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Boffins to study rise of motorcycle accidents

By johnboy - 2 August 2010 33

The Canberra Times has a piece on a $77,000 study of why motorcycle accidents are one the rise.

One might think the first place to look would be for a rise in motorcycle usage.

The article also raises a perennial whinge:

Most irritating to experienced riders are young women riding scooters protected only by thin skirts.

One motorcyclist with more than 20 years’ experience, Anne Jenkins, of Kaleen, said a dress and high heels would do little to protect the exposed legs of a woman on a scooter doing 60km/h if she fell and slid along the road. ”It doesn’t take much to round a corner and flip the front,” Ms Jenkins said.

Which is interesting as it’s hard to recall a recent fatal involving a young woman riding a scooter in a dress.

But in modern government $80k is a small price to pay for a statement of the bleeding obvious.

What’s Your opinion?

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33 Responses to
Boffins to study rise of motorcycle accidents
indigoid 4:25 pm 02 Aug 10

As an everyday biker (haven’t had a registered car in 3+ years) I wish other bikers would stop bleating about how everything is the car drivers’ fault.

Yes, Canberra drivers are bloody awful, but there’s so much (!) you can do as a biker to improve your own safety, including significantly mitigating the risk of SMIDSY, (sorry mate I didn’t see you) that the bleating sounds to me like a lame cop-out.

Bikers, take some responsibility for your own safety, FFS. A little extra paranoia and mental effort is far less expensive than insurance claims, injuries, and riderwear replacement. And yes, I have crashed (and written off) a bike. It was an expensive bundle of lessons that I don’t intend to repeat, and I felt like a right idiot, despite unambiguously having right of way.

Having an uninjured bike/body is worth far, far more than not being at fault.

Finally, all this stuff is a standard part of the mandatory StayUpright training. It’s not rocket science, FFS. If more people actually paid attention in their compulsory rider training, the situation would be a whole lot better. Those young women riding their scooters in a mini and heels are doing it despite significant efforts to educate them to the contrary. You can’t legislate common-sense, sadly

OpenYourMind 3:57 pm 02 Aug 10

Just offering an alternative viewpoint, I think there is way too much emphasis on the importance of leathers.  Taking skin off is very nasty, but it’s not the real safety problem with motorcycles; hitting cars and objects is what’s usually going to lead to death or long term injury.  I’m not playing down how bad a skin injury can be (I’ve been there), but I just get sick of people tut-tutting the casual rider coz they aren’t dressed in their leather romper suit while missing what the real problem is.

The girl in the skirt on the motor scooter probably isn’t the safety problem.  It’s young guys riding powerful bikes and misjuding their ability or having cars not see them (often coz the bike is going way too fast).

I’m a keen cyclist and have also (apparently temporarily) ridden motorcycles for 25 years.  In the serious cycling world, taking skin off is just part of the game, us cyclists have just a small bit of lycra for protection.  Motorcycles can and do go a lot faster than bicycles, but you only have to watch something like the Tour de France to see that gravel rash isn’t normally fatal.

I’m not suggesting motorcycle riders don’t don protection, I just got a bit annoyed when I saw this morning’s Canberra Times interviews and it seemed like everyone saw the problem as lack of safety gear.  Most of the nasty bike crashes, no amount of leather clothing was going to save the rider.

pete74au 3:37 pm 02 Aug 10

It’s funny a rider calling the kettle black. Protective clothing is limited to the HELMET, the remainder of the clothing is based on trust and guess work as we have no standards in Australia. We fall back on the Eu CE standards but really are the articles we rely on all that good. I believe that riders learn by experience, if you underestimate your vulnerability for the context of the ride then if you crash it will hurt more.

The study scares me a little as firstly we don’t have any single Coroner, all magistrates have a go so to speak and our crash investigators often have no knowledge or skill in assessing motorcycle crashes as the physics and protocols are entirely different to cars.

Up until the late 90’s and early 00’s we were holding zero fatalities (KIAs) then as the numbers of bikes increased (fuel, parking, convenience, environment) so did the number of KIA’s but still well under the average. 2005 was a watershed with 14 KIAs however pre and post 2005 we were down in low single digits. Any death is bad but I feel $77K could be better spent of safer barriers and roadside furniture.

I would also like the government to enact the revised law on mobile phone ARR that outlaws the operation of the phone when in control of the vehicle i.e. no hands free either.

Ride and Drive to Stay Alive

tiliqua 1:53 pm 02 Aug 10

No idea what the stats are in ACT, but in NSW while the total no. of fatal crashes has increased, the fatality rate per 10,000 registerd motorcycles has more than halved.

Source: MCC of NSW (
1995 – 8.9 motorcycle fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles in NSW
2008 – 3.7 motorcycle fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles in NSW

PS: Captain RAAF = Permanent Moron

Pommy bastard 1:07 pm 02 Aug 10

Captain RAAF said :

Motorcyclists = Temporary Australians

Idiot. I’ve ridden motorbikes for 34 years, how am I temporary? My uncle, (back in Blighty) who gave me my first bike, is now riding a customised turbo-charged Suzuki 1100 at the age of 68.

Pork Hunt 12:50 pm 02 Aug 10

Captain RAAF said :

Motorcyclists = Temporary Australians

I’ve been “temporary” for 30 years…

jasere 12:41 pm 02 Aug 10

Full riding leathers should be compulsory. I would never ride in anything less.

Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don’t. Some can’t.

Thoroughly Smashed 12:09 pm 02 Aug 10

Captain RAAF said :

Motorcyclists = Temporary Australians

Did you spend all night coming up with that one?

p1 11:42 am 02 Aug 10

I am always amazed when I see chicks in quite skimpy business attire riding scooter. I would feel very exposed.

Woody Mann-Caruso 11:41 am 02 Aug 10

Like an over ripe tomato on a cheese grater.

arescarti42 11:40 am 02 Aug 10

“But in modern government $80k is a small price to pay for a statement of the bleeding obvious.”

Seems like a good idea and a reasonable response to a real or perceived issue to me.

Motorcycling, like pretty much any other activity in life carries inherent risks, the key is learning to manage these risks effectively. There are lots of things the government can do to reduce risk for road users and help them manage risk.

$80,000 is a bargain if the result is lives saved.

amarooresident3 11:35 am 02 Aug 10

She is right of course but why single out young women on scooters? I am continually amazed by the sports bike riders that think footy shorts, a tank top and thongs is appropriate summer riding gear. I see it every year as they burst past me on my humble scooter.

Spectra 10:54 am 02 Aug 10

Which is interesting as it’s hard to recall a recent fatal involving a young woman riding a scooter in a dress.

Just because they don’t die doesn’t mean they don’t have accidents. One look at some photos of the kind of injuries even a low-speed crash with no protective equipment will score you should be enough to make any rider go out and invest in some good gear. It’s simply that the ones where nobody dies rarely make the news, no matter how nasty the injuries.

jennybel75 10:53 am 02 Aug 10

Such an accident on a scooter may not cause a fatality, but it’ll likely cause a very, very nasty set of injuries. The study is on all accidents, not fatalities only.

Also, maybe the comment is trying to raise the awareness of the potential for nasty accidents for people who ride scooters dressed like this (something they might not be very aware of).

Captain RAAF 10:43 am 02 Aug 10

Motorcyclists = Temporary Australians

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