Victoria Police figures show that one in five deaths on Victorian roads this year have been motorcyclists, and riders have never made up such a large proportion of Victoria’s road deaths.
Of the 204 lives lost on the state’s roads in 2016, 41 of the have been motorcyclists according to a report in the Melbourne Age over the weekend.
Doug Fryer, the Assistant Commissioner for Road Policing in Victoria, is quoted as saying that 85 per cent of motorists and riders this year had contributed to their own deaths on the roads.
The report has reignited the road safety debate around motorcycling.
Comments, even from authorities, have ranged from productive to downright outrageous with one “expert” quoted as saying that “motorcycles were simply unsafe vehicles” and that “the simplest solution would be for there to be no motorcycling.”
Comments like that are sure to enrage the riding community.
When the subject of rider safety is raised we hear various versions of how vulnerable motorcycle riders are on the road, and statistics that back that up.
We also hear various versions of where the problem lies, which often leads to a “blame game” between motorcycle groups, government authorities and other road users.
The fact is there is merit in many of the comments that are being thrown around and have been in the past, and a joint but different approach to the problem is needed.
Contributing factors in motorcycle crashes do include other road users, the environment, speed, lack of skill and distraction - but unfortunately that is now a fact of life on our roads.
While safety should be every road users responsibility, we know that not every road user will make good decisions to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them.
Improving observation and anticipation skills - a concept related to Situational Awareness - could help.
For Victoria, Assistant Commissioner Fryer said road safety executives from Victoria Police, the TAC, VicRoads and the Sheriff’s Office would meet up next week to talk about immediate strategies for lowering the road toll.