The MRAQ is always in full support of the promotion of safety issues targeted at all road users and more specifically motorcycle riders and pillions and actively encourages all riders to gain addition training and skills plus to always ride with-in the limits of each individual’s ability, however it is far too often the case that inaccurate or misleading data and statistical information is used when referenced in some media and Government output on these items.
Most commonly the raw figure of fatality numbers is used to highlight the need for action to be taken in relation to motorcycle safety and although this information does form part of the necessary statistical data that should be used for the generation of discussion or action it does not tell the whole story of what is happening on the matter and the consideration of other available statistical information should also be included. The most common information that gets ignored either by ignorance of its existence or by wilful exclusion is the relationship between crash rates and the number of vehicles on the road. This relationship cannot be ignored as it obviously will have a great impact on the possibility of being involved in a crash if the number of vehicles greatly alters.
For a considerable period of time motorcycles have represented the highest percentage increase group for registrations of all road users year on year. This increase rate can be best highlighted by comparing the registered amount of motorcycles on Queensland roads for the years June 2005 and June 2016. In this period the number of registered motorcycles increased by almost 100% from approx. 101000 in 2005 to approx. 198000 in 2016 and yet the fatality rate for these two years is almost the same with a number of individual years in between at a lower rate. This represents a decrease of approx. 50% in the fatality rate versus registered vehicle for the period. No other registered vehicle road user group has had such a percentage decrease. When this additional information is considered, and although as previously stated that the MRAQ encourages all riders to increase and accurately consider their own skills levels it can justifiably be claimed that in fact there has never been a safer time to be riding a motorcycle.
The MRAQ calls on parties that may be at any time considering the statistical data associated with motorcycles to use all the available information to its best effect and not ignore any part of the whole picture.
Motorcyclists over 40 more likely to die on Queensland roads than young men
Men aged 40 and over account for 75 per cent of all motorbike deaths in Queensland, with the latest police figures challenging the long-held notion that young men are the biggest risk.
Eight people have already died in motorcycle accidents on state roads this year, with six of them aged 40 or over.
There were 12,028 motorcycles registered in Queensland in 2014-16.
In 2016, motorbike riders made up less then 4 per cent of all road used in Queensland.
Sixty-two riders and pillions died in 2016, accounting for a quarter of all road fatalities.
Queensland police Inspector Peter Flanders said speed, inexperience, and loss of control were the main contributors.
“Disproportionately, people dying on motorcycles are blokes my age,” he said.
“It’s not girls, it’s not the younger people — it’s blokes my age — and if you need to know I’m just over 50.
“We need to understand what switches on in blokes my age on a Saturday morning.
“[They] change from this calm, considered, collective, loving husband during the week, to this total fool on the weekend.
“I’ve been riding bikes for a long time, and I shudder when I see the figures every year.”
Other road users not the problem
Police statistics also debunk another commonly held belief that other road users were the main cause of motorcycle crashes.
Figures for 2016 showed two-thirds of motorbike crashes were caused by the rider.
The year before, 971 people were treated in hospitals after coming off a motorbike.
Loss of friend prompts safety campaign
Richard Wall’s best friend Dave Bailey died when he crashed his bike on the popular weekend route on Mt Nebo, north-west of Brisbane in 2015, just eight weeks after his wedding.
It was Mr Bailey’s 34th birthday and he had done the ride dozens of times before.
“He came off the road on a left-hand turn … hit a tree, and received fatal injuries,” Mr Wall said.
“The level of guilt that you feel when you’re supposed to be there and you feel like you could have done something to prevent it from happening.”
Mr Wall organised a memorial ride this month for his friend and started the RideSafely4Me campaign, aimed at reducing rider impulsiveness.
“RideSafely4Me is effectively about making people think twice when they throw their leg over the bike, and think about the people that would miss them if they were to do something stupid,” he said.
The Queensland Government recently launched a safety campaign featuring five-time world MotoGP champion Mick Doohan.
Doohan said riders had to develop a high level of awareness so they could read the road, the conditions, the potential hazards and stay focused and in control.
Inspector Flanders said buying a sports bike or cruiser was often an emotional decision.
“The majority of trips are for pleasure and not for work, so the challenge is to sell the objectivity — and I don’t know how we actually do that,” he said.