23 October 2009

Canberra Motorcycle Awareness Week

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image of the 2008 Pink Ribbon Ride, curtsy of the GotM website.

image of the 2008 Pink Ribbon Ride, sourced from the Got'M website.

Canberra Motorcycle Awareness Week runs from the 24th to the 31st of October and is a joint initiative between the MRAACT (Motorcycle Riders Association of the ACT), the Canberra branch of the Ulysses Club, Got’M (Girls on the Move) and Canberra Riders and supported by the ACT Government.

As one of my friends has said on facebook:
“I’m a motorcyclist and I’d like you to please be aware of me on the roads. Please don’t just rely on your mirrors; do a head-check. Thanks!”

During the week there is a host of events and activities concluding with BIKEFEST, a massive day of bands, stunt riding, demos, food, dealers and trade stalls.

Sat 24 Oct – Launch: 9.30am @ Ainslia Pl, City Walk
Sun 25 Oct – Pink Ribbon Ride: 8.30am @ OPH
Thurs 29 Oct – Fashion Parade (bike gear): 7.30pm @ Italo-Australian Cub
Fri 30 Oct – Ride to Work Day
Fri 30 Oct – Bikers Breakfast: 7.00am @ Lennox Gardens
Sat 31 Oct – BIKEFEST: 10am-5pm @ Sutton Driver Training Centre

Flyers for Canberra Motorcycle Awareness Week can be found here and BIKEFEST here

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A lot of scooters sold in Canberra are min 125cc, many are 200cc or higher. How is a scooter of any decent capacity any poorer than a motorbike of the same capacity (particularly with LAMS operating here)? So long as the 2-wheels are capable of travelling at the legal speed limit, where is the problem?

Scooter riders undertake the same training to get their licences as motorbike riders. They generally spend more time in the course focussing on actual riding skills, as they don’t have to stuff around learning all about gears. If riders of any 2-wheeled transport (sports bikes, scooters, cruisers, tourers, dirt bikes, etc.) choose to ignore the sensible people at Stay Upright and be completely under-dressed for their mode of transport, then I guess it’s their skin grafts, etc. Helmets are the only mandatory piece of gear.

On the comment about scooters being unsafe, using bike lanes/sides of roads to go at slow paces, perhaps they were electric bikes? These look scarily similar to a motor scooter (travel at a reasonably fast speed & yet only require a bicycle helmet). People on those often use the same travelways as bicycles, as that is what they are classed as. There are quite a few around town.

George D said :

As a motorcyclist, you’re vulnerable and not always seen, and I can sympathise as a cyclist. However, the solution is simply to take more care, not blast my ears out.

In my case, taking more care involves being a ‘bit too loud’ for some people. I ride a 250cc bike, stock everything. I’ve had people shout at me numerous times before for the whiny noise it makes. Why? Because the effective power range of my bike appears be between 9,000 and 12,000 RPM (It redlines at 13,500). This is also the range where it sounds like ‘a whiny piece of shit’. Anything less than this and there is simply not enough torque to get myself out of a dangerous situation, such as someone about to move into my lane and knock me off the road. So I prefer to ride in traffic with the ability to use power if I have to. If this interrupts some 17 year old P-plater singing along to the latest pink album, too bad.

And +1 to cranky about scooters. They are fantastic in Europe, not so much in Canberra. Not as much power and not as much control as a motorcycle. They should be banned.

it doesn’t come down to volume, it comes down to perception. There are only 2 kinds of bikes that car drivers “see” on a regular basis.

Big white touring bikes, especially if the rider is wearing a white helmet. The reason for this is it looks like a police bike and failing to notice it might cost you money.

the other is Harley Davidsions being ridden by a rider with a black open face helmet, bandanna and dark sunnies. I guess the reason for this one is people are scared that hitting a bikie might result in a sound beating or death.

When I had my BMW and wore a white helmet it was like Moses parting the red sea. seeing the look on peoples faces when they realised i wasn’t a cop was even better

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy12:52 pm 26 Oct 09

It depends on how quickly they come up behind you. If the rider is doing 30km/h or more faster than you, they can be on top of you with very little warning, especially when they are weaving through steady traffic.

astrojax said :

Therefore all ute drivers are reckless, agressive idiots with no concept of safe driving.

not actually so far from the mark, sgt! ; )

I drive a ute and ride a motorbike. What hope have I?

I know many motorcyclists prefer loud exhaust as then car drivers actually pay attention to them. The whole point of motorcycle awareness week is to get car drivers paying attention to the motorcycles on our roads.

Show me the evidence that this is the case. I’ll bet you that touring motorcycles have significantly less accidents, despite being very quiet. As a motorcyclist, you’re vulnerable and not always seen, and I can sympathise as a cyclist. However, the solution is simply to take more care, not blast my ears out.

I’m not surprised that loud exhausts are illegal. I will be reporting the next ridiculously loud motorcycle I see to the police.

These riders frequently use after-market pipes, as their bikes are fitted with quieter ones (excessively noisy vehicles being illegal in much of the world, including the US) They show absolutely no respect for other humans, so I don’t see why we should show them any. Get them off the roads.

Car drivers can sometimes not see motorcyclists, or claim not to see them.

However, you can’t not hear a bike.

Hells_Bells748:13 am 26 Oct 09

*a not an.

Hells_Bells748:06 am 26 Oct 09

Totally agree with #13 & #14..

Had an collision with a tree earlier this year, just practising in a paddock on a dirt bike (250cc) and I wasn’t going heaps fast but accelarated accidently (instead of braking) and stopped a tree with my face, no helmet, got thrown off violently and was wearing tracksuit pants and a singlet top and sneakers.
As you could imagine I came off very badly (thankfully everything healed and I broke my furtherest wisdom tooth, xrays were clear otherwise, glad to see the tooth go, it gave me the shits anyhow!).

Don’t be a dick, dress defensively, even on a scooter/dirt bike.

George D – if you knew your legislation you’d know that aftermarket ‘loud’ exhausts are not legal here either.

I know many motorcyclists prefer loud exhaust as then car drivers actually pay attention to them. The whole point of motorcycle awareness week is to get car drivers paying attention to the motorcycles on our roads.

If someone hears you coming then they may look twice and not pull out in front of you.

Couldn’t agree more Cranky. I cringe every time I see a motorcyclist wearing shorts and a t-shirt (ridiculously regularly lately). Even at 60Km/h, it’d be a bloody nightmare.

I have no problem with the vast majority of motorcyclists. Their ability to manouvre through traffic concerns me not at all.

However, the recent popularity of scooters has given rise to concerns.

To see young females, dressed in office attire, peddling along at 80+K’s in traffic fills me with absolute dread.

To imagine these ill-protected riders sliding along a tarred road having come a gutzer is pure horror.

I believe most biking attire has a ‘wear’ rating, where the ability of the protective material to do just that is measured in time/speed/metres. Stockings and high heels don’t even rate.

The Stay Upright course does seem to produce competent motorcyclists. Can I beg that greater attention is given to the ability of protective clothing to protect.

Therefore all ute drivers are reckless, agressive idiots with no concept of safe driving.

not actually so far from the mark, sgt! ; )

Fair enough that these bikers are doing that. Full support to them, they’re an equal part of traffic, and deserve respect and safety.

By the same token though, I’d like to take off the road the motorcyclists who refuse to provide respect and safety to others. The hoons who think that accelerating to high speed on their high powered pocket-rockets is acceptable (discussed above), and the munters with bikes that make you deaf.

Plenty of other places in the world it’s illegal to have a car or bike that is exceptionally loud. I’d like to see that here. Every time a Harley drives past me, it’s blowing out at well above 90db. These riders frequently use after-market pipes, as their bikes are fitted with quieter ones (excessively noisy vehicles being illegal in much of the world, including the US) They show absolutely no respect for other humans, so I don’t see why we should show them any. Get them off the roads.

i am thinking that people only see the the motorcyclist when they are doing the wrong thing.. most tin can drivers drive past dozens of bikers doing the right thing everyday and it doesnt even register in their minds.. it has been proven that it is human nature to see the things that are dangerous and likely to do you harm.. given that car drivers are not likely to get hurt if involved in an accident with a bike they simply dont see the motorcyclist…

georgesgenitals8:09 am 25 Oct 09

It may be only a minority of riders doing the wrong thing, but what they are doing is very visible. Swerving around traffic at 30km/h+ above prevailing traffic flow up the Monaro Hwy, for example, is something I regularly see. It’s not that car drivers are pure as the driven snow, simply that actions involving riders are often more obvious.

Going to teach ms thumper to ride this summer…

Lol, bd84, clearly you’ve never ridden a motorcycle nor taken part in any rider training.

This “large percentage” of motorcyclists who don’t do the right thing… have you got any stats to back up this somewhat ludicrus claim? I know many, many motorcyclists, all of whom are very safe riders… there is the occasional idiot on a bike, just like there’s the occasional idiot in a car, in a truck, in charge of a train/boat…

A campaign of motorcycle awareness for car drivers and performing head-checks is never going to work when car drivers think it’s perfectly safe and legal to swerve between lanes like they’re Mark Skaife, pull into gaps in traffic that don’t exist, tailgate, talk on mobile phones, drive agressively, throw traffic tantrums that endanger lives all because someone got in front of them when they were originally first in line at some traffic lights, drive down bike lanes or emergency stopping lanes just because they can.

Car drivers are more likely to be less of a threat to other road users when they do the right thing and put some effort into their own safety.

I was tailgated by someone in a ute on the way home today. Therefore all ute drivers are reckless, agressive idiots with no concept of safe driving.

That said if you don’t see a bike, you’re not looking! It’s not that hard.

Its getting to be the time of the year when I see motor-scooters being ridden slowly and dangerously close to the curb, with cyclists overtaking them on the right; or doing 60 in the RH bus lane on an 80k road, ie Adelaide Avenue.

AussieRodney8:55 pm 23 Oct 09

Yep, & when I’m riding, it’s the young females in small cars that I watch out for the most.

This is not intended to be a sexist remark. It’s my way of giving myself the best chance of staying alive when I’m riding, by being especially aware of those that are most likely to be a risk to my own safety.

Because if the sh*t hits the fan, it’s ME that’s going to hurt!

Thats because there are more cars than motorbikes….plus most girls drive cars 😉 Oooooooohhhh snap!

I see far more dangerous driving by car drivers than I do by motorcyclists

While acknologing that a lot of drivers don’t understand head-checks in this town, it’s far time that the powers that be invested in proper rider training and a crackdown on the large percentage of motorcyclists who do not do the right thing on the roads.

A campaign of driver awareness of motorcyclists and performing head-checks are never going to work when motorcyclists think it’s perfectly safe and legal to swerve between lanes like they’re Casey Stoner, pull into gaps in traffic that don’t exist, travel between lanes of traffic, ride down bike lanes or emergency stopping lanes just because they can.

Motorcyclists are more likely to be in less danger when they do the right thing and put some effort into their own safety.

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