In recent years, Queensland (QLD) has seen a steady decline in the number of riders killed.
Since 2006, statistics held by the QLD Guv’mint show that from 2006 to 2011 the fatality rate for motorcyclists dropped from 5.26 to 2.90 per 10,000 riders. This was despite a 40% increase in motorcycle registrations for the same period.
By December 31, 2011 QLD was on track to record one of its lowest road tolls in years, and in the years since, the improvements kept on coming with the year ended December 31, 2014, recording the lowest road toll since 1945. Contained within that number, were 37 riders.
Sadly, this year it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped. As at April 12, motorcycle fatalities for 2015 stood at 19. More than double the amount for the same time last year. To top it off, another rider lost his life last Saturday the 18th in a single vehicle accident on a road popular with motorcyclists.
The blow back from all of these fatalities is going to result in a heavier police presence on the roads we love to ride, more infringement notices issued and certainly more tension between (some) motorcyclists and the police; probably because they feel like they’ve been hard done by.
The police don’t want this, I don’t want this and I know a lot of other riders don’t want this, but at this rate, its inevitable.
I’m not going to apportion blame on who did what, or why. I don’t know the back story behind the crashes to date and to be honest it’s probably moot anyway. Even if we are well-trained, have the best possible riding habits, know our bikes backwards and are able to read the road and the other drivers around us; excrement happens.
People make mistakes, hell, I make mistakes.
Riding a bike is one of life’s great pleasures: A beautiful panorama, a straight country road, or a set of twisties that seems to go on forever.
You are one with the road. In the moment. Free.
It’s easy to lose yourself.
Most of us have that built-in self-preservation thing happening, and we are alert to what we should and shouldn’t do while riding. There are those among us however, that need to be shown it’s not acceptable to push the envelope on public roads.
That sort of riding, as exhilarating as it is, needs to be done on a closed circuit, where there are no vehicles coming towards you and no guide posts, bus stops or other road side accessories to bump into.
There needs to be an attitude adjustment and it needs to come from within the motorcycling community.
Since Saturday I’ve been pondering this, and I think a revival of a campaign promoted by the New South Wales (NSW) Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) which ran from 2007 through 2009 is in order. The “No One Thinks Big Of You” campaign enlisted the wiggling “pinkie” and was aimed at drivers aged between 17 and 25.
It pointed out that speeding and irresponsible driving is not cool and implied that those that chose to drive irresponsibly were “compensating”.
The execution is simple. When Mr Super-Sport with his Berik race leathers and knee sliders rounds you up on a blind corner or Mr Motard pops a wheelie beside you from the lights; give him the “pinkie”.
Yep. It’ll probably get you some abuse, but if enough of us do it, we might bring on an attitude adjustment and save a life.
- Note: The Roads and Traffic Authority is now known as Roads & Maritime Services.