Over the past ten years, overall NSW road fatalities have decreased by 35 per cent. However, over the same period, motorbike rider deaths have increased 22 per cent. In fact, based on Transport for NSW data, 54 motorbike riders have been killed on NSW roads so far this year.
Ride to Live began on October 29 with three days of interactive, motorbike-focused activities at Customs House, NSW. The Ride to Live website was also launched as an information hub for motorbike riders. The website features riding safety and hazards tests and advice on helmet selection, protective gear and braking distances.
Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay, who was at the launch, said the website can also be used by riders before they head out.
“There are also interactive maps of some of the state’s most popular riding routes with live traffic updates, an explanation of where recent crashes have occurred and where rest stops, petrol, food and accommodation can be found,” he stated.
The campaign includes TV, radio, online and bus advertisements which started appearing on Sunday 2 November 2014. Mr Gay explained that this will highlight the risks involved with motorbikes.
“In particular the campaign also calls on other road users to look out for motorcyclists, they are our least-protected road users and drivers always need to check twice for them.”
Two people well acquainted with the dangers of riding a motorbike are Dave Cooke, Manager at NSW Motorcycle Alliance and Brian Wood, Secretary of the Motorcycle Council of NSW .
Mr Cooke said it was important to promote the idea of making positive decisions on the road as these can affect many other users.
Mr Cooke said “Good riders constantly assess risk – we are not risk takers – we are risk managers. Great motorcyclists make great decisions and that’s the message of the campaign,”
Mr Wood, commenting on the campaign, indicated his support towards offering tangible information to riders.
“Motorcycling is continuing to grow across the state. To reduce the number of tragic motorcycle crashes, we need to further improve riders’ risk management skills,” he explained.
“This campaign is all about giving riders better information on what the risks are and practical strategies on how to deal with them.”
Law and infrastructure changes
In recent months, the NSW government has implemented both legal and infrastructure changes to improve motorbike safety.
In July, lane filtering was introduced.
Satellite phones were also installed along Putty Road, a road prone to serious accidents. The phones are available 24/7 and provide a direct line with emergency services.
NSW police recently highlighted an example of behaviour they wish to see less of. Last week, a motorbike rider was caught traveling at 160km/h in a 90km/h zone in Parramatta.
The man’s P2 riders licence was suspended and he was issued an infringement notice.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, said this was a case of a motorbike rider not respecting other road users.
“It is imperative all motorists share the road so that each person reaches their destination safely,” he explained.