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December 2011

As I reported in the last issue of The Edge Jeff and I had a meeting in mid October with the Hon. Troy Buswell the Minister for Transport. I believe it was a productive meeting and gave us the opportunity to explain to the Minister some statistics on rider accidents, the problems that we face on the roads and the need for motorcycle and scooter riders to be considered in any road transport and infrastructure decisions. We presented to the Minister and his advisors some printed material on the congestion problems facing capital cities and how motorcycles and scooters can help reduce the impact of what is predicted as a huge increase in the number of vehicles on our roads in the next 20 years. This led on to a discussion on the establishment of a Motorcycle and Scooter Transport Policy and also allowing motorcycle and scooter riders to use the bus lanes in peak hour and other bust times. We will be setting up working groups to cover both of these issues. We envisage the working group to consist of representatives from Dept. of Transport, Main Roads Dept, Public Transport Authority, Office of Road Safety, RAC, WA Local Govt. Association, Police and MRA. I will be contacting the Ministers office within the next week to see how things are progressing and I will keep you informed.

On November 5th we held the fifth forum in our ongoing series of forums on how we can improve the safety of riders on WA roads. At this forum we had about 45 participants which included all the visiting members of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety, The Secretary General of FEMA (Federation of European Motorcycle Associations) Professor D’Arcy Holman (The independent Chair of the WA Road Safety Council) And the top men from a number of government organizations and we also had over 20 motorcycle and scooter riders representing their clubs and groups as well as a few people who were just concerned independent riders. We had three presenters The first was Liz De Rome who presented the findings from her extremely good study into the effect of rider protective clothing on the severity of injuries and the length of time in hospital and off work compared to less protective clothing. The next presenter was Professor Raf Grzebieta who presented his findings on the effects and severity of motorcycle crashes were a roadside barrier was involved and that generated some heated debate on wire rope barriers. The research and data really does not support the fear that these barriers generate, in a nut shell very few riders come to grief with this type of barrier but they do save hundreds of live for other road users. The biggest danger is the posts and not the wire and there is research under way to develop a frangible post. The final presenter was Ken Beer who produced the publication How To Make Roads Motorcycle Friendly, he explained how with some small changes to the road design, maintenance and construction and with road engineers considering the needs and safety of riders then big improvements can be made to the crash rates for motorcycle and scooter riders. After the
presentations we had a lunch break and then held our workshops for about an hour on what we thought new actions could be taken to improve rider safety. We now have the new list of actions that we will put forward to the relevant Government Departments and organizations and this will be dealt with a next month’s Motorcycle and Scooter Safety Advisory Group meeting. All up I believe the forum was a success and it is great to get the people from the
Government agencies and private organization together with real riders to talk together in a true spirit of cooperation to reach the goal we all want. We also must not forget that we as individuals have a important role to play in our own safety and in the safety of others.

We had the Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference in Perth from November 6th– 9th at the convention centre. This is the biggest road safety conference held in the southern hemisphere and there were over 400 delegates from all over Australia and the world in attendance and I was very pleased to be able to attend thanks to a grant from RAC. This year there was over 100 presentations on a huge range of topics. I gave a presentation with Matt Brown from the RAC on who we are tackling motorcycle and scooter safety through our series of forums based on the OLA system and a shared responsibility. I attended about 20 presentations over the two main days of the conference and most were motorcycle related and there is some great work going on around Australia and the world on rider safety. This was my first Australasian Road Safety Conference and I was very pleased to see so many people talking about and presenting on motorcycle and scooter safety, I believe this was not always the case and it is great to see how things have turned around in the last few years

Christmas is now only a few weeks away so please make it a safe and happy one and watch out for yourselves and all other road users.

Merry Christmas

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Peter Butler

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