Monday, 28 March 2016


On 28/03/2016 6:03 PM, Samantha Dunn MP wrote:

Hi Damien,
          here's what I raised on Thursday (March 24, 2016) in the Victorian Parliament. I'll keep you posted with any responses I get.

Motorcycle safety

Ms DUNN (Eastern Metropolitan) -
My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Roads and Roads Safety.

The action I seek is that the minister implements recommendation 43 of  the inquiry into motorcycle safety of December 2012:

That the Motorcycle Advisory Group be expanded to include additional representatives from the scooter and moped, off-road and accredited provider segments of the motorcycling community and the length and
regularity of meetings be increased to allow for constructive engagement. Currently the Motorcycle Advisory Group (MAG) only meets three or four times a year, equating to approximately 16 hours a year of talk time for Victorian motorcycle riders.

Motorcycle rider advocacy groups have been waiting for more than three years for the implementation of the recommendation, which addresses the MAG review and reform and which would see increased stakeholder involvement. This matter has become more urgent with the news that of the road toll for 2016 - 77 dead in less than three months - 24 of them are motorcyclists.

There needs to be greater consideration and detail in relation to data collection around motorcycle crash data. Current road motorcycle and scooter data includes statistics for 'unriders' and off-roaders, so it is difficult to properly interrogate the data.

The December 2012 inquiry into motorcycle safety executive summary noted:

The first, and arguably most important, theme was the lack of accurate and robust data, both for crashes and trauma. Many arguments, proposals and observations made in submissions and witness statements were based or justified on crash and trauma data. However, the significant data issues identified by
the committee meant much of the evidence presented to the committee was difficult to verify ...

Addressing data issues is the single most critical aspect of our future response to motorcycle safety.
Research quoted by Damien Codognotto, OAM, Spokesperson of the Independent Riders Group,
indicates that in 70 per cent of multivehicle road bike crashes riders are victims of motor car driver error.

Motorcycle insurers Swann Insurance found that in 40 per cent of bike crash claims the motorcycle rider was hit from behind.

The minister must act to implement recommendation 43 and provide details of the progress of its implementation.

Page 119:

Samantha Dunn MP
Member of the Legislative Council for the Eastern Metropolitan Region


Images like this give all riders a bad name.

"Police reminded riders to have a read of the safety gear guide.”

Bit late for this one, I would have thought!


Friday, 25 March 2016


IN VICTORIA police solos began with country coppers doing their rounds on horseback. In 1929 Police Commissioner Blamey put the horses out to pasture and introduced new technology ... motorcycles.

After that police motorcyclists generally operated solo even in traffic in urban areas.

For decades the original Motorcycle Riders Association (MRA) then the Independent Riders Group (IRG) wrote to Victoria Police Commissioners calling for a policy change from solos to patrol pairs for officer safety and a change from big bikes to mid-sized machines that would be easier to operate and more cost effective.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016


Monday, 21 March 2016



POLICE WILL SET UP ROAD BLOCKS and pull riders over regardless of whether the rider is doing the right thing or not. Highway Patrol Sgt Neil Campbell is "sick of picking up the pieces" after cars hit motorcycle & scooter riders. 
Motorcycle & scooter riders are sick of being the pieces. .
March 16, 2016 11:06am
Emma-Jayne SchenkMaroondah 

MAROONDAH POLICE say they’re “fed up and disgusted” with motorcyclists’ reckless behaviour on the roads after a horror start to the year. This morning a motorcyclist suffered serious chest and spinal injuries in a crash in Ringwood East.
The man, in his 20s, was riding on Canterbury Rd near Bedford Rd at 7am when he collided with a car coming out of a side street. He remains in a stable condition at the Alfred Hospital, with police labelling speed as a factor.
(Damien - I'm not sure police aren't prejudicing any legal proceedings which may follow a crash, by giving the media their opinion of a possible contributing factors.)
Twenty-three men have been killed on Victorian roads this year. 
(Damien - 24 as of last night. 21/3/2016. That's close to 1 every 3 days in 2016. Most victims were hit by cars breaking the law!) 

Highway patrol Sergeant Neil Campbell said police were sick of picking up the pieces.
“(Maroondah and Knox police are) disgusted by the way motorcycle riders are treating our roads,” he said. “They need to start riding within their abilities, wear correct safety equipment and ride within the speeds.”
Sgt Campbell, who is a motorcycle rider himself, said in two of the past three serious accidents in the region involving motorcycles, riders were not wearing adequate safety gear. (Damien - safety gear laws coming???)
“I understand everyone’s right to use the roads but it looks like some people think they’re invincible,” Sgt Campbell said. “Most do the right thing but through some people’s stupidity, it has flow-on effects for the whole of society — the families, emergency workers, and people witnessing these accidents.
“We’re the ones who have to pick up the pieces and we’re getting sick of it.”
Sgt Campbell said motorists also needed to be more aware of motorcyclists, who can appear without warning.
On February 25, Victoria Police announced a safety blitz after 20 men died in motorbike crashes since the start of the year, almost triple the figure for the same period the previous year.
Sgt Campbell said Maroondah and Knox police would be setting up road blocks and pulling over motorcycle riders — regardless of whether they were doing the right thing or not.They will also pull over cars with motorcycles in trailers.
Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer said the blitz would focus on crash hot spots such as intersections and other areas with a high concentration of riders and drivers.
Victorian Motorcycle Council spokesman John Eacott urged riders to wear protective clothing and take a refresher course if they hadn’t ridden for some time.
I don't see many motorcycle riders with their face stuck in their mobile phones. But sure, let's keep on blaming the victim eh?
Sergeant Campbell - just what part of a car pulled out of a side street don't you understand. You need to and read the whole of what Doug Fryer said before you make such comments.
They also mention 2/3 riders were not wearing the appropriate safety gear.





Court calls for tougher sentences for careless drivers causing serious injury in Victoria

Updated 17 Dec 2015, 8:46am
Victoria's highest court has ruled that tougher sentences are needed in cases where drivers are found guilty of gross negligence causing serious injury.
A landmark decision handed down by the Court of Appeal dismissed appeals in two cases where offenders claimed penalties were too harsh.
One driver was sentenced to four years, while another received a three-and-a-half year jail term.
The victims in each case suffered extensive and profoundly serious injuries.
Court of Appeal ruling
"The court rejected their contentions that their sentences were manifestly excessive," a summary of the ruling said.
Each offender "drove with a very high degree of negligence, with a blood alcohol reading greatly in excess of the legal limit and at a speed that far exceeded the applicable limit".

"[Their] conduct involved a grave departure from the standard of care required of a driver," the ruling read.


No evidence lane filtering causing motorbike deaths in Victoria, police say

Sunday, 20 March 2016


To all VICTORIAN MEMBERS of PARLIAMENT                                                     March 20, 2016.

PREMIER DANIEL ANDREWS MLA was in the media a lot last week. He was outraged at brawlers in Melbourne during the Moomba Festival. Quite right too. The Independent Riders Group (IRG) does not condone violence or illegal behaviour. The Premier promised police would have the resources to prosecute these violent law breakers.
Think about this. No one died during the Moomba violence. There were comparatively few injuries and little property damage.

Now think about this. Twenty three motorcycle & scooter riders were killed on Victorian roads in the first ten weeks of 2016! Many more were seriously injured. Families devastated, children traumatized, breadwinners lost and education and careers damaged or destroyed. The Independent Riders’ Group (IRG) offers sincere sympathy to the victims and their loved ones. Most of this trauma was caused by a car driver’s mistake and/or illegal behavior.

Just one post from facebook:
WIN News Gippsland. March 14 at 11:43am · BREAKING:

"A person has died following a collision involving a motorcycle at the intersection of the Princes Highway and Airfield Road, Traralgon. Traffic delays in both directions. Avoid the area if possible. Details tonight at 7pm."

PG wrote: “News tonite on 9WIN another fatal at Traralgon LOOKS LIKE HE (DC - the rider) STOPPED FOR THE LIGHTS AND GOT REAR ENDED. No bloody excuses. Throw the book at the driver responsible for TOTAL negligence."
This violence is not just suffered by motorcycle & scooter riders. Pedestrians and bicyclists are victims too. The task of driving a car has been dumbed down to dangerous levels and driver training has not caught     up. BUT, the cause of too many road casualties is a taboo subject. Car drivers’ excuses that  “I didn’t see the bike”  are too often accepted by police and courts as a reason for road violence rather than an admission of negligence or incompetence or both.

The WIN TV News promotion is typical of the way our society tends to blame the victim when it comes to road use. The fact that a car was even involved in the killing of this reportedly stationary rider is not mentioned in the news promotion.

Car driver error causes massive damage in our community but we are hardened to it until it reaches into our lives and our homes. The cost is almost unbearable but Victorians and their elected 
representatives in Parliament bear it.

Brawlers in the City Square caused howls of outrage. A body on a road in Traralgon, a person killed by an allegedly negligent driver rates 30 seconds on the regional TV news.

This Melbourne Age article is a rare look at a real problem.

Motorcycle & scooter statistcs are part of the  problem. Powered two-wheeler road crash numbers are inflated with unrider and off-road casualties. This distorts both the development of effective bike crash countermeasures and motorcycle & scooter riders’ image in the media. The vilification of Victoria’s 350,000 plus motorcycle & scooter license holders contributes to road trauma and cost.

Parliamentary Inquiries have time and again documented the lack of reliable crash data. Governments have time and again promised to improve crash data collection and assessment but don’t. Inadequate road crash data kills and maims. Improved data saves lives and costs tax payers less. "Towards vision zero" is an expensive farce if the blame for road trauma is put on victims while public servants do nothing to address their own systemic shortcomings.

Victoria claims to be a road safety world leader but crash data collection and assessment fall far behind world’s best practice. Most car/bike safety initiatives have come from industry initiatives NOT government. The recent motorcycle helmet fiasco testifies to that. Delaying and avoiding acting on reports from our Parliament's Road Safety Committees will increase road trauma and cost, not reduce it.


Executive Summary. Page viii.

"The Committee noted a number of areas where crash information was missing or could be more detailed. The difficulty obtaining adequate data, in particular travel exposure information to better assess crash risk and target safety treatments, is a continuing issue in Victoria, coming up time and time again in Committee inquiries, Governments agree to improve crash information, yet crash and crash risk information continues to be an impediment to the improvement of roadside safety in Victoria. Crash information recording and publications need to be greatly improved."


Chair's Foreword. Page vii.

"One of the problems faced by the Committee during the Inquiry was the lack of a clear definition and information systems which measure distraction and its' role in  crashes. The Committee calls on Victorian road safety authorities to develop clear definitions, categories and suitable crash data reporting in order to understand the extent of the problem and to develop appropriate countermeasures."

Executive Summary. Page ix.

"In view of the lack of suitable definitions, categorisations and suitable data, Victoria and most other Australian jurisdictions are not well placed to accurately assess the role of driver distractions in crashes. Recent studies in the United States, together with an ongoing study by the New Zealand Ministry of Transport, provide some insight into driver distraction impacts. Development of comprehensive crash data is a vital first step in guiding future Victorian road safety initiatives relating to drivers distraction." (DC - in guiding ALL road safety initiatives.)

Executive Summary. Page xxi.

" ... The first, and arguably most important, theme was the lack of accurate and robust data, both for crashes and trauma. Many arguments, proposals and observations made in submissions and witness statements were based or justified on crash and trauma data. However, the significant data issues identified by the Committee meant much of the evidence presented to the Committee was difficult to verify. ...

Addressing data issues is the single most critical aspect of our future response to motorcycle safety."

As The Age said, current spike in motorcycle & scooter deaths and injuries is not normal. A significant number of these casualties should not be included in road bike figures at all. Government departments know it. Political will is required on the part of our elected representatives to make the required changed to data collection and assessment happen.

The fact is, motorcycle & scooter road riding is safer than it has ever been on Victorian roads in spite of increasing numbers and deteriorating road conditions. Most of the improvements to bike safety in the last two decades have come from better rider training and improved machines and gear, not blitzes or shock horror ads.


The fact is, motorcycle & scooter road riders are legitimate road users who contribute both financially and by reducing traffic congestion and parking shortages. Their numbers will continue to grow with our population.

Riders also spend well as tourists in regional Victoria. Tourism Victoria says riders spend more than $60 million on and around Phillip Island during Moto GP week. That’s an old figure. And, riders go touring every weekend.

On March 23, 2016, the Motorcycle Advisory Group (MAG) will meet. The 2012 Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety called for a review of MAG and more stakeholder involvement. MAG, in its’ current form  is a serious impediment to real improvement  in motorcycle & scooter safety. VicRoads has repeatedly delayed the recommended review.

If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to watch these short video clips. The TOY RUN for Father Bob will be on Sunday, December 11, 2016.

The IRG Ride to Work Breakfast 2015.                                     


Independent Riders Group

Friday, 18 March 2016



Sunday, 13 March 2016


ANZAC DAY is on Monday, April 25. 

ANZAC DAY is a time for memories and respect. If you have not been to a dawn service before. Make the effort. I can't describe the feeling but it is important and it is Australian. If you are not in Melbourne, there will be a DAWN SERVICE and/or a march near you. Take the kids. It's their heritage.

Melbourne's DAWN SERVICE organisers will again provide safe,convenient, free motorcycle & scooter parking on Linlithgow Avenue near the SHRINE.

Reserved bike parking is on the part of Linlithgow Avenue that runs parallel to St Kilda Road, from the Queen Victoria Gardens to Government House Drive. Melway Map 2F reference J9. Please enter Linlithgow Avenue from Alexandra Parade NOT from St Kilda Road. Motorcycles & scooters should NOT park in St Kilda Road.

If you have loud pipes please keep the revs low and arrive early if you can.

Damien Codognotto OAM
Independent Riders' Group (IRG)

Tuesday, 8 March 2016


G'day folks.

What do you think of the police/CoPP refusing a permit for the TOY RUN for Father Bob in 2016?

No wonder the chief of police in St Kilda did not want a face to face meeting. I reckon she knew this was coming. Like footpath parking bans CoPP seems to do what it's told.

No definitions of safety breaches or any other problems associated with the event because there weren't any. Police walked out of the February 2 meeting after 5 minutes. VicRoads turned up late. We never got to look at the video or discuss what, if anything, went wrong.

The whole thing was about the Independent Riders Group hiring a private company to do costly road closures which in my view would have been disruptive, a waste of money that could have Gone to Father Bob and would do nothing for road safety in our situation.

Would it be possible to take this decision to VCAT or the Ombudsman? Someone want to do some research?

I'd appreciate any thoughts, suggestions etc. before I respond to what I consider to be a most unfair decision.


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject:     Major Events Expression of Interest 2016/17 - Toy Run 2016
Date:     Tue, 8 Mar 2016 00:40:38 +0000
From:     David Hehir <>
To:     '' <>

Dear Damien,

Thank you for your Expression of Interest Major Events 2016.17 Application.

All applications have undergone a thorough assessment process and the
outcome of your submission can be found in the attached letter.


The Letter on City of Port Phillip letterhead said the TOY RUN for Father Bob in 2015 breached permit conditions and had safety issues. These allegations were NOT detailed or explained. The decision was made behind closed doors. The meeting at CoPP on February 2 was a joke and no official records were kept. - DC

On 8/03/2016 10:56 PM, an IRG member wrote:


Albeit a great venue (St Kilda) and road scape for a ride, let's not waste any more
time with these boguns at CoPP!!

Let's source another venue who wants us?

What about another assembly in the heart of the city, 20Km +(approx) ride
around the city skirt, down through Bay St Pt Melbourne to Father Bobs
Office or a park nearby?

          An IRG Member.

Probably the way to go.

But keeping the run together over 20 kms without police cooperation would be very difficult. My impression from Snr Sgt Denton and Inspector Beer is that IRG is not acceptable as a TOY RUN organiser, the VMC is. Good luck to them. They have every right to run their event and the IRG supports them in that.

Police supported the VMC TOY RUN at Melton. The Asst. Comm. for Traffic Doug Fryer went there last December. My impression is that any activity seen by police command as competition with a VMC event (which is rubbish) will not get police support.

The IRG meets another council tomorrow. We would prefer to stay in St Kilda but if riders are not welcome then riders are not welcome in that municipality. It's a shame because the traders and market stall holders have no problem with riders spending their money in St Kilda. IRG is looking at two venues.

The police/CoPP decision to ban the TOY RUN is a real insult to the organisers and all those who worked so hard and paid out of their own pockets to make the day a success.

What did we do wrong? The CoPP have not told us. The police aren't talking. We have asked CoPP to explain the allegations.

In the opinion of some this is political. It has nothing to do with road safety or permit conditions.

 If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to watch these short video clips. The TOY RUN for Father Bob is on December 11, 2016. The IRG does good work.

The IRG Ride to Work Breakfast 2015.

We shall see.