Victorian Police Under Fire For Motorcycle Blitz

Motorcycle crash

The Victorian Police are receiving criticism from the motorcycling community for the current blitz on motorcyclists in the state, and after calls that protective riding gear be made mandatory.

Operation Motus is in response to the death of 28 motorcycle riders on Victoria’s roads so far this year, only one less than for the whole of 2015.

Many are labelling the blitz as simply revenue raising and discrimination, and point to other areas they feel deserve more policing attention.

Fair comment, but the fact remains that motorcycle injuries and fatalities are seriously over represented in any road safety statistics and deserve attention as well.

The situation in Victoria was flagged by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries in March, and since that time 9 more riders have lost their lives.

Clearly something needs to be done.

Of the 28 deaths so far this year in Victoria, rider error was deemed to be the cause in 24 crashes and speed was a contributing factor in 3 out of 4.

What has caused the spike in fatalities is also being hotly debated with some people blaming the numbers on unlicensed riders and unregistered or stolen bikes - even more of a reason for a crackdown it seems.

Will the current crackdown raise funds for the state? Of course it will, but only from those who are breaking the law.

It IS unfortunate that innocent people will be pulled over and have their licence checked during the operation, but surely that’s no different to a car driver being pulled over for a random breath test which doesn’t seem to attract the same level of protest.

The operation has also opened up debate about protective clothing, and whether it should be mandatory for riders to wear appropriate boots and gloves.

While boots and gloves may not save a life, they will help to protect a rider from serious abrasion injuries in most crashes.

Victorian Police Under Fire For Motorcycle BlitzCalls for riding gear to be subsidised have merit too, but need to be backed up by evidence-based research that shows riders are not wearing protective gear simply because of its cost, and that lowering it’s price would, in fact, encourage more riders to use it.

Brand Specialist for Icon, Brittany Morrow is a good example of why we need to wear the correct gear.

She suffered serious injuries when she came off a bike and slid 160 metres in a pair of jeans, tennis shoes, and a sweatshirt over her bikini.

The Police Operation seems to be having an effect already, if not because it has saved any lives yet but because it has opened up a discussion in the broader community - including among car drivers.

Surely that in itself is a good thing.

About the author

Steve McDowall

Steve is the team’s motorcycle writer and contributes to the podcast each week. He started his “on air” career as a guest on 4BC where he met Joel, and has been with Behind the Wheel now for over 6 years. Steve’s fascination for anything with wheels and an engine started as a child and even though he still loves his cars, he found his true passion was with motorcycles. He is also an accredited rider trainer, consultant and coach. Check out Steve’s website – motorcyclelife.com.au

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