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April 2012

We have had a really bad start to 2012 with the number of motorcycle fatal and serious injury accidents accounting for over 30% of the total. I am at a loss to explain why it is so high this year especially after a improved result last year with a 18% reduction in fatal accidents. All I can say is we all need to be responsible for our own safety on the road and assume that the road ahead is in a bad condition and that car just up ahead has not seen you and ride to the conditions and your ability.

As I mentioned in the last safety report we are working with the Department of Transport to look at the possibilities of a Motorcycle and Scooter Transport Policy. We had our first meeting of the working group on February 19th that consisted of people from the Dept of Transport Policy branch and from their safety branch, Main Roads manager, RAC advocacy member and me. This was an informal meeting to discuss the opportunities and benefits of Motorcycle Transport Policy. We agreed that we need a representative of the Public Transport Authority and police on the working group. We discussed a range of options to use motorcycle and scooters in the reduction of congestion on our roads and parking stations and we will be investigating these further in coming meetings.

I also had a meeting with Main Roads Department Management to discuss motorcycle infrastructure improvements and to see if we can get a funding for a dedicated motorcycle black spot program, to do this we need to develop a motorcycle black spot criteria (the current black spot criteria is car based and motorcycles would struggle to qualify.

I have held meetings with both Main Roads Department and the Police Department major crash unit to see if we can identify any improvement that can be made to crash investigations why did it happen, how did it happen and what can be done to prevent it being repeated at other similar location. In other words we have an action from that crash scene that will reduce the risk of other people suffering the same outcome. This is the true meaning of Towards Zero.

While I was at the meeting with the police I enquired about the legal position on lane filtering. This is riding between two lanes of stopped or very slow moving vehicles (the rules adopted by other countries is – the surrounding traffic is travelling at less than 20 km/hour and the rider is travelling at no more than 40 km/hour.) This is not to be confused with lane splitting, where a riders travels between two rows of faster moving traffic at a much higher speed. So legally you can pass a car only on its right and you do not cross the dotted white line and pass cars on their left hand side. You must also indicate your intention to pass a vehicle in dotted white line and you cannot pass over a solid white line. This must be done in a safe manner or you can be charged with overtaking in an unsafe manner. Lane filtering on either side of a stationary or slow moving vehicle is legal in 24 countries throughout the world including. United Kingdom, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand. We are engaged in attempting to have the Australian Road rules changed to allow lane filtering to be legal on both the left and right of other vehicles. In the United Kingdom, Motorcycle Roadcraft, the police riding manual is explicit about the advantages of filtering (greatly reduces the risk of rear end collisions and being sandwiched between cars and reduces congestion) but states that it must be weighed against the added vulnerability whilst filtering.

I have added an agenda item to the Motorcycle and Scooter Advisory Group for the establishment of a Motorcycle and Scooter specific safety strategy to compliment the Western Australian Towards Zero 2008 – 2020 strategy with targets to reduce motorcycle and scooter fatal and serious injuries over the next 5 – 10 years. I have brought this subject up before and have been met with resistance from the Office of Road Safety but I believe the focus has changed and now we need to look seriously at strategies to reduce the number of riders who are dying on our roads.

The York Motorcycle Festival is being held this year on April 22nd.  We will be in the main street with the Road Wise Safety Trailer. So come along and say hi and while you are there fill in a competition form to win a dinner for two.

I will keep you informed of progress on these issues. I you want to discuss these matters further contact me on Ph 0418 954 424 of e-mail davmar08@bigpond.com

Dave Wright


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Peter Butler

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