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Boffins to study rise of motorcycle accidents

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.


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33 Responses to Boffins to study rise of motorcycle accidents
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Lurch Lurch 9:38 pm 09 Aug 10

I reckon Stay Upright do a marvelous job, and from what I have heard they do their best to pass on more knowledge that is legally required in the L’s and P’s courses.
It’s the *driver* training that could take a leaf out of rider trainings book.
From day dot; road and traffic awareness is drilled into you. Head check, mirrors, head check. It may look like some riders are just randomly ducking and weaving through traffic, but I can 100% guarentee you that the vast majority have a thousand times better idea of what the traffic is doing than the average car driver, because the simple fact is that we dont have a choice. You simply cannot ride a bike tired, worn out, etc etc. You *have* to be at 100% concentration levels *all* the time.
Which is a lot less that I can say for the average driver.
The most distraction we can afford is possibly some music running quietly thru and iPod. No mobile phones, no lip stick in the mirror, no brushing your hair. Just *ride*. Thats it.
There is currently a push within the Motorcycling community to start taking responsibility for their own safety. However on the flip side – car drivers need to start taking responsibility for their levels of concentration. SMIDSY is not an excuse in my opinion. All that tells me is that the driver didnt look. And it happens way too often.
Nutshell version; the MC community has some work to do – but the driving community has a lot more to do also.

p1 p1 2:27 pm 04 Aug 10

indigoid said :

bd84 said :

Number one cause is the lack of adequate rider training. …

I have no affiliation with StayUpright, by the way. I am just a happy customer who found it a rather educational experience. After their classroom sessions I looked at roads and traffic in a rather different way, and I think this has made me a safer driver of cars as well.

I agree that the stay upright course provided to ACT learners (and the course which is provided to people who fail the “p”s test) are very educational. They encourage, teach and give opportunity to practice all sorts of good behaviours.

I do not think that there are any quick fixes to be had with regards to any road safety problems. Sure Limiting vehicles mechanically to 100km/h might help. Banning drivers under 30 and over 50 might help. Making all motorcycles have large flashing strobe lights front and back might help. Removing every corner and intersection from every road in the country might help. Someone will still pull a Mully.

Realistically, improvements are only made slowly and incrementally, through studying behaviours and actions, and refining policy, laws, education campaigns and equipment standards.

Studies like these (political posturing aside) lead to these outcomes.

nhand42 nhand42 1:13 pm 04 Aug 10

DBCooper said :

Seriously it should be a free country not a bullshit nannystate. If the price of freedom includes paying for the unlucky few’s shit bags /wheelchairs/emergency trauma surgery/ corpse removal. Than so be it. Not everyone dies on a motorcycle anyway? It’s the least we can do…

Same argument could be made for legalising crack. It’s not a convincing argument.

indigoid indigoid 11:45 am 03 Aug 10

bd84 said :

Number one cause is the lack of adequate rider training. Number two the widespread attitude of riders that they can do whatever they want on the road then go crying claiming that motorists don’t pay enough attention while driving.

Your item #1 is mostly BS, I think. In addition to encouraging prospective bikers to take responsibility for their own safety and be more introspective, StayUpright learner training in the ACT actively discourages

– lane-splitting
– filtering
– use of breakdown/bicycle lanes
– weaving through traffic
– riding without full protective gear

Bikers that don’t pay attention to this deserve everything they get.

I have no affiliation with StayUpright, by the way. I am just a happy customer who found it a rather educational experience. After their classroom sessions I looked at roads and traffic in a rather different way, and I think this has made me a safer driver of cars as well.

p1 p1 11:10 am 03 Aug 10

Seriously it should be a free country not a bullshit nannystate. If the price of freedom includes paying for the unlucky few’s shit bags /wheelchairs/emergency trauma surgery/ corpse removal. Than so be it. Not everyone dies on a motorcycle anyway? It’s the least we can do…

While I generally agree with you about the impositions of a nanny state, I don’t think requiring a helmet is a bad idea.

I would hate to think of the inconvenience that would result in laws requiring the wearing of other protective clothing though. Not the wearing of the clothing, I already do that. But the having to abide by whatever largely arbitrary regulations concerning quality, construction, correct fitting, etc that would come with it.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 9:06 am 03 Aug 10

Aeek said :

Maybe they don’t wear appropriate clothing because there isn’t any?
Protective gear commonly means pants, not a great option if you ride in a dress.
A riding coat, ideally worn with boots, would be much more acceptable to girly girls.

A fashion statement is more important that protecting your legs from having the flesh torn off them?

sirocco sirocco 8:41 am 03 Aug 10

Sorry. That last line was meant to be “any fool can be a coroner”

sirocco sirocco 8:40 am 03 Aug 10

pete74au said :

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.

It’s not like they flip a coin every time there need to be an inquest; there is one coroner for a number of years (just as there is one chief magistrate, no coincidence, it’s the same person). At least it is someone with judicial knowledge – in the US it is a publicly elected position (of the exective branch) and so with the right charisma and fool can be a coroner.

AussieRodney AussieRodney 7:50 am 03 Aug 10

Punter said :

There’s something about being more exposed on a motorcycle which heightens awareness of other vehicles on the road.

+1 for that.

bd84 bd84 11:26 pm 02 Aug 10

Number one cause is the lack of adequate rider training. Number two the widespread attitude of riders that they can do whatever they want on the road then go crying claiming that motorists don’t pay enough attention while driving. Newsflash: swerving in and out of traffic, between lanes of traffic and down the bike/emergency lane is not going to allow drivers to see you. Most of the bad drivers they whinge about are the same ones who don’t do head checks and will change lanes into another car just as much as a motorcycle. More driver training is also needed. There won’t be any magic solution to idiots on the road until the government gets serious about driver training, and the majority of the current road users die.

Aeek Aeek 8:54 pm 02 Aug 10

Maybe they don’t wear appropriate clothing because there isn’t any?
Protective gear commonly means pants, not a great option if you ride in a dress.
A riding coat, ideally worn with boots, would be much more acceptable to girly girls.

Thumper Thumper 8:21 pm 02 Aug 10

Interestingly, it was the death of TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) in 1935 from head injuries in a motorcycle crash that led to compulsory wearing of helmets.

I saw his bike in London. A magnificent black Brough Superior.

DBCooper DBCooper 7:20 pm 02 Aug 10

I choose not to ride a motorcycle myself as I am fearfull of having to wheel myself around and shit through a colostemy bag if I am unfortunate enough to get into a accident on one.

That being said…….

other people should be allowed to ride motorcycles/scooters without helmets/safety gear. I am completely prepared for my tax dollars to pay for there colostomybags/wheelchairs/ambulances.

Seriously it should be a free country not a bullshit nannystate. If the price of freedom includes paying for the unlucky few’s shit bags /wheelchairs/emergency trauma surgery/ corpse removal. Than so be it. Not everyone dies on a motorcycle anyway? It’s the least we can do…

You have to admit motorcycles are pretty cool!!! A world devoid of scantily clad women zipping around on scooters is a prison. Life is a series of decisions…While some may increase your survivability rate none will guarantee it….Enjoy it while it lasts

Pork Hunt Pork Hunt 6:41 pm 02 Aug 10

What Thumper said that Punter said…

Thumper Thumper 6:10 pm 02 Aug 10

What punter said…

Punter Punter 5:09 pm 02 Aug 10

Captain RAAF #1, I have found those who ride motorcycles with a healthy sense of self preservation are generally better drivers of cars. There’s something about being more exposed on a motorcycle which heightens awareness of other vehicles on the road.

p1 p1 4:52 pm 02 Aug 10

indigoid said :

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

+9000

Occasionally, while driving a large slightly cosmetically challenged motor car, I will insist in my right of way in what might be construed as slightly aggressive. I’m not saying I try and cause an accident, just that I make it clear that I am exerting my right.

When I am riding my bike, I would never do this.

Sasquatch Sam Sasquatch Sam 4:32 pm 02 Aug 10

I hope they take a look at the barriers made from steel cable strung between posts (eg Barton highway round about) – I am amazed they haven’t been outlawed. They might be cheap but they are very dangerous for bike riders.

indigoid 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 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.

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