THE MELBOURNE HERALD SUN REPORTED on May 27, 2016 that police booked more car drivers than motorcycle or scooter riders on day one of their blitz targeting riders - Operation Motus.
After a strong and angry backlash to Operation Motus Snr Sgt Papas said. "The aim of Operation Motus is not to demonise motorcyclists, but rather to educate where available and enforce where necessary".
The vast majority of road riders are law-abiding tax payers who resent the repeated vilification of the motorcycle & scooter community by police and the media. It is clear that if police targeted a type or brand of car, say all utes or 4WDs, there would be an outcry from the likes of the RACV or the Herald Sun or 3AW. The very public launch of Operation Motus by Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer did exactly the opposite to what he claimed he wanted. It said to the non-riding public that people on powered two-wheelers urgently need policing. That can create very dangerous situations for riders in traffic.
"Mr Fryer also said he would lobby the Government to make wearing motorcycle boots and gloves mandatory."
In our still democratic society, we, the tax payers, employ police to enforce existing laws. We elect representatives to Parliament to review existing laws, make changes if needed and introduce new laws where necessary. The Victorian Parliament does this through its' road safety committees which are made up of MPs from both sides of the politics. Road authorities and stakeholders have input at the inquiry stage. It is not for Mr Fryer to run publicity campaigns and lobby our representatives to introduce laws that fit a police agenda.
The 2012 Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into motorcycle & scooter safety (PIMS) did not recommend more mandatory protective clothing for riders. One line in the PIMS report made the problem of bike safety crystal clear. "Addressing (crash) data issues is the single most critical aspect of our future response to motorcycle safety." Road law should be based on facts and good science not opinions and departmental agendas. Road crash data collected mainly by police is inadequate. This has been documented by at least three inquiries in the last ten years.
More mandatory protective clothing will reduce choice for riders and significantly increase costs which will mean less incentive to buy the right gear not more, in spite of police lectures.
There is a Federal committee developing a star rating system for protective bike gear that is supported by most if not all stakeholders.
Operation Motus started as a very public crack down on all motorcycle & scooter riders which in itself demonises our community. It turned out to be a public relations train wreck for Victoria Police but it did high light need to prosecute more in-car offences, especially mobile phone use by drivers.