability of both our learned responses and our real-time, thinking neo-cortex to manage. The problem is that reptiles don’t ride motorbikes and its attempts to prevent personal harm are behind Keith Code’s inappropriate ‘survival reactions’ and they are NOT good for our bike control.

Understanding just what triggers the reptilian brain to take over is a second key fact in ‘No Surprise? No accident!’ It’s the event that we DIDN’T predict, the event that is novel and unexpected, the event that surprises us is that is likely to result in our reptilian brain taking over.

Surprise derails our brain’s learned and automated responses and if our real-time, thinking brain can’t come up with a quick plan to deal with the threat, then the reptilian brain takes over and traps us into making those inappropriate responses that Keith Code identified.

Surprise and Predication Failure

‘Prediction failures’ occur when there is a discrepancy between what we predicted was going to happen and thus prepared for, and how the situation actually developed over last few seconds before things went wrong. The bigger the gulf between the scenarios we were mentally prepared for and the scenario actually experienced, the less chance we have of preventing our reptilian brain taking over with some inappropriate action.

But simply looking at motorcycle crashes shows that we have been having the same crashes since Gottlieb Daimler first stuck a engine in a bicycle frame. There are very few one-off crashes.


Humans are Creatures of Habit

We are creatures of habit, and our habits tend to narrow down to “what worked yesterday will work today”. And mostly, we don’t crash. Paradoxically, it’s likely that the longer the interval between prediction failures, the more we come to trust our prediction skills and the less we actively predict the ‘worst case scenario’.

This isn’t complacency or over-confidence but a basic function of the way our brain processes experience. The longer we ride and the longer nothing untoward happens, the more our brain will rely on that prior experience  and the more likely we are to think that nothing will happen next time we go riding either. That means it’s very difficult to stay focused on staying out of trouble, and this can happen despite the best intentions of the rider to try to ride defensively. We go mentally stale.

The UNreasonable Event

no-surprise-pic2And riders are not routinely taught to ‘expect the unexpected’. In fact, the UK Police system states we should plan for “what we can see, what we can’t see and what we can REASONABLY expect to happen”. The problem is that it’s the UNreasonable events that catch us out.

Take the case of the classic junction collision as an example of how a rider can assume the situation is normal (car won’t pull out) when in fact it is abnormal (car will pull out). It is knowing and identifying the tiny differences in circumstances that change the situation from normal to abnormal that will guide the rider’s predictions and help them avoid a collision.

Rather than assuming that the car will wait until a rider is past the junction what the rider could do instead is to see if the car has somewhere to go to should the driver decide to pull out. If there is a space for them to pull out into, then that is the clue that the situation could be about to deviate from the normal (car won’t pull out) to the abnormal (car will pull out).

Remembering that car drivers involved in collisions are also doing normal things (pulls out when road is clear) in abnormal circumstances (pulls out without seeing bike) helps to identify those situations that if a bike were normally absent a car would normally pull out.

Professor Erik Hollnagel is an internationally recognised specialist in the fields of resilience engineering, system safety, human reliability analysis, cognitive systems engineering, and intelligent man-machine systems. He is the author of more than 500 publications including twenty-two books, articles from recognised journals, conference papers, and reports.

These quotes from Professor Hollnagel encapsulate the thinking behind the idea of No Surprise? No Accident!

“If the imagination is insufficiently rich to capture what can actually happen, i.e., if the variety (richness) of the imagination is less than the variety (richness) of actual events, then there will be surprises. The larger the difference is, the more surprises there will be.”

“Most of us have a fairly naive understanding of probabilities. We tend to believe that the most probable thing will happen and are surprised every time it does not. We tend to forget two things. First that the most probable thing to happen is not the only possible thing to happen. Second, that even if something is very improbable, then it is still possible that this improbable something may happen.”

Our suggestion? Simple ‘Rhyming Reminders’

If there is a job description for the rider, it is that they should be able to “predict with 100% certainty what’s going to happen next”.

To achieve that goal of predicting what is going to happen next, we believe that motorcyclists need to be better equipped to detect the onset of abnormal circumstances so that they can make much better informed predictions and decisions about how to manage them and that take all possible steps to ensure that the reptilian brain never gets the opportunity to take control.

We believe a simple way of achieving this is to create ‘Simple Rhyming Reminders’, easy-to-remember mnemonics, which help to mentally re-program a rider so that they can easily identify the abnormal or ‘worst case’ scenario.

For example “Cango?-Willgo!” is a Simple Rhyming Reminder to help riders remember to check to see if a car waiting to turn at a junction CAN turn, because if it is ABLE to turn, it MIGHT turn in front of the rider.

Another example Simple Rhyming Reminder example to help riders when filtering to remember that vehicle might emerge or turn across their path is “Gaps?=Traps!”.

Simple Rhyming Reminders lay no blame. They judge neither the rider, nor other road users, nor even the environment. They are simple, memorable and factual reminders that will help all riders to make better predictions about “what happens next” and avoid being surprised.

And if there is No Surprise? Then there is No Accident!

No Surprise No Accident

Automatic Number Plate Recognition rolled out to more QPS vehicles

12 Aug , 2016,
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Media Release
Automatic Number Plate Recognition rolled out to more QPS vehicles

Queensland roads will be safer as police expand their capabilities to detect reckless and irresponsible drivers, Police Minister Bill Byrne announced today.

Mr Byrne joined Queensland Police Service Superintendent Dale Pointon to announce more police cars would be equipped with Automatic Number Plate Recognition.

Mr Byrne said officers would now be able to identify drivers with dangerous records more easily.

QPS began trialling ANPR technology in 2012 to boost road policing enforcement.

Since then, ANPR devices have monitored more than 23 million vehicle registration plates.

Mr Byrne said ANPR technology provided police with the ability to detect high volumes of vehicles simultaneously – making Queensland’s roads a safer place.

“It is pleasing to see QPS expand its program to 60 vehicles fitted with ANPR technology statewide,” he said.

“The Palaszczuk Government’s investment in ANPR technology boosts the ability of police to target the types of reckless and irresponsible drivers that put all road users at risk.

“ANPR sources accurate vehicle information and data that enhances and strengthens road policing enforcement.

“Detections have helped identify vehicles and drivers in connection with hooning-related offences, resulting in the impoundment of 760 vehicles under hoon legislation since 2012.”

ANPR detections have resulted in 780,715 alerts to police of potential offences, 5,877 Notices to Appear and 22,896 Traffic Infringement Notices as at April, 2016.

As of July 1, 60 vehicles have now been equipped with ANPR and assigned to work units including Road Policing Unit (RPU), Tactical Crime Squads (TCS) and Rapid Action Patrols (RAP) throughout the state.

Currently, the QPS has just under 800 authorised ANPR operators across Queensland.

Superintendent Pointon from Road Policing Command (RPC) said the expansion of ANPR offered significant benefits for both QPS and Queensland drivers.

“ANPR technology provides an increased ability to monitor high volumes of vehicles safely, accurately, immediately and without human error or bias,” he said.

“The device detects vehicles of interest and acts as a screening tool, helping to identify if a vehicle warrants further investigation.”

To support the expansion of such technologies, QPS has installed sufficient numbers of Wireless Access Points (WAP) across the state to optimise connectivity with ANPR vehicles and their projected locations.

These additional WAPs ensure a timely transfer of data and current information to ANPR equipped vehicles and provide broad coverage of all major networks.

Locations of ANPR vehicles:

Far North Queensland 3

Mount Isa 2

Townsville 3

Mackay 3

Capricornia 4

Wide Bay Burnett 4

Sunshine Coast 4

North Brisbane 8

South Brisbane 4

Logan 2

Gold Coast 4

Moreton 2

Ipswich 3

Darling Downs 3

Road Policing Command & other Commands 11

Police sting or immoral entrapment?

11 Aug , 2016,
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Riders caught crossing double white lines after being delayed by an allegedly slow-moving unmarked police vehicle may have little chance of fighting the fine as entrapment.

Similar incidences have occurred before, including a 2012 incident on the Old Pacific Highway north of Sydney which the fined riders successfully defended a year later.

The latest incident involved a joint traffic policing operation by Nambour Road Policing Unit, supported by the Road Policing Task Force, other regional Road Policing Units and Sunshine Coast General Duties Officers in the Sunshine Coast hinterland last weekend (August 6-7).

According to our sources, the police parked an unmarked station wagon fitted with video cameras about half way up a hill. As a motorcycle approached the parked vehicle it would pull out in front of the bike and reportedly travel “well under the speed limit”, “enticing the rider” to overtake over the double lines. 

Nambour Road Policing Unit Acting Senior Sgt Nathan Richards denies the vehicle pulled out in front of riders or drove well under the limit.

If the claims are true, would it be a “sting” (deceptive operation designed to catch a person committing a crime) or entrapment (inducing a person to commit a criminal offence they otherwise would not have committed)?

In this case, it could be argued had the police not intervened, those riders may not have committed any offence.

While entrapment is a possible defence against criminal liability in some countries, it is not in Australia unless the authorities are found to be doing something illegal or dangerous. That would be up to the courts to decide.

In this case, driving under the speed limit may not be illegal, although there are cases of drivers being fine for driving “significantly” less than the posted speed limit and blocking traffic.Police cops speed speeding sensation

While it may not be illegal, some may consider it immoral or unethical and worth reporting to the police Ethical Standards Command.

In the Old Pac “entrapment” case, the magistrate threw out the charge calling the police action “reckless” because the vehicle was driven erratically and dangerously.

We have seen no evidence the vehicle in the Sunshine Coast incident was driven erratically.

But was it dangerous? It could be argued it resulted in riders crossing double white lines which is a dangerous manoeuvre! Good luck arguing that in court.

Snr Sgt Richards says police “travelled at the appropriate speeds on the roads at the time”.

“If any vehicle or motorcycle rider chose to conduct an illegal and dangerous manoeuvre of overtaking another vehicle across double white lines then they were intercepted when appropriate and issued the appropriate fine,” he says.Sunshine Coast TT challenges entrapment

According to our sources, riders were intercepted at the top of the hill. One rider pulled over says he did not overtake because he thought there was something suspicious about the vehicle’s behaviour.

He says about a dozen other riders were pulled over and some were given defect notices for noisy exhausts.

Snr Sgt Richards confirms the static intercept site saying police found it “safer for these vehicles to be intercepted in a safe location rather than at the location that these persons committed these dangerous offences”.

Fined riders may choose to go to court, but they face the possibility of losing and incurring court and legal costs. They could also make a complaint to the Police Ethical Standards Command. 

It has been suggested that the heavy policing in the area has been in response to the proposed Sunshine Coast international TT.

However, Snr Sgt Richards says police have “no issues with motorcycles being present on the Hinterland roads, and welcome them to what is one of the best locations in the State”.

Sunshine Coast TT challenges

Bald Knob Rd (Photo Ian Beaton)

“We hope that they have a safe and enjoyable time on our roads. But Police will not tolerate any illegal or dangerous riding by those who are not only putting lives in danger, but giving a bad name to the majority of motorcycle riders who do the right thing and ride safely.

We have had far too many motorcycle deaths on our roads of late, all of which could have been avoided. Let’s work together to stop this from happening in the future by encouraging these motorcycle riders to ride safely, consider other road users, and to go home safely to their families.”

There is no word on whether the joint operation will continue, but these methods have been used before and will no doubt be used again, so riders everywhere should be cautious of suspicious slow-moving vehicles.

And remember, it is illegal to cross an unbroken line unless you are passing a cyclist and even then there is the caveat “when safe to do so”.

Motorbike Rider

Notice of AGM 2016

10 Aug , 2016,
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Notice of AGM 2016

The MRAQ hereby advises that it will be holding the MRAQ AGM on the 13th September 2016 at the meeting place details can be found here.

Motorcycle safety and accidents in Europe

Aug , 2016,
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fema-accident-report-coverEurope – The Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) – made up of rider organisations who represent their members in countries from across Europe report that, “Motorcycle safety and accidents vary between individual countries.”

FEMA has come to this conclusion in a summary report – “Motorcycle Safety and Accidents in Europe – pdf 569kb” which analyses surveys conducted between 2011 and 2014 of around  25,000 motorcyclists (m/f) about motorcycle safety and accidents.

The surveys were conducted through Riderscan – European scanning tour for motorcycle safety –

Riderscan was coordinated by FEMA, though funded by the European Commission with a variety of partners and experts.

The Motorcycling Survey – was conducted amongst more than 17,000 riders from 18 countries, aimed at collecting information about the motorcycling community around Europe in terms of riding, attitudes, and safety needs.

FEMA – Summary Report

The safety questions asked of riders in the surveys included the subjects:

  • How dangerous is it to ride a motorcycle in the various individual European countries?
  • What are motorcycle riders’ attitudes towards safety innovations?
  • And what safety precautions do they take for themselves?

Also in the latter part of 2014 FEMA’s Dutch member organization MAG (Motorrijders Actie Groep) conducted a survey- pdf 142kb of almost 4,000 Dutch riders with special focus on causes and the impact of motorcycle accidents.

The FEMA summary report shows what the motorcycle dangers are  in which ever country, recommending that motorcyclists need to be especially on the alert, with the report’s objective for: safer international motorcycle riding for all.

Further sub-conclusions in the summary report looks at other surveys completed via the Riderscan project.

ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) – Technological innovations should give priority to what riders feel as most useful for them and should thoroughly test ITS systems that motorcycle riders consider dangerous before being given formal European approval for usage in European traffic.

Motorcycle Driving Licence -European regulations determine what kind of driving licence can be obtained for what type of motorcycle at what age. The FEMA survey data show an understanding amongst motorcyclists that step-by- step motorcycle training could result in a safer riding style.

However, the actual operationalization (sic) meets with considerable objections in all countries. First and foremost, motorcycle riders feel that obtaining the full licence is too complex, takes too long and is far too expensive: it discourages people from obtaining a motorcycle license at all.

Secondly, motorcycle riders feel that the process is discriminatory compared to getting a car driving license: a starting 18-year-old new car driver does not first have to drive for years in a Trabant (?) before (s)he may start driving a Ford Focus and then only after years is allowed to hit the road with a Ferrari.

The latter, this new 18-year-old car driver may do from the  very first day (s)he has a car drivers licence.

All in all, European motorcycle riders are not convinced that  the step-by-step motorcycle license requirement really benefits motorcycle riding safety.

However specifically on driver licensing, at Motorcycle Minds we know that in Northern Ireland authorities there are trying to introduce a Graduated Driving Licensing system (GDL) for young and new drivers. Part of this looks at introducing a log book system similar to the UK/Northern Ireland – CBT (Compulsory Basic Training), that riders must progress through different modules before being “allowed” to ride unaccompanied on the road on a low powered motorcycle or moped.

Other aspects of the proposed GDL is looking at age limits so that young driver taking driving lessons must successfully complete the modules in the log book before they can take a test and that they must have taken training for at least a year before they can take a driving test.

auto-bianchi-picIt would be hard to find any country where Trabants – a lookalike of the Italian Autobianchi – still exist – maybe in rural East Germany? Perhaps a more likely example could be a Nissan Micra.

Irrespective of that example, if you are a  18-year-old (UK 17-year-old) with access to money to pay for insurance needed to drive a Ferrari then is that discrimination compared to a “rich” rider to get a full motorcycle licence?

Or is that just the power of capitalism compared to an argument from a pseudo socialist environmental perspective with ideals of  congestion busting means of cheap transport for commuting, working and hard earned leisure?

Whatever – but the Directive is passed, it is enshrined in EU legislation, so rather than flog a dead horse, it might be best either to get over it or lobby to change.  With of course the proviso that if there is a will by riders organisations, politicians, member states or the European Commission to do so, but to continue throwing up of what is past when there are other issue to sort is pretty pointless.

However we digress so back to safety and accidents!

Across Borders

harolddebock500The report looks at cross border riding  across European Borders and now possibly from Europe to mainland UK.

The report – flowery in its language – from riders themselves – puts down what should be known from training to experience gained:

Cross-border riding – Riding a motorcycle requires optimal use of all senses to monitor the ever vast-changing road environment behind, next to and in front of the rider in order to be able to react defensively before it is too late. To ride safely and prevent becoming a victim of an accident, it helps to be aware of the most important and most frequently occurring risks motorcycle riders encounter.

Not only in one’s own country but also in other European countries: these days so many riders take their bikes cross-border on long range tours.

To the high passes in the Alps. To the curvy roads in the hills of Sauerland or the Eiffel. To the sunny coastal areas all along the Mediterranean. To the vast emptiness of the Scandinavian countries. To the ever more popular destinations in the eastern European countries and the Baltic states.

How easy it is to assume that riding conditions in your own country also apply to other countries. Not so!

Cross-border risks – Truly reliable and credible ‘rider-be-aware’ advice comes from fellow-riders speaking from their own experiences. In recent years, rider survey data and motorcycle statistics have become available for almost 20 European countries about the dangers riders face in the various European countries. These dangers are often different from what one is used to in his/her own country. Being aware of these differences is indispensable knowledge when planning to ride cross-border.

The report looks at how many estimated riders there are in Europe from 2013 figures,  23,000,000 motorcycles in 31 European countries according to the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM) who was the market leader, with on average, two-thirds of  European motorcycle riders own one motorcycle and one-third two or more motorcycles. Half of the European motorcycle riders use their motorcycles for leisure only; about one-third also for commuting to work.

The report asks – Are some European countries more dangerous for motorcycle riders than others? The answer in part is indicated in, “Official European Commission statistics (CARE 2012) report about 4,500 fatal motorcycle accidents. The danger rank of each country is based on calculating the number of registered motorcycles per fatal accident. The more motorcycles per fatal accident, the safer the country is; the fewer motorcycles per fatal accident, the more dangerous the country is. Countries can then be classified in two categories as relatively safe or relatively dangerous compared to the European average.”

With the caveat that, “Countries differ in climate conditions, in average riding kilometers per year, in quality of road infrastructure, in driving license training and in general car driver behavior etcetera.” the report states that, “the European average is 5,000 motorcycles per fatality. The calculations show that Croatia is the most dangerous and Denmark is the least dangerous country (for countries not categorized the required data is not available.)”

When analyzing data from FEMA’s Motorcycling Survey among 17,000 European motorcycle riders there is a rather similar country ranking, Greek motorcycle riders reported the highest percentage of accident incidences and Denmark the lowest percentage (for countries not categorized the required data is not available.)

Scandinavia has the lowest accident incidence. For Poland, it appears that accident incidences are limited but if an accident occurs that it is relatively often fatal. A possible explanation for the difference between Scandinavian and southern European countries could be that because of the long winter the riding season in Scandinavia is relatively short: more than 80% of Scandinavian riders avoid riding during the winter months.

On average, about half of the European motorcycle accidents are one-sided; the other half are collisions, almost always with a car.  In almost all countries motorcycle riders under 35 years of age report relatively high accident involvement.”

Seemingly harking back to the European Commission’s attempt to introduce mandatory road worthiness testing for Powered Two Wheelers in all member states (2012 – 2014) – not all European countries have – nor rider organisation want – road worthiness testing introduced, to reduce collisions and injuries the report states that, “Motorcycle riders know that the technical condition and maintenance of their motorcycle are critical to their personal safety (Do they really?)” with, “All available data show: the technical condition of motorcycles is not a significant factor in accident causation.”

While the technical condition of a motorcycle may lead to an near-accident or maybe not the report on the topic of the European road infrastructure the report states that the, “Quality of road surface and maintenance is of utmost importance for motorcycle safety. The FEMA survey among 17.000 European motorcycle riders reveals to what extent road infrastructure problems lead to near-accidents.” with, “A between-country comparison shows that according to the motorcycle riders themselves the most dangerous road infrastructure exists in Greece and the least dangerous in Denmark.”

With no surprise the report says that, “It is worth noting that the top-3 of road infrastructure problems is identical for all countries. The difference between countries is the extent to which they occur. This is the top 3 of road infrastructure problems:

  1. Poor maintenance:  potholes, fillings etc.
  2. Road surface itself: top layer material (slippery, repair patches, bitumen fillings etc.)
  3. Markings on road surface (painted or patched-on):  signs, lines, warnings, arrows etc.”

Nearly There – On Safety Innovations

At this point we will just let the report speak for itself as it runs through what riders think of innovations for rider safety, bearing in mind we are now two years ahead that safety innovations have become reality and are not just sitting on a drawing board and some have “crashed and burned” in the world of commercialism – e.g. SKULLY – HUD (Heads Up Display) – Augmented Reality Helmet.

Motorcycle riders rated innovations as to being useful or dangerous for motorcycle riding.

The motorcyclists’ top 10 of useful-for-motorcycles technological innovations is:

  1. (Curve) ABS (anti-lock braking system)
  2. Visibility improving helmet (prevention of visor fogging-up through heating or de-humidification)
  3. Monitoring of tire pressure and temperature
  4. Vision enhancement (contrast reinforcement in bad-sight weather conditions)
  5. Brake assist (applying maximum braking pressure in emergency situations)
  6. Linked braking systems (engaging both front and rear brakes also when only one is activated)
  7. Impact-sensing cut-off systems
  8. Motorcycle diagnosis (mechanical and technical problems)
  9. Adaptive front lighting (light beam projecting into curves)
  10. Automatic stability control (preventing rear wheel spin and front wheel lift-off)

The motorcyclists’ top 10 of dangerous-for-motorcycles technological innovations is:

  1. Helmet-mounted display of motorcycle information on helmet visor
  2. Intelligent speed limitation (alert and/or intervene when posted speed limit is exceeded; prevent acceleration over posted speed limit)
  3. Warning and automatic intervention when set cruise control speed is exceeded
  4. Continuous on/off flashing strobe lights for visibility
  5. Real-time rear-view display on helmet visor or windshield
  6. Adaptive cruise control (maintaining a fixed distance to vehicle in front)
  7. Lane departure warning (when changing lanes)
  8. Heads-up display of vehicle information on windshield
  9. Intersection collision avoidance (through vehicles transmitting speed, location and riding direction to roadside beacons)
  10. Curve speed warning (GPS-based warning for too much tilt / speed in upcoming curve)

Back to Basics

The report states that, “The vast majority of European motorcyclists – therefore – take their own safety precautions, the top three on taking safety precautions are:

Motorcycle gloves
Motorcycle helmet (fluorescent not so much yet)
Motorcycle jacket with protectors

with most riders also using:

Motorcycle boots
Motorcycle trousers with protectors

The report which gives a mixed outlook from the surveys with the vast majority of European motorcyclists agreeing that, “That riding a motorcycle will always involve a certain risk and that it is riskier than driving a car.  About half of the riders expect that new technology will make traffic safer and greener. About one-third fear for technology that will distract riders too much from their riding environment.”

Reiterating what the FEMA summary report is intended to improve it states this is:

  • awareness of riders’ potential cross-border motorcycle risks and as well as
  • awareness of ITS-parties regarding motorcyclists’ attitudes towards motorcycle-safe and motorcycle-dangerous technological innovations.

We ask has the report set out to achieve?

What do you think?

Original Source – FEMA website – Motorcycle safety and accidents in Europe

Read the full report at FEMA – Motorcycle Safety and Accidents in Europe a summary report – August 2016 pdf 569kb

The summary report is written by Harold de Bock, member of the board of MAG Netherlands, which is a FEMA member organisation.

MAG’s Grote Motorrijdersenquête & Enquête MAG-ondersteunende motorclubs pdf 142kb

Motorcycle safety and accidents in Europe