Monthly Archives:December 2016

3 Motorcycle Myths That Won’t Die

29 Dec , 2016,
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I used to write for a Harley-Davidson magazine whose editor secured me the long-term loan of a Heritage Softail from H-D’s press fleet. I rode the wheels off of that old barge, and enjoyed every mile, but I never subscribed to the unwavering dress code of the local Harley riders––a cat-bowl helmet over a do-rag, fingerless gloves: a denim or leather vest studded with ride pins, and leather chaps over jeans so greasy you could wring them out and use the drippings to lube your chain.

One day while out on the Heritage I pulled up to a gas pump behind a guy on a hardtail Shovelhead, costumed appropriately for his subculture. I was wearing my usual gear, an Aerostich Darien jacket and pants, gauntlet gloves, and a full-coverage helmet that cost more than some of the bikes I’d owned. The biker looked me up and down as if he suspected I’d stolen the Heritage, but curiosity won out and we struck up a conversation.

You now how sometimes you get talking to a total stranger and discover you both have a lot in common? This was the opposite of that. Although we were both motorcyclists, we had wildly differing views on riding gear (he thought my helmet––any helmet––was useless at best, dangerous at worst), accessories (he told me to get some loud pipes so people in cars would hear me coming), and riding techniques (he told me never to use the front brake because it’ll flip the bike and kill me––I’m sure he meant it, because his own bike didn’t have a front brake).

Over the years, thanks to encounters like this, I’ve developed the skill of simultaneously smiling, nodding, and grinding my teeth, mostly because the same old horsecrap myths about motorcycling keep popping up like meth-addicted prairie dogs. The damn things just won’t die, and even though I really should chill out and let people be as stupid as they want, I just can’t, because stupidity is contagious, and there’s always a chance that someone who doesn’t know any better will catch a lethal dose of it from some grizzled old fathead in a filthy Sturgis T-shirt who thinks “I had to lay ‘er down” is a legitimate excuse for crashing instead of an admission that he’s a terrible rider.

Bear with me, then, as I stick a pin in some of the most odious and persistent moto-myths in the sport.

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Motorcycle tire mold release


Are new tires really coated with a mold release during the manufacturing process?

Tire Mold Release

This mythical substance is often blamed for the crashes suffered by riders who have just had new tires installed, ride out of the dealership, and promptly land on their asses in the first corner they come to. It’s supposed to be a slippery solution applied to the mold before the tire goes in for the final cure to keep it from sticking to the mold when it’s opened.

The problem with this myth is that tires don’t stick to the molds in the first place. Mike Manning, Director of Marketing for Dunlop says, “We don’t spray the molds with anything. The tires come out of the mold just fine on their own.” Kevin Hunley, who is the Senior Manager of Motorcycle and Kart products of Bridgestone Americas, echoed that, saying, “There is no need for any type of mold release.”

But something must be causing all those new-tire crashes, right? In fact, there is a reason so many riders biff it on fresh rubber, but it has little to do with the rubber itself.

A new tire needs to be broken in gently, but not because you need to scuff off any slippery stuff on the tread surface. “The reason they need to be broken in is due to a chemical product,” said Manning. “All the different chemicals in it cure in the mold, but once they go on the bike the first few heat cycles finish that curing process.”

And that’s not all that needs to be broken in. As tires wear, their profiles change—typically the rear flattens in the middle and the front wears on the sides––and your reflexes adjust to those changes over the course of the tire’s life. When you get new tires with their nice round profiles, your bike’s handling changes instantly, but your reflexes don’t. You roll out of the service department on your new rubber, flick the bike into the first corner just the way you’ve been doing it for the last several thousand miles, and boom––you’re on your head.

As Manning said, “You were used to riding on your old tires they way they were, but when you get new tires the profile’s different. You have to get used to it. It’s more breaking you in than the tire.”

Hunley agreed, and cited Bridgestone’s website: In order for your new tire(s) to provide optimum performance, tires should be ridden very cautiously for the first 100 miles in order for the tread surface to be “Scuffed-In” and work properly. Directly after new tires are mounted, sudden acceleration, maximum braking and hard cornering must be avoided. This will allow the rider to adjust to the “Feel” and handling characteristics of the new tire and for the new tire to be “Scuffed-In” correctly in order to achieve optimum grip level.

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Motorcycle helmet laws


Since the vertical speed at which your head hits the pavement matters far more than the horizontal speed you’re moving when it happens, wearing a helmet seems to be a smart thing to do.


Oh sweet Jeebus, where do I even begin with this? Look, if you don’t want to wear a helmet, don’t, I guess, although in some states it’s not really up to you. But if you insist on exercising your right as an American to do demonstrably stupid things out of sheer stubbornness (aka “Because I can, that’s why”) at least have the guts to admit it instead of telling people the reason you’re doing it is because helmets don’t work, like the guy who once told me helmets are tested to a maximum speed of 13 mph, so how can you expect them to protect you at highway speeds?

The best way to tell a lie is to season it with a dash of truth. There’s some truth to that 13 mph figure, but it’s not the whole story. For that I turned to Dave Thom, who worked with the late, great Harry Hurt on the first comprehensive study of motorcycle safety ever conducted in the U.S., Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, often appropriately called the Hurt Report.

Thom’s CV is impressive: motorcycle-accident research assistant and associate (1977-1981); research associate and later the laboratory director of the University of Southern California’s Head Protection Research Laboratory (1981-1998); general and senior program manager of the Head Protection Research Laboratory of Southern California (1998-2003); and currently a senior consultant specializing in protective headgear, safety, and research at Collision and Injury Dynamics, Inc. So, yeah, he knows something about helmets.

I once asked Thom about that 13 mph figure. “It’s an important and often misunderstood point,” he said. It turns out that 13 mph—13.4 mph, if you want to get picky about it––is the terminal velocity of an object dropped from six feet, or about the maximum height of the head of a rider seated on a motorcycle. “If you pick something up and drop it from six feet, it’ll hit the ground going 13.4 mph.”

OK, but what if I’m going 60 mph when I crash?

“The speed on your speedometer is very seldom any indication of how hard you’re going to hit your head,” Thom said. “The only situation where it is an indication is if you hit a vertical object, like a bridge abutment. Then your speedometer speed is very important.” But in most motorcycle accidents, the rider’s head falls more or less straight down and hits the ground at 13.4 mph or less. “We found way back in the Hurt studies that the typical impact on a head at the 90th percentile was less than the DOT impact speed of 13.4 mph.”

In other words, the vertical speed at which your head hits the pavement matters far more than the horizontal speed you’re moving when it happens. If you want a demonstration of this, Thom said, just turn on your TV and watch a motorcycle road race. “If you’ve ever seen a guy fall off at 120, they almost always get up even though their forward speed was huge. They fall off, and they very likely hit their head at least once, but they have that six-foot fall––“ much less in the case of many road racers whose elbows are practically skimming the track when they bail “––which is what we test helmets at.”

No safety device works 100 percent of the time––not helmets, air bags, seat belts, parachutes, or condoms––but using them increases the odds in your favor. If you disagree, fine. It’s that sort of keen analytical thinking that keep Las Vegas casinos open, and EMTs working double shifts on sunny weekends. Just don’t try to convince me or anyone else that head-butting the highway without a helmet is safer than with one.

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Loud pipes save lives


Unbaffled straight pipes like these can be annoyingly loud in traffic. Are they really making the rider more noticeable to drivers who aren’t paying attention?

Loud Pipes Save Lives

This one has even other motorcyclists shaking their heads in disbelief. The idea is that despite the uncontested fact that many car drivers are morons––so busy texting, yelling at the kids in the backseat, and yacking on their cell phones that they run over motorcycles and don’t even slow down to see what that thud was––they will respond to a low rumbling sound coming from somewhere outside the car and immediately think, “Ooh, there must be a motorcycle nearby. I must set aside all distractions and watch out for the rider’s welfare.”

That’s a nice theory, but it crumbles in the face of reality. Most of the threats to motorcycles, such as left-turning cars, oncoming traffic wandering over the double yellow lines, and sudden lane changes, first appear in front of the bike or just to the side, well within the rider’s immediate field of vision. Loud pipes, I’ll thank you to note, are pointed 180 degrees away from these potential accident causes. It’s like taking all the STOP signs in town and turning them around so you only see them in your mirrors after you zoom through the intersection.

Noise isn’t actually all that good at alerting people to your presence, anyway. Ask firefighters, EMTs, and ambulance drivers how many times other vehicles fail to yield to a blaring siren in traffic. Some of that is due to sheer stupidity, but it’s also because when you first hear a faint siren in the distance, it’s damned hard to tell where it’s coming from, and damned near impossible to hear at all if the car radio is playing loudly. You usually get a clear idea of where the emergency vehicle is only when you see the flashing lights.

I almost broke Google looking for a large-scale, objective, scientifically conducted, peer-reviewed study showing that users of loud pipes have a lower mortality rate compared to other motorcyclists. I found a lot of studies on the effectiveness of helmets, and bright clothing, but most of what I found regarding loud pipes consisted of anecdotal evidence that wouldn’t stand up in food court. “He was going to turn left in front of me, but I revved the engine and he stopped.” How can you be sure that’s what prevented an accident? Maybe the driver saw your headlight, or a glint of sunlight bouncing off chrome, or just decided there wasn’t time to turn before you got to the intersection.

Relying on loud pipes to alert car drivers to your presence is a passive strategy that hands responsibility for your safety and well-being to the very people you fervently believe are too stupid and inattentive to share the road with you. You might as well set your hair on fire, close your eyes, and step off the curb into traffic yelling, “Please don’t hit me!” Actually, that might work better than loud pipes, because at least the fire would attract attention; there’s plenty of credible data showing that visual stimuli like auxiliary lights and high-visibility riding gear are effective at getting drivers to notice you.

Defensive riding is every rider’s best shot at getting home in one piece. Stay out of other drivers’ blind spots. Slow down approaching intersections. Create and maintain a safety buffer in traffic by following at a safe distance and waving tailgaters by. Leave yourself room to escape if the sh*t comes down. Put a plug in those pipes and learn to ride defensively.

Focus on holiday memories continues the road safety message

26 Dec , 2016,
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With Christmas over for another year and New Year approaching, it’s time to keep safety top of mind when driving over the holiday period.

Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said the “Memories” road safety campaign will now shift to feature vintage holiday memories and experiences.

“I urge Queenslanders to drive safely over the school holidays and the Australia Day long weekend,” Mr Bailey said.

“We’ve already had a shocking start to the Christmas holiday period with 246 fatalities, nine up from the same time last year.

“We don’t want to see any more deaths on our roads.”

Mr Bailey said the holiday commercial will feature in cinemas, outdoor billboards, press and online from December 26 with the new television commercial airing from January 22 in the lead-up to Australia Day.

“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, every fatal crash or serious injury has a long-lasting effect on the family and friends left behind,” he said.

“Plan your journey and, if you are travelling a long way, prepare to have regular rest stops to avoid fatigue.

“Stick to the speed limit and never overtake in an unsafe manner. If it’s wet, drive with extra caution and if it’s flooded, forget it.

“Please drive safely and ensure your holiday memories are happy ones, as we all want a great, safe start to 2017.”

The road safety reminders will also be court-side at the Brisbane Bullets vs Cairns Taipans New Year’s Eve game, as well as at the Brisbane Heat Big Bash games throughout January at the Gabba.

The campaign also encourages people to get involved through social media by sharing their holiday memories on the Join the Drive website, and encouraging their family and friends to drive safely this holiday season.


  • 246 people lost their lives on Queensland roads this year (up 9 on last year)
  • 1 in 4 road fatalities involved a speeding driver (2015)
  • 1 in 5 road fatalities involved a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol (2015)
  • 33 fatalities and 2,068 people injured from traffic crashes during last year’s 50-day campaign
  • 624,798 RBTs and 9,287 drug tests were conducted during last year’s campaign
  • $365 and three demerit points is the current first offence fine for using your mobile phone while operating a vehicle.

Five common riding mistakes, and how to avoid them

24 Dec , 2016,
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Riding mistakes

NONE of us are perfect riders and there’s never a point where you’ve learnt all there is to know about riding; that’s one of the things that’s so great about motorcycling. What’s not so great is getting it wrong, which is why we’ve put together this list o five mistakes most of us make and how to avoid them.

Riding beyond your limits

It’s so easy to travel faster than you’re really comfortable with but you often won’t discover you’re going too quickly until you’re panicking your way into an oncoming bend or finding that you’re closing in on traffic in front far too fast.

We’re not just taking about riding fast here, we mean riding too quick for comfort: beyond your confidence and skill levels, which can make a gentle bend feel like a sharp corner. When this happens, you’re left with little room for error and this is a common mistake that results in a lot of crashes where there’s no other vehicle involved because if you don’t have the skill or confidence to make it through a bend, you could end up off the road or in the opposite lane.

How to avoid it

Be honest with yourself when it comes to your skill. If you’re riding with mates and they’re going a little quicker than you’re happy with, don’t be worried about backing off your pace – if your mates aren’t dicks, they won’t leave you and you won’t be at increased risk of parking yourself and your bike in a hedge. Just ride for yourself, at a speed you’re comfortable with.


Misjudging corners

Anyone who tells you they’ve never completely misjudged a corner is telling porkies. It’s a mistake even the most season rider can still make and is a common riding error because there’s so much to consider when it comes to getting through a corner – line, speed, turn in, approach, radius of turn – we could go on.

Misjudging a corner doesn’t necessarily mean crashing, it could mean running in too deep and having to brake mid-corner, crossing into the opposite lane or not being able to follow your chosen line through the turn.

How to avoid it

Get your gear selection and braking done before you get to the bend, so you’re approaching it at a speed you’re comfortable with, which’ll mean you can turn when you want to and have enough time to think about and react to the road condition, debris, size of your lane and type of bend.

Make sure you’re positioned correctly to get the best view through the corner – out to the left for a right-hand bend and a bit to the right of centre for a left-hander. Doing this will means you can see the true vanishing point of the corner, which’ll let you gauge whether it’s becoming tighter or opening up – that means you’ll know for sure when to apply the gas again.

Motorcycle accident

Not reading the road

Reading the road is a crucial part of riding, and is doubly important when riding in towns and cities, where there may be a lot of vehicles around you and lot happening. Failing to read the road can mean the difference between negotiating a busy main road with ease, or running in to the side of another vehicle when you get between it and a turn – which you want to avoid.

How to avoid it

Slow things down and look at what’s happening ahead of you. Most road users give good clues to what they’re about to do. Indicating is the most obvious, but a change in road positong can indicate that a car is about to make a turn.

When filtering past slow moving traffic, you might be able to see car wheels turning before a signal is given. Even being able to see what a driver is looking at – how they’re positioned in the car may tell you something about what they may do.

You can get a good idea of what kind of driver you’re behind based on how they’re driving, which’ll tell you the best course of action to take. For example – drivers that repeatedly signal to manoeuvre and then cancel their signal could be lost and may do something erratic, like make a last minute turn or brake suddenly, which means hang back and wait for a clear and safe passing opportunity.

If you’re approaching a busy junction and the traffic is moving slowly, there’s probably a good reason, so assess what the surrounding vehicles are doing, how they’re positioned, where they could be going, look at the road layout to give you clues as to what might be happening and how best to negotiate it.

Motorcycle visibility

Assuming you’ve been seen

If you go around assuming that everyone knows you’re there, you’re asking for trouble. Assuming that other road users have seen you and know where you are puts you at risk of getting knocked off. Other road users may be so engrossed by their phones, screaming kids or banging tunes that they’ve got no hope of knowing you’re near them, regardless of your fetching head-to-toe kit and loud exhaust.

How to avoid it

Don’t assume you’ve been seen and proceed with caution. Treat every road user like a blind idiot that’s likely to do something unpredictable and stupid at any moment. Do this and you’ll inevitably see situations unfold in front of you that you’ll be glad not to be near.

Being self righteous

We can be a bit self righteous at times, can’t we? Our sense of entitlement on the road comes from being vulnerable and the consequences we face when things go wrong for us. But that’s not going to save you from an accident, or from coming off like a dick when another road user makes a mistake.

How to avoid it

Accept that people make mistakes. If someone strays into your lane at a junction or on a big roundabout, it’s usually best to accept it and make sure you can move to a safer position. A sense of entitlement won’t protect you fron a 1.5-tonne high-velocity metal cage.

Motorcycle riders urged to take care as road toll continues to rise

21 Dec , 2016,
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Minister for Road Safety Mark Bailey has rallied five-time world MotoGP champion Mick Doohan to help plead with riders and drivers to make safety a priority these Christmas holidays.

Mr Bailey said he was so shocked by the rising road toll, and in particular the recent spate of motorcycle fatalities, that he called Mr Doohan to help get the message through.

“The statistics are alarming – 10 motorcycle riders (as of 20/12) have been killed on the road this month alone in Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.

“That’s 62 (as at 20 Dec) motorcycle riders that have lost their lives this year – a quarter of the overall road toll.

“We’re four days out from Christmas and our road toll is already at 244 (20/12) – seven more than last year.

“This is a tragic loss of life and it is unacceptable.

“I urge drivers, riders, pedestrians, passengers and cyclists to all take ownership of their behaviour and travel safely and considerately.

“I especially plead with every motorcycle rider in Queensland to do the right thing on the road – ride to the speed limit, slow down in wet weather, wear a helmet and protective clothing, obey the road rules and don’t ride under the influence.

“I want to thank Mick Doohan for helping to spread the important road safety message, especially during the holiday season.”

Mr Doohan, who helped launch the Palaszczuk Government’s Sixth Sense motorcycle campaign earlier this year, again urged riders to use their sixth sense on the road to reduce their chances of a crash.

“Sixth sense is the high level of awareness required to ride a motorcycle safely,” Mr Doohan said.

“It’s that unique instinct that helps us read the road, the conditions, the potential hazards and to stay focussed and in control.

“It doesn’t matter if riders are experienced, or just starting out, it is essential they keep their wits about them, trust their instincts on the road and anticipate mistakes by others.”

Chris Mearns, President of the Motorcycle Riders’ Association of Queensland said he’s concerned with the increase in fatalities and that all road users need to be more vigilant.

“We have seen an increase in the number of multi vehicle crashes involving motorcycles resulting in fatalities this year,” Mr Mearns said.

“When it is a motor vehicle driver at fault, the usual response is that they did not see the motorcycle.

“We are supportive of educating motorcyclists about road safety but other drivers need to be wary too.”

Mr Bailey said that with Christmas just a few days away, it was timely to drive or ride safely.

“Don’t remember this Christmas for all the wrong reasons. Please be safe on the road,” Mr Bailey said.

Scientific studies explain SMIDSY

20 Dec , 2016,
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Riders might think drivers don’t care about hitting us, but there is actually scientific evidence that shows they really don’t see us.

Of course no driver wants to run into a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian. After all, it would cause extensive and expensive damage to their vehicle!

The problem is that comparatively small road users tend to exist in drivers’ blind spots and they need to be made aware of this so that they look twice.

There have been several scientific studies done into “Sorry Mate, I didn’t See You” (SMIDSY) crashes between cars.

The Alliance of British Drivers has produced the following excellent video which explains one of the scientific  principles of SMIDSY called saccadic masking.

Do a Google search for the term and you will find it is a “phenomenon in visual perception where the brain selectively blocks visual processing during eye movements in such a way that neither the motion of the eye (and subsequent motion blur of the image) nor the gap in visual perception is noticeable to the viewer”.

In other words, when a driver looks left and right at an intersection, there are blind spots in their vision that hide small objects such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle and scooter riders.

To test it, go to the bathroom mirror and get fairly close. Now, look from one eye to another. You will not be able to see your eye move.

Yet someone else will see your eyes moving from side to side.

Perception problemsCould self-cancelling indicators prevent T-bone crashes? Motorcycle crash road safety first aid SMIDSY scientific

A Texas Tech University psychologist has also found that people think smaller objects – such as riders – are further away than they appear and, conversely, that bigger objects are closer.

Researcher Pat DeLucia reached her scientific finding by testing people in computer simulations.

She studied participants who viewed two approaching objects simultaneously – one large and one small. The viewer had to nominate which would reach them first.

Her study, “Current Directions in Psychological Science”, indicates that an object’s size affects distance perception, causing drivers to miscalculate riders’ distance and speed.

“People generally picked that simpler heuristic: Larger is closer,” says DeLucia.

Motorcycles, pedestrians and cyclists are the smallest road users. Of those, motorcycles are the fastest accelerating, so we have double the perception problem.

Drivers think we are going to arrive much later than we actually do and think they have plenty of time to make a turn in front of us.

Stop SMIDSYCould self-cancelling indicators prevent T-bone crashes? safety contract Motorcycle crash road safety first aid SMIDSY scientific

The video above is targeted at drivers, not riders. And that is exactly what needs to happen to stop SMIDSY.

Our taxpayer dollars should be spent on educating drivers that SMIDSY, saccadic masking and perception problems really do exist and to always look twice.

The video not only suggests drivers look twice, but also train themselves to see better and avoid saccadic masking.

10 ways riders to avoid SMIDSY crashes

  1. Position on the road is important. You need to ride in the wheel track closer to the centre line so you are visible sooner to oncoming traffic or vehicles turning across your path. It also gives you a buffer from vehicles suddenly emerging from a parking bay.
  2. Weaving from one wheel track to the other also draws attention. It may look erratic and as though you have lost control, but it attracts much-needed driver attention.
  3. Never assume a driver has seen you.
  4. Assume they haven’t seen you and prepare an exit route in case they drive out in front of you or merge into your lane.
  5. Don’t ride in a vehicle’s blind spot.
  6. Give yourself a buffer  zone from other vehicles.
  7. Slow down and get ready to take evasive action if you see a vehicle at an intersection.
  8. Wait until you see the whites of their eyes before accelerating. And even then, prepare for them to make a sudden move.
  9. If so, it is best to think about changing course behind the car, rather than in front of it. The normal reaction is to weave away from the direction that the threat is coming. However, that leads you into the direction the threat is heading, so you may still collide.
  10. If you don’t see the whites of their eyes, then it might be time to give a polite toot on the horn to alert them.

MotoMedics patrol sobers riders

19 Dec , 2016,
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While police patrol motorcycle “hot spots” on covert bikes, a MotoMedics first-responder motorcycle on Mt Glorious seems to have had a more preventative effect.

In their first full weekend of operation MotoMedics Queensland has reported no incidences, despite a very active weekend for riders around Brisbane.

MotoMedics is a volunteer riders group who will act as first responders to injured motorcycle riders while they wait for the ambulance to arrive.


So far they only have one motorcycle, a white Yamaha FJR1300 with “MotoMedics” livery.

Co-founder Jade McGuinness says the bike seems to have had a calming effect on other riders.

MotoMedics first aid paramedic first responder jade McGuinness patrol
Jade with the MotoMedics Yamaha


“They see the bike and probably think it’s the police patrolling and they slow down,” he says.

Jade says he supports more visible police patrols on the roads to act as a deterrent.

We followed Jade over the mountain and also noticed riders slowing down when they saw the bike.

MotoMedics first aid paramedic first responder jade McGuinness patrol
MBW chats with Jade

However, we didn’t notice the covert police BMW K 1300 pass by until Jade told us about it later on.

It illustrates Jade’s point about visible police patrols. It also provides anecdotal evidence that a police covert patrol is pointless if it doesn’t deter riders from dangerous behaviour.

MotoMedics first aid paramedic first responder jade McGuinness patrol
A sobering sight for riders

Meanwhile, Jade says they have already had good support from Moreton Bay Regional Council and hope to extend their service to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast hinterlands in 2017 and throughout the nation within five years.

Moreton Bay Regional Council Division 11 Councillor Darren Grimwade recently met with representatives from MotoMedics to discuss funding opportunities and eligibility through council’s community grants program.

“Council’s community grants program provides financial support to community organisations in the Moreton Bay Region for projects, events and initiatives that benefit our residents,” the councillor says.

MotorMedics will also approach motorcycle companies for sponsorship to get more motorcycles patrolling other areas popular with riders.

Jade says any type of motorcycle that can fit their emergency first-aid equipment would be suitable. It doesn’t need to be fast as they abide by all speed limits when on patrol and attending an incident.

MotoMedics first aid paramedic first responder jade McGuinness patrol

Co-founder Ryan Chase says they have three other qualified paramedic volunteers who will ride on roster between Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

Ryan believes there is a vital need for a first-responder patrol service to fill in the waiting time between a crash and the arrival of an ambulance.

“Response times on the mountains for a Queensland Ambulance Asset can take time as they need to come from the Gap or Samford/Maleny,” he says.

“By placing ourselves already on the mountain we have the ability to proceed to an incident when QAS is responded but begin administering critical first-aid until an ambulance can get on scene.”

So far, the not-for-profit MotoMedics has one suitably equipped Yamaha FJR1300 but they hope to raise funds through a Gofundme campaign for more bikes.MotoMedics first aid paramedic first responder jade McGuinness patrol

Jade says they will be wearing full riding safety gear and apologised for not wearing a jacket while on patrol at the weekend.

“I just wanted people to see the MotoMedics logo on my shirt and grow the awareness of our service,” he says.

MotoMedics patrol

MotoMedics will attend any incident on the mountain, including those where the rider does not feel as though calling an ambulance is necessary because their injuries are minor.

“We can also attend these incidents and assist where it’s not advantageous to allocate QAS to non-life-threatening scenes,” Ryan says.

“Of course this is a call the rider needs to make and we request 000 be called for any incident involving a bike and rider going down.”

Ryan says riders should always dial 000 first, then dial their Operational Duty Phone Contact on 0456 159 146.Emergency first-aid apps motomedics insurance hurdle

They won’t break any speed limits and won’t be running lights or sirens, but when they arrive at the crash scene, they will activate emergency lighting for safety.

Rostered times and dates are on their social media channels including Facebook and Twitter with constant updates on patrol days.

All volunteers have re-certified in Queensland with Advanced Senior First Aid and Advanced Resuscitation.

Beechmont Road safety improvements start

15 Dec , 2016,
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Motorcycle safety improvements worth $1.6 million have begun on Beechmont Road.

Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to building and maintaining safer roads, including projects to improve motorcycle safety.

“Works planned include shoulder-widening on the one-way section between Elimbah Court and Jardine Road, and installing guardrails and rubrail,” Mr Bailey said

“I’m pleased to announce we’ve fast tracked funding to to install rubrail on the existing guardrail at six locations on Beechmont Road to improve motorcyclists’ safety.

“Construction on the remaining upgrades will be undertaken in the 2017-18 financial year, following the completion of the detailed design mid next year.

“Rubrail is an additional barrier that is installed below the guardrail to improve motorcyclist’s safety by reducing the severity of a crash and preventing impacts with the guardrail and supporting posts.

“It’s often used in mountainous areas and winding roads like Beechmont Road.

“About 540 metres will be being installed in sections before Christmas on high-risk locations between the intersection of Nerang–Murwillumbah and Ingham streets.”

Mr Bailey said the project was funded under the Palaszczuk Government’s Safer Roads Sooner program, which delivers high-benefit, cost-effective, road upgrades to address known high-risk crash hot spots.

“This road has a history of crashes and tragically this has resulted in seven fatalities on Beechmont Road since 2005.” Mr Bailey said.

“That’s why this program is focused on improving trouble spots, to reduce the risk for road users.

“Over the last fortnight we’ve had a high number of Motorcycle deaths on Queensland roads, so I urge everyone to slow down and take extra care over the holidays.”

To register for email updates about Beechmont Road projects, email

To register for free SMS updates, visit (external site) and enter your details.


No motorcyclists’ organization could exist without volunteers

10 Dec , 2016,
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Dolf Willigers

I’m one of the few professionals that work for you. As General Secretary of FEMA my work is advocating motorcyclist interests. Not exactly an eight to five job in the office, but still something I deal with many hours on every day and get paid for. The money for my salary and expenses comes from the national motorcyclists’ organizations, FEMA has no other source of income.

The national organizations are very different in size, in the way they are organised and in their activities. Finances mostly come from contributions, although some organisations have other incomes too. But one thing they have in common: the main part of the work is done by volunteers.

None of the organizations that are member of FEMA, large or small, could even exist without the work of their volunteers. They are in the boards, they write articles, they give instructions on riding courses, they represent the organisations at meetings with municipalities or road authorities, they man the stands on the motor shows et cetera. The result is that we all do a pretty good job in advocating the rights of the riders. We’re still there, we are still a – be it small – part of the transport policy of many cities, countries, even of the European Union.

Thanks to the work of the national organisations and FEMA, roads are getting safer: motorcycle protection systems are installed on road site barriers, in many countries the feared cable-barriers are banned, in many countries filtering is allowed these days, in some countries riders are allowed to use the bus lanes, road authorities pay attention to the grip resistance of road markings, potholes are repaired et cetera. All these things would not have been done, or at least to a lesser extent, without the work of the motorcyclists’ rights organisations.

Of course I can continue with all the threats and hazards that we, motorcyclists, have to deal with: bans to enter cities or use scenic roads, automatic driving vehicles, environmental demands, the – compared to cars –  smaller decrease of road fatalities and serious injuries, costly mandatory technical inspections, just to name a few.

There is still a lot of work to do and then the question arises: who is going to do this? Most national organisations deal with decreasing membership numbers, which means less income and less possibilities to hire people to do the work. At the same time these same organisations have less volunteers to rely on. The ones that are left over have to do more and more. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about: not only am I a professional, but as a long standing board member of MAG Netherlands I’m also a volunteer.

So next time when you pay your yearly fee to your national organization, please do not only think about what your organisation does for you, but also what you can do for your national organisation and for your fellow riders and yourself: become a volunteer and be part of that successful army of motorcyclists’ rights fighters.

Click here to see an overview of our national organizations and links to their websites. Join the organization and/or become a volunteer!

Written by Dolf Willigers

Photography by Rens Brandenburg

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