To all Victorian Members of Parliament
bungled its' response the Parliamentary Inquiry (PIMS 2012),
motorcycle & scooter safety. Among other things, the
Licence System (GLS) has been so badly handled by VicRoads
must be redrafted. Roads Minister Terry Mulder MP must
motorcycle & scooter rider representatives on the Motorcycle
Group (MAG) in early July.
At 9 am on Monday,
June 16, 2014, Michael Czajka, the
Independent Riders Group (IRG)
Road Safety & Research Officer, and I
met with Ms Alexandra Douglas
adviser to Victorian Roads Minister
Terry Mulder MP. We were not permitted
to meet the Minister.
The message we took from the meeting was
that Ms Douglas was not
interested in logic, let alone real research or
where changes to laws & taxes effecting Victoria's
& scooter licence holders are concerned.
Douglas was poorly prepared for the meeting. She seemed unaware of
national insurance claim data that in 40% of claims the bike was
behind by a larger vehicle. That translates into a lot of
said in most cases the bike hit the car from behind. We
pointed out this
data was flawed by by the inadequate tick-the-box
system police use and
that MAG had underspent on motorcycle & scooter
safety research. Ms
Douglas was not aware that traffic filtering was
not taught to novice
Consulting stakeholders was not an option. The attached flow
from the STOP THE BLAME GAME paper by Steve Bardsley,
the Victorian Scooter Riders Association (VSRA) sums
Ms Douglas was
very dismissive of PIMS 2012 and its' recommendations.
She said it was "not
being written by experts."
BUT the Victorian Road Safety
Committee read scores of
submissions by experts and stakeholders
before writing their report.
Of the 64 recommendations in the PIMS
report, none have been
implemented. The "whole of government
response" to PIMS is not a
credible document because it was mostly
written by VicRoads. Catch 22.
This poses an
important question for Victorians and their elected
Members of Parliament.
What is the point of paying a lot of money
for a Road Safety Committee
when it's work can be dismissed by
non-expert public servants if
the results do not suit departmental
In this case,
probably the same public servants who fed their
Minister wrong advice
on fatal crashes involving motorcycles &
scooters as a response to
the May 26 protest rally at VicRoads.
This link is to a radio interview
with VSRA Chairman, Steve Bardsley.
The MAG at VicRoads is
dominated by public servants and political
appointees. Vicroads controls
the membership and the minutes. Roads
Minister Mulder sees only what
VicRoads wants him to see.
Ms Douglas admitted that crash site data
and road safety research had
problems but was non-committal about
recommendation 1. "That an
independent office of road safety data be
created, which will be
responsible for collecting, collating,
interpreting and publishing
all data relevant to road safety
The police crash data collecting system is inadequate.
The further the
crash is from Melbourne the less likely it is to have
officer attend in timely fashion. VicRoads then "cleanses"
data is collected.
On permitting motorcycle
& scooter riders to use most bus lanes in
Victoria as is done
interstate and overseas. It seems riders
will be permitted to
use a very limited number of bus lanes.
This will be seen as a token
gift to the motorcycle & scooter
community prior to the state
election in November 2014.
We discussed bicycles being permitted to use
kilometres of bus lanes,
in speed zones up to 80 kph, even in very hilly
suburbs. A single
cyclist struggling up a hill in Doncaster and on
delays bus loads of 50 + commuters. Ms Douglas was not
the distances or speed zones involved.
Eastern Freeway bus lane was excluded except, for
the last few hundred
metres. Ms Douglas looked genuinely surprised
when I pointed out the
death trap VicRoads had created at the
Hoddle Street end of the
Eastern Freeway with the need to crossover
from the transit lane to
last of the Eastern Freeway bus lane to
access the Hoddle Street bus
Steve Bardsley (VSRA) and I met Simon Basic at
Sunshine in December 2013. I made Mr Basic well-aware
Eastern Freeway hazard approaching Hoddle Street. I drew diagrams.
also made the danger known to James Holgate at VicRoads Kew.
Ministerial Adviser Douglas has been shown the high risk area
by VicRoads with diagrams and a witness.
If there have been
no rider casualties on this part of the freeway I
would be very
surprised. If there have been casualties,
not likely to advertise them. When someone is
seriously hurt or killed there,
VicRoads can't cry ignorance.
Surprisingly, the Victorian
Motorcycle Council (VMC) supported
the plan to permit riders only in
the last few hundred metres of
the Eastern Freeway bus lane. The
VMC rep said so at a
Motorcycles in Melbourne (CoM) meeting. We do
not know of any other
motorcycle or scooter organisation that supports
access to bus lanes, particularly on the Eastern
filtering is NOT weaving through traffic at speed. It is
between slow-moving or stationary cars in traffic jams and/or
approaches to intersections. It is the safest way to ride
traffic. It has existed as long as there has been traffic
every day, all over the world. Ms Douglas wants riders to
stop calling for
filtering to be legitimised as in NSW and QLD.
improves traffic flow and safety. It benefits ALL
Douglas was completely unaware of the need for the bicycle
boxes" to be extended across the approaches to
to give pedestrians unrestricted access to
It is easy and inexpensive to fix/legitimise
Change the filtering regulation for bicycles to include
scooters. Extend the stop lines for two wheelers across
all lanes at
intersections. But the public servants making
our MPs are apparently ignorant of many real world
They consult only with people who fit their policies.
education campaign to teach car drivers about motorcycles
scooters in traffic is long overdue. It should be required
to get a car licence.
On May 26 there was an IRG protest
rally at VicRoads. Shadow Roads
& TAC Minister Luke Donnellan MP
promised the Opposition would
legitimise traffic filtering if it won
the November election.
Minister Mulder went to the media opposing
traffic filtering. He
was given very bad advice on filtering and made a
fool of himself on
the record. He told journalists that 3 riders died while
was not even close to being true true.
THE TAC ANTI-BIKE
Most riders are
forced to pay some $75 a year (and rising) as a TAC
"safety levy". No
other vehicle operator suffers a targeted tax
like this. This cash would
be better spent by riders on bike safety
25. was to abolish the TAC tax. PIMS
recommendation 24 was to
audit the way the millions of dollars
taken from riders has been
spent. MAG has underspent on motorcycle
& scooter safety research. PIMS
recommendations have been ignored.
As our cities become more congested
the number of two-wheel commuters
must increase. It behoves our elected
representatives to ensure
that riding for work or pleasure is as safe
Reducing costs for low-income riders so they can
safety gear and advanced training courses did not seem
of Ms Douglas consideration.
That taxing the victims
of most collisions involving bikes and
cars was inherently unfair did
not appear to trouble Ms Douglas.
Most riders already pay the same as a
driver for their bikes. Most
drivers do not ride. Most riders have a car
and so pay twice as much
to be on our roads. Read STOP THE BLAME
graduated licence system (GLS) cost was similarly dismissed.
was apparently developed with TAC bike tax money. Car driver
developed from general revenue not a targeted, unfair tax.
cost of at least $300 extra to get a bike licence was
blamed on the
rider training schools.
Ms Douglas tried to sell
the compulsory conspicuity laws in the GLS
Trojan Horse as the
government showing its' love and care for learner
riders. That the push for
hi viz vests and lights-on is based on the
opinions of non-experts, not
on any solid evidence that conspicuity
measures work, was water off a duck's
Ms Douglas did not say how the GLS, due in October 2014, will
the Learner Approved Motorcycle Sytem (LAMS) currently operating
Victoria. The motorcycle industry employs Victorians and
to the state's economy. Stock has to be ordered well in
will the GLS effect LAMS and the industry?
The GLS must
go back to the drawing board.
PIMS did not
recommend hi viz gear or compulsory protective gear for
Riders generally are opposed
to compulsory clothing, helmets excepted,
because it changes
our legal standing and because any benefit can be
gained through voluntary
use. TAC has already raised the concept of
The motorcycle helmet ADR is a mess that prevents
being sold in Australia. This kind of problem could
compulsory protective clothing.
I pointed out that
some 20,000 posties across Australia wear very
brightly-coloured gear and
they get hit on their motorcycles by cars
with sickening regularity. Ms
Douglas made excuses but did NOT commit
to looking at the before and
after data related to postie bike crashes
and the introduction of hi viz
clothes and bikes. The crash data
exists but if it does not fit the agenda
it seems the research won't
get done no matter how inexpensive.
Secure motorcycle &
scooter parking with lockers for gear should be
required at park &
ride facilities and in new buildings as for
THE LIGHTS-ON LAW
Michael and I were astounded that
Ms Douglas did not even know
motorcycles & scooters are sold with
hard wired headlights! There is
no light switch. How can such ill-informed
people be held up to us as
bike safety experts!
She said very
clearly that the lights-on law was to stop learner's
headlights off! That was as ill-informed as Minister
Mulder telling the
media that 3 died traffic filtering.
I explained that an ADR meant
that for the last 20 years or so,
motorcycles & scooters have been
sold without light switches. She
did NOT know! This is the level of
expertise used when dealing with
our safety and it is not good
People with such a lack of knowledge of
traffic, are making road safety decisions for us. This
is wrong at
claimed there had been consultation with stakeholders.
We said we had
not been consulted and were banned from MAG even
as observers. There
were several PIMS recommendations in Chapter 10 on
stakeholders. We told her the "public"
consulting sessions were
"information nights" with the information
going one way - from
bureaucrats to riders. And, the sessions were
invitation only. She did not
We pointed out that many of their proposed moves against riders
from well before the PIMS in 2012 so what was the point in
tax payers money on the inquiry?
Ms Douglas said that the
PIMS report was written by non-experts, in
other words, the Victorian
Road Safety Committee, it's 494 page
report, its' 64 recommendations
and the scores of submissions from
experts and stakeholders did not
equal the opinions of public
servants like Ms Douglas and James
Holgate who demonstrate their
dislike for riders daily and who do not
even know that motorcycles
& scooters have not had light switches
for TWO DECADES!
raises two questions.
First, why waste taxpayers dollars on a
Parliamentary Road Safety
Committee when they are overruled by the
Second, who runs this state, our elected representatives in
or faceless bureaucrats at VicRoads and TAC?
Bicycle tourism is worth $362 million a
year to Victoria. Motorcycle &
scooter tourism is worth at least twice
Later on June 16, at a very positive meeting with
Victoria, we got the message that a lot of ideas for
motorcycle & scooter tourism in this state would have
Vic Roads approval and should therefore be raised at MAG! Catch
Bring on the 2014 Victorian election.