Monday, 14 October 2013


Policeman sick of motorcycle deaths 

CAMERON Roberts is sick of seeing motorcycle parts strewn across the road.
He does not want to have to speak to yet another driver who has to live with having killed a motorcyclist because of a moment’s inattention.
And he doesn’t want to sit down with yet another family to explain how their loved one became a statistic.
Too many motorcyclists have died on our roads this year and the North East’s top traffic cop is sick of it.
The number of motorcycle deaths in the North East account for almost half of the region’s road deaths.
Six motorcyclists have been killed — 45 per cent of those killed on the roads of the Wodonga, Wangaratta, Alpine and Moira shires.
Albury’s sole motorcycle death this year occurred last week when father-of-two Kim Mitselburg lost control of his bike on Fallon Street late on the Friday night.
Acting Sen-Sgt Roberts said motorcyclists were being killed at a disproportionately high rate this year.
And the scary thing, he said, was that we were just entering motorcycle season.
“October is a higher-risk month,” he said.
“Come October, riders rediscover their bikes.
“We see a rise in road trauma in this period every year.”
Sen-Sgt Roberts implored both motorcyclists and drivers to heed his safety message.
He simply does not want to be required to attend another crash scene where a motorcycle has been crushed and bashed and the rider killed.
He does not want to have to speak to another driver who has ruined not only the life of a motorcyclist but also the lives of all those associated with the victim and, indeed, their own, just because they did not look properly before entering an intersection.
Nor does he want to have explain the circumstances of a fatal crash to a victim’s loved ones.
“Families are so frustrated when they’re told how things occurred,” he said.
“Generally, the thing that caused the crash was so avoidable. There’s really obvious things people can do.”
He asked motorcyclists to ride with the expectation of a crash and he urged drivers to watch out for motorcyclists.
“It’s not about us getting stuck into motorcyclists. It’s about getting motorcyclists to understand they’re not as safe as a car,” he said. “And for drivers, there’s a difference between pulling up at an intersection and checking compared with actually having a look,” he said.
“Motorcyclists think we’re out there to pick on them but we’ve several examples in the North East where the motorcyclist hasn’t been at fault.”
Sen-Sgt Roberts said proper safety gear — gloves, boots, helmets, jackets and pants — could be the difference between life and death.
“The easiest test is, ‘if I fall off how am I going to fare’? I’d suggest it’d be pretty ordinary if you are wearing a T-shirt,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter whose fault it is when you’re sliding down the road.
“You’d want to be wearing something really protective.”
North East Superintendent Paul O’Halloran said police operations targeting motorcycle safety would kick off next weekend and continue throughout the summer.
“It’s about awareness and it’s about community with both cars and motorcycles working together to make sure everyone can be as safe on the road as possible,” Supt O’Halloran said.
In Monday’s paper, the family of Wodonga teenager Dylan Aylward share their safety message after losing the 19-year-old in a motorcycle crash in Emerald Avenue in March. The North East’s top traffic policeman will be available to answer your road safety questions on Monday in a half-hour online forum from 12pm to 12.30pm. Click hereto join the forum. 

Cate Hughes  

I would like to commend & thank Acting Sen-Sgt Roberts for his comments regarding motorcycle safety and driver inattention. Too often these days, motorcyclists are demonised by the media, and law enforcement agencies, when statistically, and anecdotally, the majority of motorcycle accidents are as a result of driver inattention.
We have seen a marked increase in recent years, in line with the rise of in car distractions ie mobile phones, gps etc. Truck drivers have even filmed from their cabs, looking down into cars, drivers operating mobile devices with Facebook etc. There needs to be a far greater understanding of sharing roads with different users.
eg Motorcycles have a far shorter braking capacity than cars, and can stop suddenly if need, whereas trucks need much longer distances to stop, due to their weight and length. Therefore, a 4 wheeled vehicle can easily run up the back of a motorcycle, if not concentrating when they brake suddenly, and a truck can easily run up the back of a 4 wheeled vehicle, if they jump in front of them as they're slowing to stop at an intersection.
I believe a big part of this lack of understanding is inadequate driver education and experience. Both truck drivers and motorcyclists are largely better trained, and are mostly also 4 wheeled vehicle drivers too, resulting in a greater understanding of all road users.
It is high time we stop slinging mud at each other, and start exercising some long overdue courtesy, and responsibility, when in charge of any vehicle on a road.
Cate Hughes
Spokesperson - Independent Riders Group
IRG Northern Register - Information & support for riders of North, North Central & North East Victoria
PO Box 63, Broadford Victoria 3658

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