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June 2011

Once again a lot has been going on in rider and road safety in the last couple of months. I will not attempt to cover it all here in detail but I will try and give you the highlights and if you want any more detail or clarification please call me directly.

The big news is the release of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011‐2020 that was signed off on 20th May by the
Australian Transport Council (representing all Australian State ministers) this is following a public submission
period in which they received over 700 submissions including our input and endorsement of the Ulysses Club
submission on motorcycle related issues, this was a in depth 80 page submission. The final Strategy paper is a fairly long document and aims to reduce the national fatality rate by 30% over the next 10 years. There previous Road Safety Strategy 2001‐2010 target was for a 40% reduction in fatalities and actually achieved 34%. Even though
during that 10 year period overall fatalities were reduced motorcycle fatalities went against the trend and
increased by 17% nationally and in W.A. the increase was a disappointing 29% increase. During that time
motorcycle usage did increase by 80% but still too many riders are dying on our roads and we need to work to
drastically reduce this number.

Some of the points raised in the strategy are ‐ for national speed guidelines ‐  lower speed limits ( I believe this should be safe speed limits based on the individual road environment and not just a blanket reductions) –safer
roads identified as the most significant benefit to motorcyclist (e.g. road shoulder sealing and clear zone on the
road verge) Some of the things listed in the future steps are a concern to us. They are a possibility of a national
safety levy on all motorcycles similar to the levy in Victoria. We are totally oppose to this proposal as we don’t see why we should pay any extra for a safe system that no other road user pays extra for. Another unfounded idea is
to deny anyone to get a motorcycle or scooter license until they have held a car license for 12 months. This would
deny a lot of students and commuters the opportunity to buy a cheap form of transport and place a extra burden
on our already over stretched transport system and from research and data I have seen people with a motorcycle
license do make better drivers on the road because we are more aware of what is going on around us. Once again
we will be opposing this proposal if it raises its ugly little head. The 2011–2020 strategy is due for a review in 2014 and this may be the time when they look at future directions. If you want more information on the strategy check out the web site www.atcouncil.gov.au/documents/atcnrss.aspx

As some of you would be aware the Government recently announced that as from July this year 66% of all money
raised from the red light and speed cameras will go towards road safety and from July next year 100% of money
from this source will go into road safety. This is great news as we have been trying for the last couple of years to get the Western Australian Road Safety Strategy 2008‐2020 funded, the only significant investment in this over the last couple of years has been on speed camera’s and now we are going to get the money from those speed
camera’s ploughed back into road safety. So those out on the roads that have been saying that the speed camera’s
are only revenue raisers for the government can now without any doubt say that they are revenue raisers for road
safety. But to keep them honest (the Government) we will be watching how they allocate our funds. It does seem
to me like a contradiction but if you speed when you get caught you are helping road safety and if you don’t speed
you are also helping road safety.

One thing we need to pursue in W.A. and nationally is the establishment of a Motorcycle and Scooter Transport
Policy. I think some of the issues that need consideration are how to we cater for parking once we have got
motorcycle and scooter riders safely to their destination. How can we encourage riders to integrate with other
forms of transport (e.g. trains and buses.) What role will motorcyclists take in Perth’s transport system in 10, 20 or 30 years time?  We can’t keep relying on cars; we can’t just keep building more and bigger roads and car parks. Weneed to learn from the mistakes of the large cities in Australia and around the world but we also need to learn
what the solutions are from around Australia and the world and see what will work for us and I believe that part of
the solution is the more efficient use of our road system and limited parking area’s by encouraging more people
out of cars and on to motorcycles and scooters. This needs serious investigation and action and I will be contacting the relevant politicians from both sides of parliament to judge their commitment to this important policy.

A few weeks ago I attended the Perth launch of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011‐2020
this was launched in every major capitol city and 100 countries in the world on that day. The aim is to stabilize and then reduce the number of fatalities worldwide at the moment that number is 1.3 million fatalities every year and if nothing is done it is predicted that that number will climb to 1.9 million by 2020. These are staggering number and they are so big it is almost impossible to grasp the magnitude, but we can all do our bit to help right here in our own state by taking things steady enjoying the ride and having some time for each other on the road. We all know our final destination this life is taking us to let us not be in such a panic to get their first. 
 
Dave Wright  
President Motorcycle Riders Association of W.A. Inc  
Ph 0418 954 424  
    
                                                                                                                                                                                       
  

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